Why Stone Veneer is a Natural Fit for Siding and Interior Projects in the Winter

Why Stone Veneer is a Natural Fit for Siding and Interior Projects in the Winter

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Be.On® Stone Rialto Canyon

Be.On® Stone is the Product of Choice for Exterior Stone Siding Projects in the Winter

When the cold weather hits, many building and home improvement projects come to a halt. But not stone veneer projects using Be.On Stone. This manufactured stone veneer product is applied as a mechanically fastened screw-on panel that doesn’t require mortar (which is temperature sensitive). Installation involves a starter strip, and the panels are set in place.

“The nice thing about Be.On Stone is you don’t need a mason to install it,” says Chris Miller, Instone’s territory sales manager. “If you’re a little bit handy, you can do it yourself. There’s not much to it. And it looks great.”

If you’re worried about moisture getting behind your stone veneers and creating mold issues, you can forget about it with Be.On Stone. The panels come with a D.Rain moisture management system, a track gutter system behind the stone. Any water, humidity, rain or snow that gets behind the stone will just drain right out the bottom. 

“You’ll never have moisture damage to any of your sheathing or house wrap, which is awesome!” exclaims Miller. “And it will save you money because typically, with a mortar application of natural stone, you need three or four different types of water barriers on the house, which can get expensive. With Be.On Stone, you only need one.”

Because of its mortar-less application, Be.On Stone can be applied anywhere, even in freezing temperatures. “We’ve had guys out there in negative 15 degrees installing it,” says Miller. “I don’t recommend that, but it can be done!” The screw-on application and z-shaped edges that allow it to be put together seamlessly and form inside and outside corners without separate corner pieces also make for a quicker install than a mortar install. “We’ve had crews install around 200–400 square feet in a day. With a mortar product, you’re looking at only 20–50 square feet a day,” says Miller.

For more information on Be.On® Stone, explore our product page. Interested in stock? Check out our portal page.

Also be sure to check out our Be.On® Stone Inbuilding Design Episode Below!

Interloc is One of the Fastest Installs of Natural Stone Siding

Another product option for installing stone siding in the winter months is Interloc. Unlike other stone siding veneers that are loose pieces that need to be applied one at a time, Interloc is made out of pre-cut panels that fit together and can be installed very quickly, saving time and money.  

It begins with a starter strip on the top or bottom of the install area. Once that is in place, it creates a straight line on which to lay the rest of the panels and corner pieces, which lock together with hidden joints to create a straight, seamless look.

 “It can be assembled and installed very quickly,” says Miller, “It’s designed

 to get teams off the jobs faster, which saves the homeowner money on labor costs.”

Interloc New England 

Interloc is applied with mortar, so be aware that the outside temperature needs to be above 40 degrees to avoid bonding issues. Interloc can be applied in winter in areas with temperatures that fluctuate between freezing and above. Plan the installation for when at least a week of above-40 temperatures is forecast. Some installers will also build a tent around the install area to maintain the right temperature. We recommend hiring a professional to install Interloc.

For more information on Interloc, see our product page. Interested in stock? Check out our portal page.

Want To Learn More About Interloc Products? Check Out Instone’s Jake Alicandro Break Down the Installation Process Below

Be.On® Stone and Interloc for Wintertime Stone Veneer Interior Projects 

Have you imagined how you can add a little extra something to your home interior décor? Use all that time indoors during winter to fix up your home and add some character with stone veneer. Both Be.On Stone® and Interloc can be used indoors for a variety of home improvement projects, such as:

  • An accent/feature wall
  • A Zoom background wall
  • Wainscoting
  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Fireplace surrounds

As mentioned previously, Be.On Stone’s easy install can be done by a handy DIYer. We recommend hiring a professional when installing Interloc, since it requires a mortar application.

So don’t give up on your home during the winter. Use the time to improve your curb appeal and resale value by adding the charm and beauty of stone veneer siding.

3 Reasons to Use Cultured Stone® on Your Project 

3 Reasons to Use Cultured Stone® on Your Project 

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When selecting a stone veneer for your interior and exterior designs, the question often arises: natural or manufactured stone veneer? There are benefits to both, but the biggest considerations are: how does it look and how much will it cost?

