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A detailed guide on the installation of natural stone siding

Stone siding is one of the best choices for a natural or rustic home exterior. You can use it on your entire house or add it as an accent to boost your curb appeal. A 2022 Cost and Value report estimated that installing a continuous portion of manufactured stone veneer at the bottom of your home’s exterior is one of the top improvements for resale value. You can expect to recoup about 91.4% of your investment – with an average installation cost of $11.066 and a boost in home sales price by $10.109. If you're ready to invest in this posh siding option, continue reading this buying guide. By the end of the article, you will learn about the average costs of stone siding, its advantages, maintenance requirements, and types.

A detailed guide on the installation of natural stone siding

Things you must investigate before stone siding installation

Stone siding is a type of interior and exterior covering for a building that is made to look like stone. Stone siding can be made out of processed natural stone or from manmade materials like concrete, PVC, polyurethane, or cement. Real stone siding made from natural stone is more durable, sustainable, and resistant to weathering than imitation stone siding. Artificial stone siding tends to be more economical and easier to install.

The types of stone siding and their distinctive features

Stone siding comes in a variety of different building materials, shapes, sizes, densities, and weights. The type of siding you choose for your home siding depends on your construction scope and budget. 

  • Natural stone siding

Natural stone siding is the most expensive form of stone siding and the most durable and low-maintenance. It involves large, whole pieces of stone which tend to be heavy. making the installation process difficult and long. It is different from natural stone cladding which involves larger slabs of stone attached to a substrate (such as masonry or drywall) in a staggered pattern rather than laying individual stones vertically on a wall.

  • Stacked stone siding

Stacked stones are usually stacked horizontally to create a layered and textured effect for both interior and exterior spaces. Stacked stone siding can vary in cost depending on whether you use natural stone or synthetic stone.

  • Faux stone siding

Faux stone siding is made of synthetic materials like polyurethane to mimic the look of real stone at a lower cost. This siding is usually high-density and lighter than natural stone. Faux stone siding is also available in panels or slabs rather than whole “stones,” which tend to be lighter and better suited for DIY installations and home improvement projects.

  • Manufactured stone siding

Manufactured stone siding, also called cultured stone siding, is a man-made stone siding that comes in a variety of colors and shades that have the look of individual stones. This process involves using molds to create the look of individual stones out of concrete. It is also a cost-effective stone siding option.

  • Mortarless stone siding

Mortarless stone sidings can be installed without mortar or grout, giving your stone wall a neat and panelized look.

The types of stones that are used for stone siding

Here are seven different types of natural stone to consider for a stylish home exterior. The type of stone can also limit color availability.

  • Granite. For a speckled, natural look, granite is a top choice stone. As one of the hardest stones on the market, granite is known for its extreme durability. It offers a lovely appearance flecked with colors, widely available in pink, white, and variations of gray and black. The swirled grainy appearance can be left in its natural rough state or polished to create a sleek and smooth surface.
  • Limestone. Limestone is an ideal choice for exterior cladding because it weathers nicely over time and gives the siding character. It is easily sculpted to fit any aesthetic, and its light coloring offers a unique elegance and bright appearance.
  • Quartzite. Similar to marble in its appearance and durability, quartzite can add a touch of high-end style and the appearance of luxury to your home. If well-maintained, quartzite can last years and stay in excellent condition. It has a slightly reflective property that gently sparkles in the light. It can be found in an array of colors, including gray, white, blue, pink, purple, and brown.
  • Flint. Flint has maintained popularity since its early use in England due to its durability and longevity. It can easily be cut and arranged for a unique look. Today, flint is primarily sold in solid hues such as black, gray, tan, and blue.
  • Sandstone. Widely popular in sunny climates, sandstone has a reflective quality that creates a unique appearance. It can easily be cut into any desired style. Sandstone is also available in a wide variety of colors ranging from neutrals to bold hues, including but not limited to white, orange, yellow, pink, and purple.

Tips to upkeep natural stone siding

If you already have natural stone siding or have recently installed it, you might wonder how to care for and maintain it. The good news is that natural stone siding care is minimal as it is virtually maintenance-free, but we wanted to share these practices to keep your stone siding looking great. 

  • Regular inspections. A few times a year, inspect your siding to look for signs of damaged stones. Natural stone is very rugged and durable, but it can be damaged by impact or loosened by intense vibrations. If you find any cracks, apply a small amount of mortar to the crack that has formed around your stone. While wearing a latex glove, smooth the mortar with a damp finger to work it into the cracks and create a smooth, finished surface. Allow the repairs to dry overnight and inspect, reapplying if drying has opened the gap again. If cracks continue to be a problem, consult a professional.
  • Cleaning. For natural stone cleaning, simply fill a bucket with warm water and add a little vinegar or dish soap to create a mild cleaning solution. Scrub the stones with a sponge or a soft bristle brush that has been moistened with your cleaning solution to remove any stubborn dirt. Finally, rinse your natural stone thoroughly with water to ensure no soapy residue remains.

Downsides and benefits of natural stone siding

Every building material has advantages and disadvantages, depending on your application. Here, we look at some of the pros and cons of natural stone cladding to help you decide if it’s a suitable material for your project.

The pros of natural stone calling include: 

  • The natural beauty
  • Its extreme durability and long lifespan
  • The extensive range of stone types, colors, and formats
  • Complimentary to other materials such as concrete and timber
  • Offers various finish options to suit applications
  • Provides a high level of insulation
  • Can be used for a variety of applications, indoors or out
  • It is weather and fire resistant
  • Can be scratch and abrasion resistant
  • May increase the value of your home
  • Easy to maintain long-term

The cons of natural stone calling include: 

  • Requires a structural substrate
  • Can be labor-intensive and time-consuming to install
  • A more expensive material than some cladding products
  • Needs to be sealant for protection
  • The use of strong cleaning products may damage the surface
  • Can trap moisture behind the material if poorly installed
  • Best installed by a professional rather than a DIY project

How much does natural stone siding cost?

Installing an exterior stone veneer can up the value of your home while giving the neighborhood some serious eye candy. The beauty of a stone is undeniable, and its durability is unparalleled. The average total cost to install stone siding will be an average of $72 to $92 per square foot, which adds up to $87,500 to $125,000 for a 2,500-square-foot home. The materials used to create the siding will impact the overall cost, as will any additional features you decide on, such as weather-resistant coating and masonry mortar. 

Materials

Natural stone tends to be expensive, so take that into account as you budget. Real stone will cost around $42 per square foot, though this price will fluctuate depending on the kind of rocks you are sourcing. Slate and basalt will be your cheapest options, at $4.50 to $10 and $7 to $11 per square foot, respectively. Limestone will cost anywhere from $20 to $28 per square foot. Granite comes in at $15 to $30 per square foot. 

Labor

Labor will cost around $100 to $150 per hour, with an average price of $3 to $15 per square foot. The cost of hiring a professional siding contractor will vary depending on the material type, with faux stone panels needing the least amount of labor and solid stone requiring the most. Faux stone panels will cost $3 to $5 per square foot, the stone cladding will cost $5 to $10 per square foot, and natural stone will cost $9 to $15 per square foot.

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