Let’s explore the importance of natural stone wall cladding in the history of architecture. Historically natural stones have been the building block of human civilization both metaphorically and literally. The monuments left behind by civilizations of the past that, to this day, stand tall reminding us of their legacy were made of stone. The Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Egypt, and the stunning temples of Rome are great examples of how the stone has acted as a time capsule to give us clues of our past.
And even more importantly, the stone has served as the primary building material for houses and other vital structures. In those days, it was out of convenience that stone was chosen as the material for construction. It was readily available to our ancestors and had significant benefits over other building materials. Natural stone is strong, durable, and can be cut into the required shape or size.
Nowadays, the stone is making a comeback. It is a time-tested material with apparent benefits and combined with the modern techniques of construction; it adds a unique and distinctive aesthetic appeal to any structure. The possibilities and creativity that you can achieve with the use of stone are endless. It can be used on both interior and exterior walls to elevate the look of the area. People mostly opt for common materials to cover the walls mainly due to the cost-effectiveness, but at a certain point, it becomes just a bit boring, and every house ends up looking more or less the same.
There are only so many colors of paint that you can choose. The wallpapers are more or less slight variations of each other, tiles and ceramics are often too bland to give them that wow factor to space. Natural stone wall cladding is an option that is both practical and exquisite. It may cost a little more than some of the traditional options mentioned earlier, but what you get for the price is worth it.
Not only will you get a distinct and unique look, but it will also give you several practical benefits that conventional wall coverings can’t offer. Let your creativity run wild as you can use any combination and go for any design that comes to your mind. With the right lighting used to accentuate the inherent highlights that come with a natural stone cladding wall, you can take your house or office to the next level.
The patterns and imperfections that form on natural stone are a result of thousands of years of perseverance through extreme weather conditions. It adds a certain appeal and characteristic to space, which just cannot be replicated by using human-made materials. If you are looking to stand out from the crowd and breathe life into your house, then you will not find a better solution than natural stone wall cladding.
How is it done?
The application of stone varies depending on the application and the size of the space. Your contractor can tell you the best procedure of application that is applicable to your desired area. The general process of natural stone wall cladding starts with a deep clean of the substrate and the stone to remove dirt and any other contaminants. In order to ensure the consistency of the stone, the application goes from bottom to top.
Different types of adhesives are used depending on the surface area where the stone is being applied. Once the stones are applied, any excess adhesive is cleaned off, and the stones are left to set for at least 24 hours. It sounds very straight forward and simple, but it is a very intricate and tedious task.
Categorizations of Natural Stone Wall Cladding
If you want to ensure that you have a robust and dependable natural stone wall cladding system, it is essential to understand the properties of the weight and the characteristic of natural stone. What you are doing, in essence, is fixing or attaching a heavy stone on a vertical surface. It can be tricky, so it is essential to know what you are doing.
- Conventional Handset Method – This is the method that is commonly used by professionals where natural stones are attached to an already constructed support structure such as a wall or a pillar. This way, you can get a reliable and robust exterior covering for a structure. The most commonly used stones for this method are sand and limestone. In some cases, slate and marble can also be used.
- Rainscreen Principle – If you are looking to create a dynamic pattern, then this is the method that you want to go for. It uses hidden clip systems to hold stone-clad rainscreen facades. Some kind of back ventilation and drainage cavity are also involved in this system to get rid of any moisture that might build up and potentially cause damage to the installation.
- Custom Cladding – There is no limit to the designs that you can achieve with natural stone wall cladding. Anything that you want can be done, but it is vital to consult an expert contractor such as SpaceStone and discuss your design.
There are several types of natural stones that can be used for cladding. If we go by geological groups, they can be divided into three major categories:
- Sedimentary rocks (which include sandstone and limestone)
- Metamorphic rocks (which include marble and slate)
- Igneous rocks (which include granite)
There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when deciding which type of natural stone to go for. The intended use, appearance, size of the space, and the kind of composite that you want all play a significant role. It is vital to know the properties of each type of stone to reach a decision.
- Marble – This is the building stone that has been used since the early days to signify status and wealth. It is a very difficult stone to work with, but the results that it gives are very impressive.