What is Manufactured Stone Veneer?.

Manufactured stone veneer, also known as MSV, is a lightweight building material used as a decorative wall covering for exterior or interior surfaces. Produced by using a concrete mixture that’s poured into a mold and colored using mineral pigments – its porous and light weight properties make it easy to cut and handle, creating compared to natural stone.

Manufactured stone veneer originated in 1962 by a pair of brothers in Vallejo, California. They developed a concrete mixture to cast in flexible molds that were created from natural stone to give it a realistic size and texture. They began distributing this stone into the market under the brand name Cultured Stone®. Today, Cultured Stone remains the industry-leading brand offering premium manufactured stone veneer (MSV) products.  

How is Manufactured Stone Veneer Used?

Manufactured stone veneer as a decorative architectural element that can be used on a variety of project applications. It is applied to the wall using lath, scratch coat, mortar, and grout. Manufactured stone veneer is lightweight, does not require ties or footings, and offers panelized systems for easy installation. This makes it a great alternative to natural stone.

The varied shapes, sizes, colors and textures of manufactured stone veneer provide design versatility that’s perfect for creating an inviting space. Range of applications include

  • Interiors
  • Exteriors
  • Outdoor Living
  • Commercial
  • Multi-family
  • Signage

3 Reasons Cultured Stone® Is A Great Choice

For homeowners, installers and dealers, there are three solid reasons to choose Cultured Stone MSV over a natural stone.

1. Manufactured Stone Veneer Can Save Homeowners Money

For homeowners choosing Cultured Stone, one of the biggest benefits is cost savings. Since the stone is made from cement and not quarried, it’s less expensive to produce compared to natural stone, and the savings are passed on to the consumer. However, not all manufactured stone looks natural. Cultured Stone has created an intricate process to create the most realistic-looking stone product on the market and offer a versatile range of styles.

 A manufactured stone veneer product can cost as much as 50% less than natural full bed depth stone. Another cost saving comes in the form of labor. Read on about the installation process for Cultured Stone and how its light weight features means faster install times and lower labor costs

2. Manufactured Stone from Cultured Stone® Looks Like the Real Deal

Cultured Stone is made from a mold of actual natural stone so it has the shape and texture of a quarried real stone. Before cement is poured into the molds, each stone and brick is literally hand painted piece-by-piece by highly-trained artisans. Using only the highest quality natural mineral oxides, the stone’s surface is infused with rich, authentic tones, offering an unmatched depth and variation in color.

This attention to detail gives consumers an authentic look of natural stone. It also means that Cultured Stone provides a wide range of finishes and styles that are consistent in shape, color, and availability.

According to Joel Ginsberg, branch manager at Hearth & Home Technologies, which sells manufactured stone veneer for interior projects, consistency in color is one of the biggest selling points of Cultured Stone. “If you ever need to replace it or add more to your project down the road, it will be the same color you bought previously. With natural stone, you’ll get whatever color is cut out of the mountain, which may be different from another piece cut somewhere else or at another time.”

The range of offerings with Cultured Stone includes:

  •  20+ textures 
  •  100+ colors 
  •  Accent products 
  •  Capstones 
  •  Hearthstones

Think you can tell the difference between natural stone and manufactured stone? Watch our recent episode of “In Building Design” to see how hard that can be:

3. Manufactured Stone Veneer Is Easier and Faster to Install Than Natural Stone

If you’ve ever held a piece of natural stone in one hand and manufactured stone in the other, the first thing you may notice is the difference in weight. Cultured Stone’s products are made of lightweight aggregate materials and are approximately one-quarter the weight of natural stone.

For installers, this means it’s easier—and therefore faster—to install. There isn’t as much worry or challenge with the stone sliding down the wall as you install it, so your project can be completed more efficiently in less time. Cultured Stone is available in a variety of stone types, including individual pieces and modular, panelized profiles. While panelized profiles offer a quicker installation, individual stone profiles allow for more customization in application and grout technique that can enhance overall design.

