Guide to the Home’s Hottest Natural Stone Colors for 2023

Guide to the Home’s Hottest Natural Stone Colors for 2023

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The start of a new year is the ideal time to gather inspiration for those exciting outdoor living spaces and home exterior upgrades. In recent years, homeowners have claimed more outdoor space than ever before, transforming neglected square footage into thriving year-round outdoor spaces for entertaining and dining. Many homeowners also boosted their curb appeal and property value with easy exterior stone siding. But let us not forget those interior updates as well, where stone fireplaces and feature walls can make all the difference in your home’s wow factor. Make a resolution to update your home, inside and out, in 2023 with Instone’s hottest stone colors and styles on the market.

So what’s trending in stone colors and style? To find out, we spoke with Justin Alicandro, Instone’s VP of natural stone products, who shared the most popular stones from the Midwest to the East Coast.

Blues and Grays Dominate

Beautiful blue and gray tones and tints have been extremely popular along the East Coast for years. The demand has almost outpaced the availability, which is why Alicandro brought Aura’s Blue Mist Granite to Instone. It quickly became a best-selling product. The timeless elegance of the bluestone wash mixed with the grainy grays of granite makes this stone pleasing to the eye. The blue tones pair nicely with homes with a cooler color palette. Alicandro says the blue and gray colors will continue to dominate along the East Coast for years to come.

Looking to go with blues and grays for your home’s exterior siding or outdoor renovation project? Here are some complementary stone veneer colors, styles and brands available through Instone:

Make Way for the Buffs

Look out blues, there’s a new color in town! Alicandro says buff tones are gaining traction as a popular look for landscaping, with Aura’s Phoenician Buff leading the charge. 

This stone features pale speckles and veins of gray and pink mixed with beige-buff coloring to create beautiful texture and movement with a gentle warmth.

Another buff stone is Aura’s Oxford Buff Sandstone, which Alicandro says is relatively new, but quickly gaining popularity. “It’s really catching the eye of homeowners,” he says. The taupe beige sandstone is speckled with darker tones of black and brown for a classic neutral that will go with warm color palettes.

When planning your project in buff tones, here are some complementary colors, styles and brands available at Instone:

Lighter Colors Are In

Lighten up! At least in your backyard space. That’s what Alicandro says is trending at the moment. “I see the lighter colors coming on strong. We have some travertines that are ideal for these palettes.”

Silver Travertine has become in high-demand for pool stone, says Alicandro. “It’s popular because it’s light, and doesn’t get as hot in the summer, so people won’t burn their feet on it.”

As for granites in lighter colors, Alicandro recommends Silver Ridge Granite. “This is really a nice, light granite with a lot of character and movement throughout. It’s very unique,” he says, adding that the product is exclusive to Instone and recommends placing orders this winter for those spring and summer patio and pool projects.

Alicandro says Gray Granite is in the same color range as Silver Ridge but without the movement. “This is a more formal-looking, light-colored granite.” Here are some complementary pairings for a light- color project palette:

Home Improvement Projects

Just fell in love with a stone color and style but not sure how to begin planning your new project? Check out our blog on creating a backyard oasis with natural stone for a little help. Some projects to consider:

  • Curb appeal – siding, entryways, driveways, walkways, steps, pavers, curbing, walls
  • Interior – fireplace surrounds, feature walls, bars, kitchen islands
  • Backyard entertainment – patios, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens
  • Water elements – pools, hot tubs, fountains

This winter, spend some time indoors planning your next home project thanks to a little inspiration from Justin and our wide variety of the hottest stone colors and styles of 2023.

Fill out the form below for access to our 2023 Color Guide!

We want to know your favorite stone color combination! Vote for one of the combos above in the comments below.

Warm Up The Indoors With Cultured Stone Manufactured Stone Veneer

Warm Up The Indoors With Cultured Stone Manufactured Stone Veneer

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Winter is coming. With the chilly temperatures driving us indoors more, wouldn’t it be nice to visually warm up your home so you can feel extra cozy in the months ahead? Cultured Stone is a manufactured stone veneer (MSV) product that looks like natural stone at a fraction of the price and with a lighter weight for easier and faster installation.

Not only is Cultured Stone the longest running MSV maker on the market, they are leading innovators when it comes to their production process and selection of design styles.

“A big part of their success is their constant innovation of colors and textures,” says Tim Wood, Stone Division Manager at Best Block Company. “And they do a very good job with consistency. If you want to put an addition on your home that was built 10 years ago and you want to use the same stone, chances are very good it will match.”

