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Has anybody used natural thin stone veneer (NTSV) on their log home (fireplace or exterior)?  I'm wondering how well it holds up, expense compared to cultured stone, and weight.  I'd like to use NTSV on our fireplace - using a wood burning zero clearance insert for a fireplace that will be placed near the center of the house - so going all the way up to the cathedral ceiling (main level to the top of loft).  I was hoping that the weight of NTSV would be light enough where we wouldn't need a footer in the basement (where we'd like to put the garage).  Anyone have experience or personal knowledge of this?  I'd like to NOT have to go with cultured stone, but may need to warm up to it - no offense to anyone, it's just a personal preference.

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Thin stone is real stone,

Depending on where you are located, real stone veneer can be priced about the same or less as the higher quality cultured stone.

I prefer real stone.

I hand picked mine over the course of about 2 years (about 1" - 1 1/2" thick), but have not applied it yet (foundation and wainscot around front door).

Thin stone veneer generally can be used where cultured stone veneer is used and does not need brick ledge of larger footings.  Regular stone veneer is different, its thicker.

I like the natural stone as well. Talk to an architect, your question is a loaded one :)

I do love real stone.  When I first researched NSTV it seemed like a no-brainer, but my project manager (who is trying to keep our budget in mind) emailed about the footings and special floor engineering.  He may or may not understand about the thin veneer.  I thought I would do my homework first by asking in the forums and visiting a local stone yard that carries it.  Shanny - you had mentioned not applying it yet.. is there any special treatment you need while holding off?  Perhaps allowing the 1"-1 1/2" room for it when applied later?  This will most likely be the scenario for our walk-out basement.  For now, I need to think about that fireplace - I'd really like it in it's proposed spot, but if the stone will be too heavy, the expense and the location (basement footing) may change the location or what we end up putting on the fireplace.  Thanks all for your input!

I am not a mason, or professional, but what I did for my wainscot area was determine how high I wanted the stone to go, and made a drip edge that is about 2" secured it to the wall the height i wanted the stone to go, and cedar shingled on top of this. Under the drip edge I just secured plywood and painted it brown until I am ready to do the stone accent. I will then cover it with felt paper, secure metal stucco lath and adhere the thin stone with mortar to lath mortar bed.  Your architect might be thinking regular stone veneer which is 4" thick or so, for this you need brick ledge or angle iron, air space for moisture.  With thin stone you can apply it just like cultured stone, directly to the wall surface.  Generally it weighs about 10 lbs. Or so a square foot, so it can be adhered to regular walls.  As far as foundations, there are several options, but I did over hang my structure a bit to accommodate for this when I get to it.

I have seen projects where they have mortared thin stone directly to cement block fireplaces with very nice, just like thin brick or cultured stone.

I don't know where you are located, but I would shop around too.  I have seen some fieldstone thin stone for as little as 7.00 a square foot up to over 20.00.

Wouldn't you know it, the thin veneer I liked (Bitterroot) is $14 sq ft ($26.50 linear ft for corners).  The fireplace isn't against a wall, so the stone needs to go on all sides - adding up price and more importantly, weight.  It is 15 lbs sq ft.  With all 4 sides going up past the loft to the cathedral ceiling - I think it will require a footer in the basement.  Adding to that price, the main problem is that footer is where we need to park our car in the basement garage.  Sigh, I think I need to consider cultured stone.

It depends a lot on your location and type of stone.  If you have a lot of freeze thaw and then warm summers, it can expand and contract the stone and break it apart.  We were just talking the other day about a big name architect using slate for sidewalks in the city and they're already breaking apart because of the freeze thaw. 

For a thin stone, you're likely looking at a sedimentary type of stone, which is going to lend itself to that type of damage. 

We did not build our log home, but it does have "stone" veneer on it - one of the 'fake' stone products that's really a low aggregate stained and formed concrete by Owens Corning.  It's nice, but not what I'd do.

As shanny mentioned, a lot of cost depends on location.

Due to a lot of the above concerns, we use cast stone a lot on projects.  It is stone, but it's artificially made and can be shaped however you want.  However because of this, it can be thin for the application you're looking at without the fear of splitting.

-from an architect.

Speaking of slate, people are starting to use reclaimed roofing slate for siding.   Up our way it has always been a siding material on university buildings (dormers) and lasts for decades as a siding with no maintenance. I have been seriously thinking about doing some of this on the higher areas (gables etc.).

Greentstone slate co., mottled purple / reasonably priced (nice)  in VT....I love architecture and organic building materials;I believe these slates are installed in their track rail system.  Of course slate is brittle and if you got kids who throw baseballs wildly...then it might not be so good.  But for people who don't want to climb ladders to scrape and stain etc., this is a great option for accenting high gables or dormer sidewalls.

I love the idea of this - yes, repurpose when possible!  No wild baseballs, I may look into something like this for the foundation siding.

Yes...I have thought of that too. 

Also thought of bark shingles, but they are very pricey.

For more good ideas, check out some of the photos of this summer house designed by Dimitris Philippitzis.  Beautiful stonework , design and application of rustic wood.  This stonework could be duplicated with cultured stone.  Also if you look close, not only are the roof shingles stone but I believe the soffits are too.


Oh, and I saw your question about "what to expect from an architect" but the thread was closed for replies. 

FYI, it's like any other profession, like a doctor for example - it depends on the person.  Architects typically charge a percentage of construction cost, and can for residential work provide engineered drawings in some states.  Some will go through the motions to earn a paycheck and may even copy designs from one client to another.  Others view themselves as artists and want to provide a unique design for each client.

The way I explain it (as our firm is often undercut by "low bid" architects and we're typically higher) is that a GOOD architect will earn his fee in savings to your project.  If you're building a $200K home, and hire an architect for $10K, a good one will provide a more efficient floor plan and better use of materials that should save you over $10K in construction costs, and even more than that over the life of the building by using better materials which require less maintenance and better designed systems. 

Thanks for your input, you are right in your explanation.  The reason I closed the thread is because our situation & architect is a bit different than the norm and we got it all figured out.


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