- Limestone – This is a unique stone because it is very diverse in its range of applications and versatile. Its color range is also very distinct and subtle, ranging from pure white to beige and brown with a blue tint. The textures it offers are also very diverse; you can go for a creamy texture or a chunky one. It is the perfect option when it comes to the face of buildings. It can also be sculpted easily in case you want to incorporate some designs within the stone.
- Granite – This is a very intricate stone that is coarse-grained and consists of interlocking crystals. It is a common stone that is used around the world. It has excellent indoor and outdoor applications. The selling point for this stone is its durability. It also has great endurance and retains its texture and color.
- Basalt – If you are looking for a dark tone, then this gray-blue volcanic stone might be the ideal choice for you. It is excellent for both indoor and outdoor applications. It is a very finely grained rock and gives off a very sleek and modern look. Another additional advantage of using this stone is its insulation capability.
- Bluestone – This is a common term that is used for a number of stones that are used mainly in commercial buildings. The name comes from the blue tint that all these stones possess.
- Jerusalem Stone – This is a historic stone that has been used by man since the early times. It is a combination of dolomite and limestone. The defining feature of this stone is its density, and it’s the ability to wheater harsh conditions effectively. It is a prevalent choice when it comes to outdoor use.
- Slate – This is a metamorphic rock that has beautiful graining and is perfect for both exterior and interior cladding. It gives off a very sleek and elegant look. It is highly durable, and it has excellent water resistance. It is low maintenance and easy to work with. All of these properties have made this a trendy choice.
While there are defining characteristics such as color, pattern, and texture of every stone, it all depends on how the stone was processed, extracted, and finished. Some of the things to look out for are:
- Color – The color variation between different types of stones is considerable. Every stone can vary in the shade of it’s defined color depending on the quarry where it was mined from. If you have a particular color in mid, be sure to consult your contractor.
- Pattern – The pattern on stones is a result of the conditions that it faced. It is all a result of natural variation. So the patterns on the same stones from different places can vary greatly.
- Texture – The theme is similar when it comes to texture. It is all dependent on the conditions that the stone faced and where it came from.
There are many finishes that can be applied to different stones to elevate their appearance
- Polished – A polished finish means that the stone has undergone treatment to highlight the character and contrast of its inherent colors. This finish is used in situations where you want the focus to be the natural beauty of the stone.
- Honed – A hones finish is achieved by grinding the stone down to a consistent and smooth surface. Some stones have an inherent shine to them, such as granite and marble. If such stones are honed, it takes away their shine and gives the stones a more matte look. Honed finishes need less maintenance.
- Sandblasted – This finish is tidy looking but a little rough compared to the other finishes. This finish is achieved by using high-pressure silica on the stone. The defining feature of this finish is an elegant and granular texture.
Pros and Cons of Natural Stone Wall Cladding
Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of natural stone wall cladding
- Weatherproof – There are several types of natural stones that are inherently resistant to weather. One example is andesite, and it is renowned for its durability against adverse weather conditions. Andesite is also mildew and mold resistant. This is a massive advantage as it saves you a lot of money on regular maintenance.
- Absorbent – There are natural stones that are ideal for areas that constantly get damp or wet. Stones such as basalt are great at absorbing humidity.
- A fresh look – If you are looking to give your house or office an earthy and natural atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with natural stone. Travertine, granite, and marble are all great options to achieve this purpose. You can use these stones to enhance the look of your bathroom, or you can use them on a feature wall for your living room.
- Easy Installation – Stones can be cut into any shape or size that you want, so installing them is a hassle-free process. They look neater and more elegant than other wall coverings.
- Timeless – Stones have been used by man since the early days, and they have not lost their elegance charm to this day. All you have to do is get them polished, and they will be good as new.
- High price tag – They can cost slightly more than conventional wall coverings.
- Heavy – Due to their natural characteristics, stones are heavier than timber or tiles. This means that the stone wall cladding installations have to be appropriately planned and executed for the right weight distribution.
Natural stone wall cladding is an excellent option if you are looking to add that “wow” factor to your home or office. When it comes to elegance, durability, and uniqueness, there are few materials that can go toe to toe with natural stone. That being said, natural stone wall cladding is a very intricate process, and it is best left to experts who can understand your needs and provide you with a solution that is practical and cost-effective.