Cultured Stone Has More Varieties of Colors and Textures Than Any Other Stone Product

For Wood, the key selling point of Cultured Stone is that they always have something new to offer. “They really drive the industry forward as far as their colors. When they come out with a new color, everybody else scrambles to make something similar,” he says. “Their whole design team really keeps up on trends for shapes and textures and colors, which no other company does. As a supplier, we really like that because having something new gives us an opportunity to get out in the market and update people.”

Take a look for yourself at some of the options of Cultured Stone:

Cultured Stone Is Readily Available

Like many products during the pandemic, supply chain issues slowed availability and extended lead times. But Wood says that these days everything is pretty much back to normal. 

“Cultured Stone inventory levels are good, freight availability is good,” he says. “We’re able to get Cultured Stone within a few days of lead time.”

The trusted name in manufactured stone veneer is back and better than ever and we just had to show our appreciation.

Cultured Stone is Eco-friendly

When it comes to being environmentally aware about products for a home, natural stone just sounds like it would be an obvious choice. However, a big part of going down a more environmentally-friendly path is looking at how products are made and sourced. Upon closer inspection, you’ll find that natural stone is a finite resource that is extracted from the earth, resulting in damage to our landscapes during acquisition and damage to the environment in processing the raw materials.

It also requires more energy to transport because of its weight.

With manufactured Cultured Stone veneer products, architects, builders, and homeowners can reduce their energy and sourcing footprint without compromising strength, durability or aesthetics. Cultured Stone products contain an average of 58% pre-consumer recycled content. The company also uses low-emitting materials and manufacturing processes in the production of its products, including a closed-loop system for water consumption.

Unlike much heavier natural stone, manufactured stone may not require concrete footings for support. Cultured Stone products can weigh as little as eight to 12 pounds per square foot.

Because of its sustainable manufacturing footprint, architects and builders using Cultured Stone can earn LEED® credits for indoor air quality and recycled content.

As a dealer, Wood says he always tries to mention the environmental aspect. “We try to throw it out there to our builders and their clients. It’s another added bonus. And homeowners can mention at their dinner parties that their house uses green products. It’s kind of a cool thing to be able to say.”

Uses for Interior Design With Cultured Stone 

Fireplace surrounds: If your fireplace is out of date with tired brick or tile, give it a natural stacked stone look without building a whole new fireplace.

Accent feature wall: Warm up a plain space with the natural charm of stone. The rich colors and textures add interest and create a cozy environment.

Home office Zoom wall: Make your office setting reflect your personality with the color and texture of natural stone, delivering the perfect background wall for your Zoom meetings.

Kitchen backsplash: You look at your kitchen backsplash every day when you make meals. Make it aesthetically pleasing with the look of natural stone in a color and texture that speaks to you.

Wine cellar: Create some old-world character in a room where slowing down and enjoying a good glass wine means living the good life.

Cultured Stone Home Exterior Ideas 

If you’re planning your summer project ahead of time during the winter months (which we highly recommend), consider Cultured Stone for the following areas:

  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Outdoor fireplace surrounds
  • Entryways
  • Posts, pillars and lampposts
  • Wainscot siding

Cultured Stone Is Easy to Maintain

One of the biggest tests of Cultured Stone versus natural stone is durability. Yes, it’s true, natural stone is extremely durable because it comes from the earth and can withstand extreme conditions for exterior use. But it turns out that Cultured Stone is no slouch in the durability department either, especially for interior use. The only caution is not to chip it because the color is only on the surface and not all the way through the cement interior. However, even if you accidentally bump something against it hard enough to chip it, you can check with your dealer to assess the damage. They have tint kits for an easy fix.

Keeping it clean is simple and easy. For interior use, you only need to do occasional dusting as you would any surface. If it really needs a clean, such as on exterior uses, a mild detergent with some water and a stiff bristle brush is all you need. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to get off any soap residue.

You should never use chemicals or power washing on Cultured Stone since the color is on the surface; it may take the color off. Sealants are also not needed.

The look of natural stone can bring a little bit of Mother Nature’s beauty into your home, add interest and aesthetic appeal, and make your home feel more warm and inviting as you snuggle in for the winter months ahead.


Learn More About Cultured Stone
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Creating a Decorative Fireplace With Stone Veneer This Holiday Season

Creating a Decorative Fireplace With Stone Veneer This Holiday Season

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‘Tis the season when your home becomes the focal point for holiday gatherings. There isn’t a better centerpiece than your fireplace for making memories with family and friends. But is your fireplace looking a little drab? Give it a makeover with stone veneers.