 Some of the benefits of installing Cultured Stone include:

  • No ties or footings required 
  • Adheres to any structurally sound surface
  • Simple installation process: lath > scratch coat > mortar and grout 
  • Panelized systems are available 

How to Install Manufactured Stone Veneer

See our series of videos on the installation process for Cultured Stone:

5 Steps to Expertly Source Natural Stone: The Landscape Architects Resource

5 Steps to Expertly Source Natural Stone: The Landscape Architects Resource

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With more people spending time outdoors, backyard designs are in high demand. And so is beautiful stonework to create all the amenities for luxurious outdoor living: patios, pools, spas, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and fire pits, as well as the hardscaping: steps, walls and walkways.

5 Steps to Expertly Source Natural Stone: The Landscape Architects Resource

Instone can provide landscape designers and architects with the stone information, samples, technical specs, shop drawings and custom stone fabrication they need to complete projects and satisfy clients.

It starts with a plan set. When that is sent to Instone, the Fabrication and Design Teams get to work to provide the support that landscape architects’ needs.

A Stone Sourcing Checklist for Landscape Professionals:

“Availability is key,” says Instone’s senior estimator, Nicole Blackburn. “We can let them know what standards we have in stock and how fast they can get it. We provide samples for their requests. We’ll also provide options based on our experience and expertise. We will let them know the time it will take to get the product and the price point so they can take it back to the homeowner to decide on what they want.”

Instone also gives landscape architects the technical data including the stone’s stocking sizes and country of origin, as well as mechanical properties such as density, water absorption, and rupture compression strength.

Example of the product specification Instone provides for each of its Aura stone products.

“Usually, they want to know the density of the stone, how durable it is, how it will hold up under the weather conditions and if the stones get hot underfoot. We can provide all of that information,” says Blackburn.

When the Fabrication and Design Teams receive a plan (or drawing) set of a full backyard design, takeoff and stone schedule, they then provide an estimate to a local stone distributor. Once the quote is approved, the shop drawing process begins for each stone. It includes the type of stone, dimensions, finish and fabrication work such as edging and placement according to the stone schedule. Instone works closely with local distributors, landscape designers and contractors to ensure the shop drawing is perfectly constructed and accommodates their needs.

Once all parties approve the specifics, the work begins with fabrication cuts on the natural stones to prepare them for installation.

Because timing is everything with stone, Blackburn advises homeowners and landscape architects to plan ahead. “Most people want to start backyard projects as soon as winter is ending. The weather is warming up, and they want the stone quickly. They may be limited to what we have in stock, or they will have to wait if their heart is set on a particular stone, we work to get it for them.” She recommends people start their planning process before or during the winter months, so if there is some wait time, the project will be completed by the start of summer.

Instone’s Fabrication and Design Teams are here to help landscape architects and designers get what they need quickly and professionally to create beautiful outdoor living spaces for their clients.

Avoid Stone Veneer Failures: Get up to Speed on Building Code Requirements for Rainscreen

Avoid Stone Veneer Failures: Get up to Speed on Building Code Requirements for Rainscreen

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For a contractor living in the Eastern half of the U.S. or along the West Coast states, you know the issues you can have with moisture getting into your projects. Rain and humidity can wreak havoc on stone veneers when any bit of moisture settles in behind the masonry and causes a leak or mold situation.

For that reason, the International Building Code passed a requirement for the incorporation of a drainage plane behind stone systems. Frequently referred to as “rainscreen,” this space or drainage material needs to be no less than 3/16 inch depth behind the stone. Rainscreens are available in a range of materials including entangled mesh and plastic or foam products with drainage avenues.

Dell Nolt, field service representative of Westlake Royal Stone Solutions recently provided an educational workshop to professional contractors in order to educate them on this new requirement. He covered the official code, where contractors can find its official language, why it’s important, the materials on the market that are compliant with the code and how to install it.

