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  #1  
Old 03-08-2008, 04:13 PM
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Faux/cultured stone veneer

Does anyone here have some some experience with faux or cultured stone products used a a veneer on a building exterior?
I am planning a small addition to the front of my house. I like the look of stone. I also do not want to even try to natch the existing vinyl siding. I have two squares from when I built the house (22 years ago). But I know the colors won't match.
Using a stone veneer solves the color-matching problem nicely.
So I need reports form people who have used the stuff. What works? What doesn't?
What do I need to know that the instructions omit?

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Old 03-08-2008, 04:46 PM
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I work as an estimator/project manager for a large commercial tile and stone contractor. I've done a few retail strip centers, etc. were we took on that scope too.

You will need a cementitious substrate such as plaster or cement board to apply it to. Waterproofing/vapor barrier needs to be behind that substrate and is all important. We most often go over those substrates using tile setters isntallation methods (ie: latex modified portland cement adhesive ANSI 118.4 and fully grouted grout joints); it is possible to do more of a brick masons method of tyvek or tar paper over plywood, lath, and 1" thick masons mortar with periodic anchors to adhere and then grout the faux stone with.

I think the tile setters method is prob easier for someone with little expirience. Easier yet is selecting a "ledgestone" material and stacking tight so it does not need to be grouted.

Regardless, you'll need flashings at top and bottom and prob will want to fur out and add a "cap" piece; all of which has to be tied in to your vapor barrier to keep moisture from penetrating behind the substrate and damaging structure.

If you are in a freeze thaw area there are additional considerations.
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Last edited by TMAllison; 03-08-2008 at 05:05 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2008, 06:30 PM
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I'll always be partial to ANSI A108.5. I can hear it in my sleep from my days in class at the CTIOA, in 1984.

About the products themselves, some are even warranted for 50 years of performance. Take that as you will.
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:14 PM
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ANSI 108.x series are specifications for methods of installation.

While 108.x continues to be used in project specifications under "References" it covers such a broad array of conditions it is of little use in specifying. Most often now days, Tile Council of America methods are provided within paragraph 09300-3.3(x) "Installation" or "Execution" to provide a more common source of precise graphical detail, criteria and recommendations that the typical arch or design professional could understand.

ANSI 118.x series are material specifications, as is 136.x.
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:26 PM
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I used a veneer around a fireplace, so my experience is inside. Works well, looks good, and you cant use real stone because unless the foundation is built to support it, it can crack and settle in a big way.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:16 PM
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I have a ****** shhtload of it. If you put in on cement board the stone will crack, cement board expands and will crack the stone at the seams, it may be OK in a climate not as severe as Michigan but I had a very expensive lesson myself. Below is a not so great picture of the stone on my garage, the picture was intended to show the sidewalk. If you have the time grate and mortar is the only way to go, which is also the only way the manufacture replace the cracked stone under warranty.


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Old 03-09-2008, 04:03 AM
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Amatuers aren't able to figure out what freeze-thaw cycles do to cheap materials and shoddy installation methods. "Cement boards expand....." Gee, no kidding! LMAO!

BTW, it's "steel reinforced mortar bed," and it ain't "stone," it's poured concrete. If it were stone, it wouldn't need a warranty. It's the contractor, not the materials. LOL!
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:06 AM
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Terry,
A108.5 is the tile industry standard. What you find out in the field, is, well, I just read some. LOL!
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2008, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skid Row Joe View Post
Amatuers aren't able to figure out what freeze-thaw cycles do to cheap materials and shoddy installation methods. "Cement boards expand....." Gee, no kidding! LMAO!

BTW, it's "steel reinforced mortar bed," and it ain't "stone," it's poured concrete. If it were stone, it wouldn't need a warranty. It's the contractor, not the materials. LOL!
Thanks for making my point, why didn't you respond to the post above mine?... you know the one that recommended cement board. We all know that cultured "stone" is cement, whatever the grate is called I don't care I'm not an installer and never aspire to be one.