The look of a natural stacked-stone fireplace adds charm to any space, and it’s easy to do. Thin stone veneers can be adhered around an existing fireplace made of brick or tile. The industry term is a “fireplace surround,” because that’s exactly what it does to give your fireplace a new look.

 

Installing a Thin Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround

Like the name sounds, a fireplace surround includes all the elements surrounding the firebox itself, which includes the area inserted into the wall where the fire lit. Thin stone veneers can be installed around the firebox and up to the mantel area or all the way up the ceiling to give the look of a natural stone chimney.

Cultured Stone Echo Ridge Country Ledgestone

Thin stone veneers are natural or manufactured stones usually about 1-2” thick that can be attached over an existing brick fireplace. Because thin veneers are lighter in weight, they are faster and easier to install than building a new stone fireplace, saving you time and labor costs. Not to mention not having to take on a messy demo project in your home before the holidays. Not only will you achieve the look of a full stone fireplace, you’ll have the same durability and low-maintenance care.

If you’re handy around the house, you could DIY your fireplace surround. Puzzle lovers will enjoy the process of putting the pieces together in place. If you’re unsure of your DIY skills or you’re in a time crunch to get it done before a holiday party, it will be easier and faster to contract a professional mason or contractor.

Stone Veneers for Your Fireplace Surround Makeover

Dress Up Your Stone Fireplace for the Holidays

Once you have your new stone veneer fireplace done, you’ll want to dress it up with some holiday cheer.

Cultured Stone® Chardonnay Dressed Fieldstone

Start With Greenery

A big staple for your fireplace decorating is the lush greenery. Place garland across the mantel and perhaps drape down the sides of the firebox area (be sure to keep all décor from getting too close to the fire and heat.). Within the garland, the possibilities are endless to nestle fairy lights, figurines, ornaments, fruit such as cranberries, flowers such as poinsettias, pinecones and more. Perhaps, hide an Elf or two. 

Pangaea® New England Quarry Ledgestone

Color Coordinate

Pick a color theme and coordinate your holiday décor. It could be traditional Christmas colors of red and green, more frosted wintery shades of blue, white and silver or even something offbeat such as pink. If you put up a Christmas tree, you can match your fireplace décor with your tree décor by using bauble, ornament, ribbons and candles in matching colors.

Interloc New England

Match Your Décor Style

Is your style ultra modern, vintage/retro or farmhouse? Make your holiday décor match your design style in your home, or give it a style all its own. Modern style may use sleek ornaments, metallics and high-contrasting colors, while farmhouse leans to soft neutrals or all-white with black trim. Mid-century modern has become very popular, with more of this type of décor hitting the market in playful colors of pink, teal and orange.

Once the stone veneer is set and garland is hung, all of us at Instone wish you a joyful season by the fire with loved ones. 

Ready to dress up your fireplace with stone veneer? Make your wish list and contact us for samples of Pangaea, Cultured Stone and Dutch Quality stone veneers. 

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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.

Cottagecore Style: Bringing Nature Indoors with Stone Veneers

Cottagecore Style: Bringing Nature Indoors with Stone Veneers

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As winter moves in, if you’re looking for ideas to cozy up your home, look no further than the cottagecore trend. This lifestyle aesthetic celebrates the slow-paced, romanticized aspects of countryside living and bringing elements of nature indoors. Cottagecore began with streams of photos on social media around 2018 and really gathered steam during the pandemic for those wanting to embrace staying home and sheltering from the fast-paced, modern world. The look is now hitting the mainstream as an interior design style that provides balance from the hustle of life as we begin post-pandemic normalcy.

What is Cottagecore Interior Design Style?

Rustic, farmhouse and antique furniture, vintage collectibles, handmade items and decorative textiles, fresh and dried flowers, warm tones of aged and well-loved pieces are just a few of the elements you’ll want to incorporate to create this vibe in your home.

If it looks familiar to you, it may be because it borrows elements of other popular design trends such as shabby chic, cottage, granny, and English country. The idea is to strive for simple pleasures and comfort with a focus on nature and sustainability. A large aspect of cottagecore is using and repurposing items you already have—or have gathered from your own rural property—such as produce and flowers and handmade items. It also involves bringing in vintage or antique items, rather than those that are mass-produced, to produce a sense of calm and tranquility.