According to the code, adhered masonry veneer will follow the 2018 Section R703.12​. Its installation will refer to the 2021 Exterior Plaster section:​

  • R703.71—installation of lath and all accessories​
  • R703.7.3—water-resistive barrier including a rain screen drainage space

Best practices to achieve this rainscreen include:

  •     Sheathing​
  •     WRB​
  •     Drainage medium​
  •     Mortar screen/WRB​
  •     Lath​
  •     Scratch coat​
  •     ACMV.

Nolt says there is often a lack of education in the industry when a new code requirement comes out. Contractors just aren’t hearing about it. He hopes Westlake Royal Stone Solutions can be a resource, informing the industry on how to stay compliant with installations.

“We’re trying to help you protect your business so you can utilize this information and pass it on to your clients,” Nolt explains. “As an industry, we want to make sure we’re doing the best thing for our clients so they can enjoy the longevity of the product and it performs as it’s designed to.”

He adds that it’s not hard to understand the logic behind the code. “If you Google stone veneer failure, it doesn’t take long to see a lot of horror stories about drainage issues and stone systems that have leaked for various reasons. We need great moisture management behind these systems to prevent bulk water intrusion or any other capillary failure that results from moisture getting trapped behind the stone system. It eliminates the potential for mold remediation or leak remediation.”

Moisture management is not something new. Nolt says that most contractors are already doing exactly what the code requires and the code is really just catching up with the science that’s been around for a while. “It’s not just unique to stone veneer. If you’re in the exterior cladding business, whether that be stone, cement, board siding or other types of veneer, moisture management is super important,” he says. “The code just makes sure that the industry addresses it from a universal standpoint.”

While this new International Building Code came out in 2021, Nolt says there is always some lag time in the adoption process.  Pennsylvania was the first state to adopt the process but it’s required in all states that fall into the moisture zones on the climate map. This is Moist Climate A, which includes the Eastern half of the U.S. via a line split down Minnesota through the center of Texas and Marine Climate Zone C, which runs along the West Coast and Pacific Northwest including Washington and the California coast. The only states not requiring this code are in Dry Climate Zone B, which includes Nevada and Colorado.

While adding an extra step is not something contractors always want to hear, Nolt says it’s not really that much additional work or monetary inconvenience. “We’re talking about an ancillary type of product. The cost is not significant; it’s really just a few cents on a square foot. The significant cost comes if there is a failure of the product if moisture gets in. So this is really a kind of cheap form of insurance to prevent that.”

There are already products on the market to help contractors address the code and with the new requirement, Dells predicts more products will become available as the demand increases. One product already available is made by Cultured Stone, called Drain-N-Dry™, a pre-rainscreen material that provides moisture drainage, and it has an added feature many others do not provide.

“It has some technology behind it to address air circulation behind the wall system. It creates some airflow to become a ventilated type of system for moisture drainage,” Nolt explains.

For contractors looking for information or solutions to comply with the code requirement, they can contact Instone.

As the old saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By adhering to the code and adding a rainscreen to stone veneer projects, it helps the industry as a whole ensure against moisture damage and have many happy customers with beautiful stonework on their homes and commercial properties for years to come.

Boost Your Home’s Value with Pangaea® Natural Stone for Added Curb Appeal

Boost Your Home’s Value with Pangaea® Natural Stone for Added Curb Appeal

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Curb appeal. We’ve all heard about it, but how do you get it and what’s the best way to increase curb appeal while getting a great return on investment when you decide to sell? The front of your house greets guests and passers-by alike. Its appearance can turn heads or make heads shake. Your house’s exterior beauty, or “curb appeal”, is one of the biggest factors that determine your home’s value and street cred.

A home’s entrance featuring Pangaea® Cambrian Fieldstone.

Curb appeal is especially important for those considering selling or being compliant with homeowners’ association maintenance regulations. It also plays an important role in just being a responsible neighbor, keeping the neighborhood looking nice, and raising property values.

For a quick and easy way to boost your home’s curb appeal, let us introduce you to natural stone veneer. Our Pangaea ® veneer can instantly add an attractive finish to a home’s entryway, siding, walls and columns. It is made from real stone, cut thin and designed to be affixed to vertical surfaces, giving the appearance of full-bed stones.

