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Thin, Full, Cultured Stone Veneer – What’s the Difference?

Wall Tile

Arctic-White-LedgestoneLedgestone or stone veneer offers an array of possibilities for those looking to enhance their home or business. With such a wide range of stone types and veneer styles, seeking out the best option can leave you scratching your head, however. Which type of stone veneer is the best choice for your upcoming project? Based on these common customer questions, the natural stone pros at PetraSlate have assembled this post to help you select the right stone veneer solution.


The Skinny on Thin Stone Veneer

Natural thin stone veneer is relatively new to the market, increasing in prevalence as diamond-cutting blade technology has advanced over the past decade. Like full stone veneer, thin stone veneer comes in a variety of options, including slate, marble, and travertine ledgestone. A fraction of the size of full stone veneer, each piece is just ¾-1 ½-inches in depth. This greatly reduces the weight of thin veneer to only 10-15lbs per sq.ft, depending on the stone. Despite their thin facade, each stone is handcrafted to create the illusion of depth. This ensures each addition looks as if it were entirely constructed of stone. Suitable for use both indoors and out, thin veneer can quickly and easily transform the interior or exterior of your home or business. Add visual interest with an exterior refresh, feature wall, or fireplace surround with no need for structural additions to accommodate the weight of the stone.

Thin stone veneer is much easier to install and work with than full stone veneer. Though the initial cost of thin stone veneer is slightly higher per square foot, installation and labor costs are far lower. Slim and lightweight, it installs quickly, with no need for structural additions. It can also be speedily stacked, with no need to wait for mortar to dry.


The Broad Strokes on Full Stone Veneer 

Full, 4-inch stone veneer is typically used outdoors. Larger in size, it is heavier than thin stone veneer, weighing about 1-ton per 35-40sq.ft., though different stones have different densities. Their heavy weight and larger size make full stone more challenging to work with. Structural modifications are necessary to bear the burden of full stone veneer and must be carefully calculated by an architect. Installation time is also lengthened, as mortar in underlying layers must set before adding on to prevent collapse.

In terms of up-front costs, full stone veneer costs less than thin stone veneer out of the box. However, overall project costs quickly rise, surpassing the costs of thin veneer in necessary structural enhancements, labor costs, and time to complete the installation.


Natural Vs. Cultured Stone Veneer

Unlike natural stone veneer made of slate, travertine, and marble, which is created by Mother Nature and sourced from deep within the earth, cultured stone veneer is manmade. Mass-produced rather than hand crafted, though it is designed to mimic the looks of natural stone, it does not have the same natural variations. This results in a ‘cookie-cutter’ appearance, particularly when used in multiple buildings placed side-by-side.

Made of cement, aggregates, and pigments, the composition of cultured veneer is far different than natural stone, requiring more maintenance and care. The artificial pigments that create stone color and design do not go through-and-through, leading to cosmetic issues as veneer weathers. Though tempting due to a lower up-front cost, cultured veneer ends up costing more in the long-run, requiring earlier replacement.

Ledgestone decisions weighing on you? Uncover the ideal project solution with the help of PetraSlate today.

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