Magazine article Sunset

Sly Stone: Today's New Faux Veneers Are Surprisingly Realistic and Versatile

Magazine article Sunset

Sly Stone: Today's New Faux Veneers Are Surprisingly Realistic and Versatile

Article excerpt

Stone veneer has always been a cheaper alternative to the real stuff. The problem was that it looked like it. But thanks to new casting techniques, manufacturers can now replicate in concrete the textures, shapes, and colors of real stone with exacting detail. Add to that a wide variety of styles and easier installation and you get a rock-solid alternative to traditional masonry.

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It's no wonder, then, that the latest stone veneers are appearing in new communities like the Sentinels at Santaluz in Southern California (http://sentinelsat santaluz.com), where a hacienda look was desired. Veneers are also appropriate for remodeling, as the photo on this page shows.

To guarantee these stone veneers offer an impressive range of realistic rock shapes, manufacturers assemble a master set of real stones from which they cast the veneer. Such a set typically offers many different rock shapes within a 150-square-foot area before a stone shape is repeated.

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Finishing touches

Other details complete the illusion of real masonry. For example, the edges and corners of stone-veneer walls need specialty pieces--such as trim stones and L-shaped corner pieces called quoins.

There are three major grouting styles. Dry-stack, or groutless, does not reveal visible grout lines and makes the assemblage look as if the stones were carefully stacked and held together by their own weight. Standard raked grout reveals a narrow band of tooled grout that recedes slightly from the surface plane of the stone. Over-grouted lets some of the grout spill over onto the surface of the stone to create the popular Tuscan look.

While employing faux stone in major construction is a dramatic use of the new material, it's also possible to use it for a fireplace or accent wall.

Resources

Coronado Stone Products: www.coronado.com or (800) 847-8663.

Cultured Stone: www.culturedstone.com or (800) 255-1727.

Eldorado Stone: www.eldoradostone.com or (800) 925-1491.

Tejas Textured Stone: www.tejasstone.com or (866) 578-5616.

RELATED ARTICLE: The case for faux stone

* Costs less than real stone. Veneer is sold by the box or by the pallet. Depending on style, it runs between $3.95 and $6 per square foot uninstalled. Labor varies with region, size, and type of job. An experienced mason could charge between $14 and $17 per square foot for installation.

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* Easier to install. Veneers have flat backs that allow speedy installation onto a wide range of vertical surfaces. …

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