What a difference one choice makes. WestCoast® Fieldstone makes the entry stand out!

We spoke with Andrew Everleigh of Environmental Pools, who has completed dozens of home improvement and masonry projects using Pangaea® stone to enhance a home’s appearance. He said one of the biggest reasons to go with Pangaea® was the look of the stone. “The way the stones are cut and the tightness of how they look together. I get a lot of feedback on how people like the simple, modern look that Pangaea® gives them.”

He says the quality is also a benefit, “There’s a lot of thin veneer out there. If someone is looking for a high-end stone veneer, Pangaea® is it.”

The Difference Between Natural Stone and Manufactured Stone

While it may be hard to detect by the untrained eye, there is a difference between natural stone veneer and manufactured (aka cultured) stone. Natural stone comes from Mother Nature herself, quarried from the earth and thinly sliced to make a veneer instead of using a full-bed stone. Because it’s created by nature, it’s naturally sustainable, can withstand weather conditions and gives a unique appearance with textures and tonal variations that look aesthetically beautiful.

Manufactured or cultured stone is man-made and designed to mimic natural stone in appearance. It is usually made of concrete and aggregate materials and is stained or painted to look like natural stone colors. Therefore, it may not be as durable as natural stone and can fade or erode over time or in harsh weather conditions.

The difference may be in cost. While cultured stone may appear to be lower cost upfront because it’s not as durable, it may need to be replaced down the road. Because natural stone is made to last by the earth, the value is in its durability. However, Pangaea® natural stone veneers are comparably priced to cultured stone right at purchase, so it’s a win-win!

How to Use Pangaea® Natural Stone Veneers on Your Home

Everleigh and his team often use Pangaea® for applications where they are not able to do a full-set or full-bed stone; it provides a lighter weight, sleeker finish than bigger stones. It’s also more cost-effective to use veneers versus full-bed stones. While Pangaea® comes in a number of finishes, he said his team uses a lot of Ledgestone and Ashlar and sometimes will mix it with Castlestone for a unique look.

For a homeowner who’s been looking at their same house for a number of years, sometimes it’s hard to know where to make improvements for aesthetic value. That’s where Everleigh’s team or a landscape architect comes in to provide guidance.

“Either our team or a landscape architect would work with the homeowner to create a design and color palette and then we would come in and build it.”

A light post at the entrance to a driveaway featuring Pangaea’s® Diamond River 3 Course Ashlar.

He says the first step is taking a look at the architecture of the home and the overall layout to the outside environment and determining the type of Pangaea® stone that will work best. For example, for more of a country-style, old-fashion feel, they would use the Fieldstone. For a more modern look they would go with a Ledgestone. The homeowner would determine the color palette they like best—greys or tans, or a mixture based on the overall theme of the property.

Everleigh said each area has a prominent type of architecture. New England is generally a lot of grey and brown tones, while more of a Tuscan style may be popular in other areas. He says it’s best to turn to the guidance of an expert rather than DIY to make sure the design matches the architecture of the house. “They can help you narrow down the color and source samples so the homeowner can see and feel the choices available,” he says.

Pangaea® comes in a large variety of color and style options to fit the design you want to create. View our selection here.

Where to Use Natural Stone Veneers to Improve Curb Appeal

One of the benefits of using Pangaea® thin stone veneer is the way stone veneer can transform and upgrade the look of the home. Here are a few ways to use it for better curb appeal:

Entryway: Thin stone veneer can provide a completely new look to your home’s front door area and create interest and contrast.

Garage: Cover garage structures for a unique look. You can also match it to your entryway to unify your look throughout your home’s exterior.

Columns: Columns provide a stately look to any home. Ones made from stone veneer provide interest and color to the front of your home.

Stone Walls: Set borders around your home for protection or simply aesthetic value by adhering to walls. Pangaea® thin veneer is easy to install with beautiful results.

Chimney: If your chimney is visible from the front of your house, wrapping it in Pangaea® natural stone veneer will give it visual interest and a rustic look.

Contact us today for more information, to locate a dealer in your region, or to become a Pangaea® dealer.