A quick guide to choosing thin stone veneer

June 15, 2023

When it comes to renovating or building a home, there are endless materials to choose from. One of the most durable, versatile and beautiful options for interior or exterior finishing is stone veneer. Here’s what you need to know about the material as it continues to gain in popularity.

What is stone veneer?

At the most basic level, stone veneer is a thin slice of material that’s used decoratively on an exterior or interior surface, such as a rustic kitchen backsplash or as an elegant exterior façade.

What material is stone veneer?

Manufactured stone veneer is a type typically made from cement that’s mixed and molded with natural stone aggregates and iron oxides. It’s popular because it provides a convenient and affordable way to get an authentic-looking stone surface.

On the other hand, 100 per cent natural stone is very heavy and difficult to source, transport and install, and therefore an expensive and unrealistic choice.

Synthetic polymer or polyurethane faux stone veneer is also available, but it usually feels like plastic or foam and lacks the natural good looks and durability – and therefore value – of stone veneer made from aggregates.

8 things to consider when choosing stone veneer

Here are some helpful points to think about when choosing a stone veneer product that’s right for you.

Can it go inside or outside?

While some stone veneers, like Fusion Stone, can be used inside and out, some low-end products can only be used indoors. Make sure to use a product appropriate for exteriors if you’re installing it outside.

How do you install stone veneer?

Many brands require mortar for installation. An expert mason is often required for a quick and proper application of these adhered stone veneers.

Even if it’s do-it-yourself friendly, using mortar can get really messy, and it steals precious hours of your time as you wait for it to dry. Mortar must also be installed in mild, dry weather to ensure it bonds correctly.

A mechanically fastened stone veneer system that doesn’t use mortar can provide all the benefits of stone veneer without the fuss of mortar – you can do it without specialized knowledge and just a few standard tools.

If you’re in a location with lots of freeze-thaw temperature changes, a mortarless option is a smart idea for exterior projects – mortar is prone to cracking as temperatures vary, whereas stone veneer installed with clips and screws won’t have the same issue.

How much product will you need?

Stone veneer brands come in large or small panels, or individual stones. Be sure to measure the square footage you need to cover, and know that product amounts for the same square footage will vary depending on the company. Fusion Stone has a handy estimator and guide to determine what you need.

Does stone veneer last a long time?

Plastic or foam-like faux stone is unlikely to hold up, but good-quality manufactured stone veneer is incredibly durable.

For indicators of quality, check out how much maintenance is required (some brands require sealant), whether colouring is present throughout the stone or just on the surface and what warranty is provided.

What other materials go best with stone veneer?

Stone veneer looks fantastic on its own but it also pairs well with all sorts of other materials – especially natural or contrasting elements such as wood, metal and glass. A stone look complements just about any design – from cool and contemporary to rustic and cozy. It’s a way to bring style, even in small amounts.

Is stone veneer sustainable?

How eco-friendly stone veneer is will depend on the type and brand you choose. Look for LEED certification, use of recycled materials and sustainable practices by the manufacturing company, such as local sourcing and production.

Where can you buy stone veneer?

If you’re installing stone veneer yourself, make sure you can source the product from your hardware store. Some brands are only available wholesale or at certain specialty retailers.

Why Fusion Stone?

With a patented, mechanically fastened system, Fusion Stone cuts out dry time and specialized masonry work to make the luxury of stone accessible for anyone. The product offers a lifetime warranty and is maintenance-free.

Fusion stone is available at all major building centres including Lowes, Home Depot and Home Hardware.

Check out our FAQs to learn more.