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Identifying natural vs synthetic stone veneer


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The synthetic usually has a limited number of profiles before you start seeing the same one over. Look at the wall closely enough over large enough a section and you can usually spot the same stone a couple of more times.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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It's 5 years old Ben.

Mike, the photo show about half of the stone installed on this house.

I'll be writing up the total lack of weeps and flashing. There's likely only a single contractor that does these installs here and I doubt they read the manufacturer's specs.

Good thing I'm a TIJ member. That's the only way I'd know anything about this.

This house also had an expansion tank on the water heater. It's the only time I've seen one with my eyes in 9 years.

Wait a minute, did someone send Bubba down here???

Marc

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Look along the edges of the "stones" along straight areas like walls and corners. You can often seen where they cut or broke the end off revealing the concrete and aggregate mix. The color is fairly uniform. Seldom will you see a different color streak like the yellow blotch in an orange stone like in the upper left.

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It's 5 years old Ben.

Mike, the photo show about half of the stone installed on this house.

I'll be writing up the total lack of weeps and flashing.

As far as I know, adhered stone veneer installations (doesn't matter if they're real or faux stone) don't need weepholes. They are supposed to have sealant joints where the stone transitions to other materials, and the stone is supposed to be held up from grade at the ground and at paved surfaces. Those are usually the two recurring problems that I see. I usually don't pick on the portions of the installation that are installed under cover, though. If the area in your picture will never see rain, then I would concentrate on criticizing the area that will.

There's likely only a single contractor that does these installs here and I doubt they read the manufacturer's specs.

Good thing I'm a TIJ member. That's the only way I'd know anything about this.

This house also had an expansion tank on the water heater. It's the only time I've seen one with my eyes in 9 years.

Wait a minute, did someone send Bubba down here???

Carpetbagger Construction, LLC.

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If it is natural or synthetic, flashings and through wall flashings are always required if it is attached as a masonry veneer to wood frame. Grout is permiable and natural stone to a lesser degree will allow moisture to collect behind the system. Any cracks or gaps in the system will also allow water entry through the veneer.

Reference materials:

http://www.masonryveneer.org/pdf/Constr ... cifier.pdf

http://www.masonryveneer.org/pdf/MVMAMa ... _HiRes.pdf

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I've NEVER seen the stuff installed correctly. It's always below grade because that's more aesthetically pleasing. Too, the stone is always butted up against doors and windows, and the gaps are filled with mortar that invariably cracks and/or chips.

I don't even know how to approach it anymore. And please, no lectures.

I've had one client and one builder quiz large, reputable supply-firms and, both times, the positions were that I was wrong.

I continue to harp, but I don't think anyone will listen till the class action lawsuit occurs.

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Well, I changed my mind at the last minute. I recommended that it all (about 25 linear feet) be removed and re-installed in compliance with MVMA and local codes. The stone was shoulder to shoulder with brick veneer that had the weep holes, so why didn't the stone have the weeps? That's what the lawyers will be asking me when it hits the fan.

Fiber cement planks installed also. No flashing anywhere on any material on any wall surface. Ignorance defined.

Marc

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If it is natural or synthetic, flashings and through wall flashings are always required if it is attached as a masonry veneer to wood frame. Grout is permiable and natural stone to a lesser degree will allow moisture to collect behind the system. Any cracks or gaps in the system will also allow water entry through the veneer.

Reference materials:

http://www.masonryveneer.org/pdf/Constr ... cifier.pdf

http://www.masonryveneer.org/pdf/MVMAMa ... _HiRes.pdf

Adhered stone veneer installations must be installed with proper flashings, certainly. However the flashing details are nothing like those used with brick veneer. It's completely different system. The terms "weeps" (meaning weep holes) and "through-wall flashings" are related to brick veneer installations. Stone veneer flashing details are nearly identical to stucco installation details.

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. . . The stone was shoulder to shoulder with brick veneer that had the weep holes, so why didn't the stone have the weeps? That's what the lawyers will be asking me when it hits the fan. . .