For Tara Kelly, whose blogs on The Art of Cottagemaking and Instagrams are filled with English-cottage style decorating tips, handmade how-tos, recipes and gardening inspiration, she says cottagecore is about creating a lifestyle that speaks to you, “I grew up on a small farm, so it’s about getting back to my roots and country life,”. she says. “Cottagecore embodies a slower way of living, less reliance on modern technology and appreciating the little things, as little or ordinary as they may seem. It’s about how I choose to go about living life: engrossed in nature, putting myself and my family first, and creating things that feed my soul.”

How to Use Stone Veneers for the Cottagecore Look

Adding elements of stone to your interior and exterior environment is a seamless fit for this design style to reflect nature and old-world charm. There are several ways you can use stone veneers to easily and instantly create the cottagecore look of a quaint home in the European countryside.

Add a stone feature wall: Create interest on a bare wall by using stone from top to bottom for a feature/accent wall. This wall could be anywhere in the home, from enhancing a headboard behind the bed in the bedroom, to a living room or a dining room. The look of natural stone will warm up the space with texture and color (not to mention it will look great for Instagram photos and videos or as a backdrop for Zoom meetings.) If you don’t want to commit to a full wall, stone wainscoting can also add some natural-looking texture to a space.

Do your kitchen backsplash in stone: A big part of the cottagecore lifestyle is spent in the kitchen. If you look at any cottagecore content creator’s social pages, you’ll find photo after photo of people baking pies and pouring tea. So the kitchen is the perfect place to incorporate stone into your backsplash, making you feel you’re cooking in an authentic English country kitchen.

Redo your fireplace surround with stone: If your fireplace is outdated and just not giving snuggly vibes, you can use stone veneers to basically wrap your existing fireplace and make it look like it was built with authentic stacked stone to add character and a vintage look.

Home exterior: Spice up the entryway of your home by using stone veneer for a textured, timeless look. Use it around doorways, posts and lampposts or as a wainscot siding.

Design Inspiration: Cottagecore

Need some more inspiration? Check out our mood boards:

What Stone Veneers Work Best for Cottagecore Décor?

We suggest these stone veneer options for your cottagecore home upgrade:

Pangaea – a high-quality natural stone veneer with easy installation made by a sustainably-forward-thinking company.

Cultured Stone – a manufactured stone veneer that is made with eco-friendliness in mind by using an average of 58% pre-consumer recycled content.

Dutch Quality – a manufactured stone veneer inspired by nature. It is made using art and technology for an authentic natural stone look.

Install a stone accent in your home, gather some wildflowers from the field and you, too, can be like an Instagram cottagecore influencer pouring a long, slow cup of tea before you tuck into a freshly baked pie and crack open a vintage book in front of your stone fireplace.

Ready to go cottagecore? Make your wish list and contact us for samples of Pangaea, Cultured Stone and Dutch Quality stone veneers.

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:

Instone Presents: InBuilding Design A New Online Show For Pros and the DIYers

Instone Presents: InBuilding Design A New Online Show For Pros and the DIYers

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At Instone, we sell rocks. But what does that mean? If you’ve ever wondered, then we have a show for you!

Instone introduces the InBuilding Design Series, a new show that gives you a backstage look at Instone’s products and hot tips for installation for both professionals and at-home do-it-yourselfers (DIY). Plus, there is some fun trivia and we have friendly competitions between the Instone team and their expert guests.

Launching June 23, the show stars Instone’s COO, CMO Rob McKay, as our resident pro, and Video Producer Ken Czechanski as the “new guy” asking the questions you might have been afraid to ask. 

The show’s format is similar to a relaxed afternoon out in the garage sharing a beer with some neighbors.

“At Instone, people always ask what we do for a living, and sometimes it’s hard to explain without getting too technical,” says McKay. “People don’t typically see our type of product in Home Depot like they do paint and flooring. Our goal is to talk about the products in a casual, friendly way over a couple of drinks and demystify the whole thing.”

The show will focus on a separate product for each of the upcoming nine episodes. They also bring in an expert on that product.

“The idea is to provide education, but also keep it light, so it’s entertaining,” says McKay. Guests participate in games, knowledge tests and various challenges around the product. Will they rise to the challenge? You’ll have to tune in to find out! 

The show is designed to appeal to both the professional and the DIYer by providing information about Instone’s products and just being a fun show to watch.

“This isn’t a corporate training video,” says McKay, “The professionals don’t really need training, but they will walk away possibly having learned something about the product they didn’t know—and it’ll be entertaining.”

