If you find yourself having a hard time distinguishing between real stone and veneer stone, that is the point! The veneer stone industry is beginning to replace natural stone for exterior work, fireplaces, and all kinds of interior work. If you are planning on doing some work on your property involving stone, you should consider whether you want to use real stone or veneer stone. Keep reading to find out more about the two, and by the end of this article, you will be able to make a decision!
Real stone is 100 percent stone quarried from the earth with nothing added or removed. There is also no color added to real stone. Real stone can come in actual shapes like river stones, or you can carve them to another form, like blocks. On the other hand, veneer stone is a mixture of Portland cement, aggregates, and iron oxides that are baked into molds to look like stone. Cement makes veneer stones stable, and the iron oxide adds pigments to the rock.
While you can use real stone structurally, it is rare to see this in modern buildings. Most real stone, like slate, is too brittle for structural use. Like real stone, veneer stone is much too weak for structural use. On the market, natural stone comes in full-size blocks, or you can cut it into slices. The natural stone weighs more than veneer stone, which starts at around two inches thick and runs up to eight inches thick.
To install natural stone, you can place it directly on porous concrete, stone, or block. If your surface is smooth, you can attach a metal lath and a scratch masonry coat to provide a cover for the stone to grip. Then, you should add grout between the real stones, or you can go for a dry-stack look without grout. Real stone cannot be installed on drywall or other thin wall materials. Generally, you install veneer stone is in the same way that you install real stone with a lath, scratch coat, mortar, and grout. Veneer stone is much easier to handle than natural stone because it is much more porous and lightweight.
Deciding Between Real and Veneer Stone
If you are more of a do-it-yourself person and you want full control of your stone project, then you will probably want to go with veneer stone. The installation process for veneer stone is much more straightforward than the installation process for natural stone is. Manufactured stone also comes in predictable sizes that are easy to cut, carry, and hang. If you are going for more historically proper installation, consider using real stone instead. If you go this route, consider hiring a professional to make sure the job gets done right the first time around.