And the answer is that brick veneer has an air space behind it that serves as a drainage plane. It's a rain screen system and it needs a combination of through-wall flashings and weep holes to drain properly.

Stone veneer is an *adhered* system. It should have a "weep screed" below it that serves a function similar to the combination of through wall flashing and weep holes in a brick veneer system.

The two systems are not the same, or even similar.

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. . . The stone was shoulder to shoulder with brick veneer that had the weep holes, so why didn't the stone have the weeps? That's what the lawyers will be asking me when it hits the fan. . .

And the answer is that brick veneer has an air space behind it that serves as a drainage plane. It's a rain screen system and it needs a combination of through-wall flashings and weep holes to drain properly.

Stone veneer is an *adhered* system. It should have a "weep screed" below it that serves a function similar to the combination of through wall flashing and weep holes in a brick veneer system.

The two systems are not the same, or even similar.

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I think the stone is using the same 5 1/2" shelf that the brick sits on elsewhere. I dunno if the stone is adhered or has a drainage plane with ties to the mortar. Remember, this contractor is bubba. He threw the rule book out the window on this job.

What do you think?

Marc

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. . . I think the stone is using the same 5 1/2" shelf that the brick sits on elsewhere. I dunno if the stone is adhered or has a drainage plane with ties to the mortar. Remember, this contractor is bubba. He threw the rule book out the window on this job.

What do you think?

It's adhered.

No matter what, the installation in your pictures is wrong and I don't see a problem with recommending that it be replaced.

In general, though, when you look at stone veneer, you should be looking for details that are essentially the same as stucco.

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Hi,

Agree with Jim. Before MVMA came out with their first set of guidelines in 2009 I used to use the stucco guide to make folks understand how these installs should be done.

Kurt, FWIW, I've been writing this stuff up almost daily for years. There is this one large development that started going in five years ago. When I started writing the stuff up back then there were no flashings, no weep screeds, no standoff from soil or hardscaping. I just kept criticizing it and telling clients to express dissatisfaction with it. Today, as that development goes into last phase, the veneer has weep screeds, is up off the hardscaping and grade, and has flashings at penetrations and above the veneer. Now If the danged contractor will finally start doing the veneer-to-window joints correctly they'll be there.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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If it is natural or synthetic, flashings and through wall flashings are always required if it is attached as a masonry veneer to wood frame. Grout is permiable and natural stone to a lesser degree will allow moisture to collect behind the system. Any cracks or gaps in the system will also allow water entry through the veneer.

Reference materials:

http://www.masonryveneer.org/pdf/Constr ... cifier.pdf

http://www.masonryveneer.org/pdf/MVMAMa ... _HiRes.pdf

Adhered stone veneer installations must be installed with proper flashings, certainly. However the flashing details are nothing like those used with brick veneer. It's completely different system. The terms "weeps" (meaning weep holes) and "through-wall flashings" are related to brick veneer installations. Stone veneer flashing details are nearly identical to stucco installation details.

Jim,

So we agree on most points. Yes they are different systems, and IMHO all systems must be installed with proper flashings, not just adhered stone veneer. My comments did not form a premise of whether the materials were natural stone or synthetic, since I was discussing both in general terms and discussing wood frame construction I believe my comments are correct.

You are correct that through wall flashings are mainly found in brick veneer. They are also commonly used in multiple-wythe masonry walls and typically serve the same purpose as a weep screed in plaster. Each flashing allows water to escape from a system be it a cavity or a drainage plane. In fact through wall flashings are used in three coat cement based plaster systems regularly. It all depends on the transitions between materials and location. Based on the conditions any type of flashing might be appropriate or inappropriate.

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There's very little stone veneer in these parts.

Can synthetic be discerned from natural just by looking at it?

Marc

Usually you can see small bubbles in the synthetic stones. They come from air bubbles in the mix when it was poured into the mold. Get up real close and use a magnifying glass if you have to. I can catch them with my bare eyes at about 1 foot away.

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Faux stone is cheap, real rock is expensive. [:)]

Faux stone seems to float magically in the air, and that is how we like it.

Faux stone cracks will appear right through the stone instead of following a mortar line.

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