For Czechanski’s role as “the new guy,” he represents the curious neighbor who might want to know if they could use an Instone product in their DIY project. “I speak for the guy who might be wondering, ‘can I do this myself?'” says Czechanski. “I’m there to fill in the gaps for people who may not understand everything and make sure they say it in layman’s terms.” Czechanski also brings in the comedic element. “I’m an improviser, so I’m used to looking at things differently. I like to bring out who the guests are as people. There’s some good-natured ribbing going on.”

Whether you’re a professional or a homeowner DIYer, the InBuilding Design Series has something for you.

“Ultimately, I want to make the products more accessible for people,” says Czechanski. “I want them to feel more confident about using the products because if I can figure it out in the 15 minutes of the show, then there is hope for everyone!”

And while you’re getting to know Instone’s products, here are some fun facts about the team:

Rob McKay’s Fun Fact: He was Santa Claus and the Easter bunny in his local shopping mall for four years. People lined up and waited for an hour to see him. And he has the photos to prove it!

Ken Czechanski’s Fun Fact: He can sing! We just may ask him to show off those pipes on a future episode!

So crack open a cold one and sit back and enjoy InBuilding Design with your friendly Instone team!

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.

Most Frequently Asked Questions at the 2022 Northeast Hardscape Expo

Most Frequently Asked Questions at the 2022 Northeast Hardscape Expo

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The Instone Team enjoyed meeting all of you at the recent Northeast Hardscape Expo. We shared our products and signed up recruits to our Instone Army. We look forward to interacting with our new Stone Soldiers in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, for those who were there, and those who couldn’t make it, here are some of the most frequently asked questions from the expo, answered by our experts.

Q: We saw you have a product called Pangaea®. What makes it so special?

Like our saying, “We Make It Easy!,” Pangaea® makes it super easy to do your job. This product is ready for application right out of the box. Each stone is pre-cut, tooled, trimmed and fitted together. All you have to do is apply it just like it’s laid out in the package, saving you time, money and product waste.

Q: How much Pangaea® square footage is in a pallet? 

A: It depends on the type ordered, but in general, flats will cover 200-240 sq ft with a ½” joint, and corners will have about 50 linear feet in every pallet. To find the exact number for the profile you’re interested in, go to our website. In the top navigation click “Check Stock.” Click on the product you’re interested in. Click on the specific style. The description will list how much is available in each warehouse. 

Q: How does the cost of Pangaea® compare with other similar products? 

A: You’ll find Pangaea’s price point comparable to other quality products. It may appear slightly higher, but you get extra value in the time you save and the elimination of waste thanks to the unique features of Pangaea, which include:

  • Gripset® the pre-scored grooves on the back of each piece for quick and easy application and no slippage.
  • Pre-tooled, trimmed and fitted pieces so you can cover more square footage than the competitors (less waste). 

Q: Can I pick up my orders? How do I get product? 

A: Instone works directly through a dealer network to ensure the lowest freight costs possible and the quickest delivery. Our route trucks deliver material 2-3 times a week, so you can be sure your material will get to you in a dependable and timely manner.

Q: I didn’t know you had landscape products too. What can you offer, and is it in stock? 

A: We have patterned flagging, steps, treads, caps and coping readily available in a variety of materials. Our Aura Natural Landscape products include granite, limestone, pebbles, quartizite, sandstone and travertine selections in a variety of finishes. In addition to what we have in stock, we can also do custom fabrication for those one-of-a-kind projects. 

Q: How do I find a dealer near me? 

A: Contact our customer service team at (708) 371-0660 or customerservice@instoneco.com. Let us know the product you’re interested in and your  location. We’ll set you up with someone nearby who’s knowledgeable and ready to help.

Q: How can I find out what’s in stock?

A: That’s easy! Navigate to Check Stock on the top navigation bar on the website. From there, you can see the availability of our products in your area, whether you’re a homeowner or dealer. 

Q: Which stones will be the most readily available this year?

A: That’s a great question. We can’t always predict the demand of a particular stone. However, we strive to keep a full complement of stone types and colors in stock. If one stone isn’t available, we’re consistently sourcing new materials that can fill your needs if stock runs low in one area. We utilize our entire network to ensure complete coverage and availability. If you don’t see what you want, please ask. We may be able to offer alternatives and get them to you quickly.

Q: What is the Instone Army and how do I join?

The Instone Army is an elite group of stone soldiers who receive exclusive educational information, new product notifications, chances to earn and win tools and gear. Each new member gets a FREE Instone Army t-shirt! Sign up for our Army here.

Again, thank you all for coming out to the Northeast Hardscape Expo. We hope to see you at the next event!