Choosing Between Natural and Manufactured Stone Wall Cladding

by | Jan 6, 2015 | Stacked Stone | 0 comments

Stone wall cladding is a type of facing for walls. When it is called cladding, it is for exterior walls. However, it may also be used on interior walls, but this is often called a veneer. Either way, inside or outside, this facing gives walls the look of being made out of stacked stones.

In addition to changing the appearance of walls, this facing may also improve the walls by adding additional insulation, sealing against moisture and durability. While most people purchase sheets of cladding for decorative purposes, there can also be some functional uses that should be considered.

Is manufactured stone wall cladding the best?

There are two basic types of rock facing for walls. One kind is made out of actual rocks, and these are cut very thinly to make them as light as possible. Sometimes, this is called “Thin Stone” Cladding.

The other kind is made out of synthetic materials such as light concrete, but it can be made to look and even have the texture of natural stone. This is often called manufactured, artificial, or synthetic stone cladding.

Both types can come in a variety of colours and types of stones. They provide a very similar appearance, and they both may help protect the wall. For worn or defaced structures, one big advantage of this type of facing is that it needs almost no maintenance. It doesn’t need to be painted, for example. Also, durable rock facings seldom require any repairs.

Manufactured Stone Wall Cladding is Lighter

This manufactured product is usually a lot lighter than natural stone. This means that it can get fixed onto walls with simple mortar, and it can also be used on walls of varying strengths. Even when natural rocks are sliced thin, they are bound to be heavier. Natural rock facings may need extra supports or fixings to hold them up and brace the wall.

On the other hand, natural rocks are likely to make a much more durable facing. As the years pass, small chips and breaks may occur in natural or synthetic stones, but they are not noticeable on a natural wall. It will just look like part of the natural aging process. With natural stone, it is possible to mortar a loose rock right back into place.

Chips and broken pieces tend to hurt the appearance of artificial stone, and they need to get repaired. Also, natural rocks can get reused, but artificial ones need to get replaced or repaired.

Natural stone is considered the more durable solution, so it is unlikely to need many repairs with normal exposure. However, it is much heavier, so many walls need braces or fixtures to hold the cladding in place and stay stable. That means it is much easier to install synthetic stone because it can be mortared in place.

Another big consideration is the cost. Natural stone tends to cost a lot more than artificial alternatives, and there is also more wastes during the cutting process. Artificial stone simply gets moulded to the right shape. The process is efficient, fast, and much less expensive.

If the cost is a major consideration, consumers should lean towards artificial choices because they are cheaper to buy and easier to install. The good thing about these synthetic choices is that customers can select almost any type of stone that they can imagine, from slate to marble, without worrying about the high cost of purchasing natural materials.

It is true that manufactured products may not be as durable. However, they can get repaired, and many companies that sell the products also sell repair kits or can send out a good technician to make the wall look as good as it did the first day that it left the factory and got shipped to your property.

Stone Wall Cladding Functionality

Most people simply consider the appearance of having a stone wall when they decide to put up rock facing on their walls. This is true for people who want to create the look of a stone outside wall, and it is also true for people who want to make a fireplace look more appealing and natural. However, stone facing may have some real benefits besides just improving the appearance of walls.

First, this facing can help protect walls from being damaged. As mentioned, it is a strong product that does not need to get painted. In addition, it can also provide an extra layer of insulation that makes it easier to keep a home cool or warm.

Besides just sealing off a building from the weather, it can also keep water and humidity out of walls, and this is not always true for a typical wood frame house with drywall on the inside. It may reduce the risk of having water seep through walls where it can warp wood or even encourage the growth of mould.

Of course, this type of facing has other uses besides just home walls. If you have, for example, a wooden retaining wall in your garden, you might consider covering it with stone facing. It will make the wall look rustic, and it will also give your wooden wall a much longer life because the actual wood underneath will get protected from the elements.

Is rock cladding a good investment?

Improving the appearance of a wall is the first thought that comes to mind when considering stone facing. This can, by itself, also improve the value of a building. However, the cladding may also help seal out moisture, protect the wall, and make buildings easier to insulation.

In these ways, it can extend the lifespan of a wall and the things that the wall was meant to protect. If people like the appearance of natural stone, this is a great product to consider. The next step is to speak with dealers to see what kind of stone wall product is best for a particular project.