Furthermore the "contractor" that installed the first stone was recommended, listed and approved by the manufacture and distributer.

Last edited by Medmech; 03-09-2008 at 11:00 AM.
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  #10  
Old 03-09-2008, 01:52 PM
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Howitzer - There is nothing wrong with a cement board substrate as long as it is properly prepared and appropriate adhesives are used to adhere the cultured product. Plaster is preferable IMO but not always conducive to the project budget.

Sounds as if your substrate was not attached correctly (incorrect screws and/or spacing perhaps) or that the joints were not treated correctly (fiber mesh tape and thin-set joint compound) as the installation separated at that point.

I'm certain that the massive amount of grout that the stone you selected didnt help matters, or that freezing is a major issue. All substrates expand and contract.

In 25 years doing this I've been called out to review 100's of failures; I've rarely seen a failure attributed to one action. Typically is a result of 2 or 3 poor decisions.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:28 PM
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I think of the materials that are in common use cement board would be one of the most stable in terms of expanding and contracting. I would suspect the problem is from expansion or contraction of the wood frame supporting the cement board. Framing wood shrinks an incredible amount in a frame home, mostly occurring in the first year of occupancy. If this shrinking is not accounted for lots of problems can and do occur. If it is installed over a block wall, block shrinks a tremendous amount as it ages as well.

I used cultured stone just once at the insistance of the contractor that we designed the home for. In that instance we provided a brick ledge for it. Even though it is only 2" thick, there is a lot of weight there and I am not comfortable with hanging it off a frame wall because of the movement in wood structures responding to moisture and temperatures and because of the aformentioned shrinking.

I tend to go with traditional stone veneer with a generous concrete ledge to sit it on. It is not much more expensive than the cultured products.

If you like the cultured product I suggest using a real brick ledge made of reinforced, concrete not depending on hanging it off the frame wall.

Tom W
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Last edited by t walgamuth; 03-10-2008 at 12:14 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2008, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
I think of the materials that are in common use cement board would be one of the most stable in terms of expanding and contracting. I would suspect the problem is form expansion or contraction of the wood frame supporting the cement board. Framing wood shrinks an incredible amount in a frame home, mostly occurring in the first year of occupancy. If this shrinking is not accounted for lots of problems can and do occur. If it is installed over a block wall, block shrinks a tremendous amount as it ages as well.


Tom W

Precisely, it did not take long to find split stones top to bottom every 8 ft, on the nose.
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:01 PM
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Thanks to all who have posted, and please do not stop.
Go ahead and pat yourselves on the back. I posted the exact same request on a Ford Diesel site and have no responses.
My project is in the EARLY planning stages, so if I need to put a brick ledge in the foundation wall, it is no problem.
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:24 AM
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Concrete block take longer to shrink, maybe about 8 to 10 years. I had a building in which we used a bearing wall with brick on the outside and 4" concrete block on the inside.

Brick on the other hand expand with age, but not as dramatically as the block shrink.

After about ten years the height of the block on the inside versus the brick on the outside had changed about one inch in an eight foot wall. (There was a running gap that meandered up and down the wall following the whims of the materials movement.)

As it happens a car ran into the building and pushed in a section and I got the shrinkage corrected for the building owner as a part of the repair and the insurance company took care of it.

This shrinking block and expanding brick was explained to me by an older Architect/ Engineer (one of the few people holding dual licenses) who I used to work for. It turned out that his firm suffered a very large loss because of the expanding brick tendency.....a characteristic that brick suppliers do not include in their advertising.

The block mfgrs don't mention the block shrinkage either.

It turns out some things are just learned the hard way.

Tom W
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:55 AM
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Tom,
Very interesting! Do you have any data on the TYPE of brick? I can understand that some brick will more readily absorb water than others, depending on the type of clay used, and the firing process. Some clays are very expansive. The firing process should stop that characteristic, but, may not.
Also from where (locale) were these bricks sourced?

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