Stone Veneer Siding: Pros, Cons, Costs, Top Brands, Installation & Repair
Stone siding is gorgeous and natural, but it is very expensive and installation isn’t suitable for every home. If you love the look of stone but want a more affordable siding that can be used on any dwelling with relative ease, stone veneer siding is a great choice.
In fact, you’ve got many choices. Veneer stone siding is available in styles that look very authentic – Fieldstone, stackstone, ledgestone, riverstone, cut stone, limestone and castlestone are among the most popular looks, and each type is available in a variety of color mixes. Stone veneer is also referred to as faux stone siding, manufactured stone, stone facing and architectural stone veneer.
Related Reading: Faux Wood Log Siding
If you’re still deciding on the best exterior house siding for your home please take a look at our main home siding section for more ideas. And if you have your heart set on veneer siding read our guide to brick veneer siding.
Further Reading: Solid Brick Vs Brick Veneer
WHAT IS STONE VENEER SIDING?
Most faux stone siding starts with lightweight concrete, though some is made with clay. To the mix is added polymers for strength and weatherproof wear as well as pigments to give the finished product the desired appearance. Some stone veneer is painted rather than pigmented. Other faux stone products are made out of dense polyurethane.
The mix is poured or forced into rubber molds that have been created using genuine stone, so the shape of the finished product is authentic.
There are two types of stone veneer. Individual veneer pieces come in a box with pieces of varying size and coloration, though in the same style. This gives the installer complete freedom in choosing the next veneer piece to install, but it is also a more difficult and time-consuming installation process. The individual pieces are fixed to a metal lath that holds the adhesive, and, for some profiles, the spaces between veneer stones is filled with mortar.
The second type is stone veneer siding panels, usually two to eight square feet per panel. Installation goes more quickly, as each panel is attached to the home with screws. Some panels require mortar while some include it in the fabrication process.
L-shaped corner pieces are made for both individual and panel siding, and they’re typically installed first.
A NOTE ABOUT INSTALLATION
Stone veneer siding requires an experienced installer to avoid moisture problems. The issue is drainage. Stone facing made from cement will absorb some water that will migrate toward the house. When the veneer is not properly installed, moisture gets trapped between the siding and the wood structure of the home. Rot and mold are the inevitable result when the moisture can’t escape.
The first step is to install an appropriate moisture barrier on the outside of the home. Space for drainage is necessary in some installations or, at minimum, weep holes. Adequate flashing is crucial, as is caulking around windows, doors and other openings to keep out water. The caulk should be checked annually and repaired as needed. In short, stone veneer siding will provide durable protection for a home when installed correctly; when there are errors in installation, severe problems will result.
PROS AND CONS OF STONE VENEER SIDING
This siding material has a lot to offer with a few potential drawbacks.
Stone veneer advantages:
- Creates the look of natural beauty on any exterior
- Rich spectrum of profiles and colors
- Lightweight design makes installation easier and does not require footing support
- 30+ years of durable home protection
- Requires little maintenance
- Installs easier and faster than real stone
- Costs 40% to 70% less than installed genuine stone
- Competitively priced with premium vinyl siding, wood siding and fiber cement siding
- Can be recycled
Stone veneer disadvantages:
- Installation must be done properly to avoid moisture issues
- Cheap stone veneer is painted, and the paint will wear with time to dull the siding
- Harsh chemicals will mar the appearance
- Faux stone is not as tough as real stone, but it is as strong as wood, vinyl siding or fiber cement
- Earthquakes, tremors and vibrations from close, heavy traffic can cause mortar to crack
- When moisture gets into the veneer and then freezes, it can cause cracking in the siding
THE COST OF STONE VENEER SIDING AND INSTALLATION
We include prices in our siding guides to give you the opportunity to compare costs head to head for the materials you’re considering for your home. Here are the average material costs per square foot for faux stone siding:
- Stone veneer pieces: $2.50-$8.00/sq. ft.
- Stone veneer panels: $5.50-$12.00/sq. ft.
As you see, panels cost more per square foot than individual pieces. However, the extra money spent on the material might be recouped through significantly lower installation costs.
- Stone veneer pieces installation: $12-$20/sq. ft.
- Stone veneer panel installation: $7-$10/sq. ft.
The cost of installation will vary with who does the work. A handyman will charge less than a siding contractor. However, keep in mind that the quality of the installation will determine whether or not moisture issues develop. Only consider contractors with good experience installing stone veneer siding. Ask them what they’ll do to prevent excess moisture from penetrating the siding and what will be done to allow drainage.
WHERE TO BUY FAUX STONE SIDING
The popularity of this material and the fact it is light enough to ship at moderate cost means it is sold by many local and online retailers.
Lowes, Menards and The Home Depot all have dozens of products in stock or for order. National hardware chains like True Value, Ace and Do-it Best carry it too.
Smaller chains and independent building supply stores might stock less but should be able to order a wide range of stone siding veneers.
You can order the material you want online from most of these stores. It’s also sold by retailers that sell only online. Build Direct is the best-known online seller, but there are many more including Wholesale Stone Veneer and Stone Design. Manufactured stone veneer is sold on eBay and also on Amazon, but when buying on Amazon, the order is typically filled by a third party.
TOP BRANDS OF STONE VENEER SIDING
There seem to be as many manufacturers as there are sellers, though that isn’t quite the case. Here are brands worth exploring as you search for the right product for your home.
Stone Design makes veneer siding panels as well as selling directly to customers. Styles include cut stone, ledgestone/stackstone.
Silvermine Stone produces what it calls “Stack-N-Tack” faux stone siding that does not use mortar but is rather nailed or screwed down. Products resemble ledgestone/stackstone.
Ply Gem stone facing is available in many profiles including cut cobblestone, fieldstone, manorstone, ledgestone, riverstone and ridgestone. An excellent assortment of colors is available in each. The company sells under the Ply Gem name and the Canyon Stone brand.
Eldorado Stone has been making architectural stone veneer since the 1970s. Profiles offered include fieldstone, bluffstone, cliffstone and ledgestone.
Faux Panels makes panels roughly eight square feet in size, so installation time is reduced. A good color selection is produced in all the most common stone profiles.
Gen Stone manufacturers faux stone veneer for sale in the US and Canada. Styles include mostly ledgestone and stackstone, but cut stone and fieldstone profiles are available too.
Veneerstone produces all the profiles you’d expect from fieldstone to ledgestone in an impressive range of colors.
Nextstone makes stone veneer panels in cut stone and ledgestone profiles with many color options. Panels are roughly two square feet each. Nextstone is available at The Home Depot, Lowes and many other stores.
Cast Natural Stone is sold exclusively at Menards and produces a comprehensive selection of profiles from river rock to ledgestone to cut stone.
Most of these manufacturers sell samples, and it is a good idea to invest in samples of your favorite products before you make your final decision.