One way to make your home stand out is to incorporate the attractive look of stone into the design. Stone siding, also called stone veneer, can create the distinctive appearance of stone at an affordable cost.
Natural and manufactured stone siding
There are two types of stone siding: natural and manufactured.
- Natural stone siding is made from natural stone that has been sawn into sheets to use as siding. Natural stone products can be either thin veneer sheets that are ¾ to 1-1/4 inches thick or full veneer sheets that are 3- to 5-inches thick. Full veneer sheets require additional structural reinforcement due to the weight of the stone.
- Manufactured stone siding is a man-made material designed to reproduce the look of natural stone at a lower cost. It is a mixture of concrete and other materials molded from real stone patterns and painted to replicate the look of natural stone. Manufactured stone siding is also called simulated stone veneer, architectural stone veneer or faux stone siding.
Who makes it and what it costs to 'rock out'
Some of the manufacturers of natural stone siding include Natural Stone Veneers International, General Shale Brick, Buechel Stone, and the Halquist Stone Company. There are other local and regional manufacturers as well. The costs of natural stone siding vary by manufacturer, style and thickness. The costs of thin veneer stone siding sheets can range from a low of about $5 a square foot up to over $25 a square foot. This does not include installation costs. The thicker full veneer sheets are more expensive. The thicker stone is also more expensive to install because it is more difficult to work with and because extra structural reinforcement is required. Full veneer stone is often priced by the ton and can cost up to $150 to $180 per ton.
Manufactured stone siding manufacturers include the Cultured Stone line from Boral Stone Products, Eldorado Stone, and Boulder Creek Stone Products. Manufactured stone siding is less expensive than both types of natural stone siding. You can typically expect to pay from $3.50 to $7.00 per square foot for manufactured stone siding. The cost of installation is directly comparable to the cost of installing natural stone thin veneer and is much less than the cost to install full width natural stone veneer.
Colors and styles for a natural look
The wide variety of natural stone siding products available gives you an equally broad choice of styles and colors. For example, the Halquist Stone Company offers over 90 varieties, or blends, of natural stone siding in both thin cut and thick cut veneers. Other companies offer similar choices. If you use natural stone you may want to limit your choices to the types of native stone available in your region. While distributors can acquire natural stone from other areas, the shipping costs to transport the stone can add significantly to the price. This is especially true for the heavier and bulkier full veneer natural stone sheets.
The manufactured stone siding companies also provide many style and color options. Cultured Stone, the leading manufactured stone siding company, offers about 20 distinct styles including Ancient Villa Ledgestone, Coral Stone, Dressed Fieldstone, Limestone, and Rockface. The textures and shapes range from smooth, almost geometric surfaces, to more angular and random shapes. Other manufactured stone siding makers also offer their own distinct styles based on the look of real stone.
For energy efficiency, natural or manufactured?
Both natural and manufactured stone siding work best when combined with other insulating materials in the construction of exterior walls. The R-value of manufactured stone siding is typically about 0.41". This means that one-inch of manufactured stone siding offers the same insulating value of one inch of wood. The exact R-value of natural stone varies considerably by the type of stone. Assuming all other things are equal, the thicker full width natural stone veneer would have better insulating properties than the thin cut stone veneer.
How to get started
You can get more information from local stonemasons or home improvement stores that carry stone siding. You can also complete the form on this page for recommendations of reliable contractors in your area.