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AAA Q&A

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FULL VENEER AND THIN VENNER STONE?

AAA Natural Stone has full veneer stone which is generally 3.5"-5.5" inches in thickness, and this material is sold by the ton. We also offer a thin veneer product which is 1.25"-.1.5" in thickness and is sold by the square footage. Thin veneer is sold as both flats and corners. Thin veneer corners give the appearance of a full veneer installation and are sold by the lineal foot. Deciding which material works best for your project is generally dictated by the brick ledge and/or the preference of your installer.

Click any of the files below to download the PDF

Thin Stone Veneer - Technical Information Guide

Thin Stone Veneer - Installation Guide

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MANUFACTURED STONE AND NATURAL THIN VENEER?

Manufactured Stone (also known as cast stone, faux stone, manufactured stone) is a man-made product using cement, aggregates and pigmented dyes. These materials are mixed together and poured into molds to mimic the shape and colors of natural stone.

Common Misconceptions and Questions

"Manufactured Stone is cheaper than Natural Stone." - FALSE

Manufactured Stone manufacturers invest a great deal of money into convincing the average consumer that their product is less expensive than real stone. Most every Natural Stone veneer product is comparable in pricing to the fake, or manufactured stone. Manufactured stone uses vast amounts of environmentally damaging additives and fillers, not to mention the cost of processing molds and manufacturing costs. Natural stone is an extremely green building product and requires nothing more than processing the material on a saw to reduce the weight of the stone - while still maintaining its natural beauty and unique attributes.

"Manufactured Stone looks just like Natural Stone." - FALSE

While there have been great advances in the manufacturing of Manufactured Stone, Natural Stone Veneer is still visibly superior. From a distance, many people may not be able to distinguish between fake stone and real stone; however, if you take a closer look, MOST people will notice the difference. Natural stone will ALWAYS have variations in shape, color and texture - creating a truly unique appearance. Manufactured stone will have identical shaped "stones" and colors because the product is manufactured in molds using artificial colors and dyes. Additionally, Manufactured stone generally does not exhibit the beautiful variation in textures that Natural stone will display.

"Manufactured Stone is just as durable as Natural Stone." - FALSE

Natural stone has been used for building structures from the beginning of recorded civilization. Castles built of stone are still standing CENTURIES later and display an aged patina on the surface. While Natural stone does fade some over time, generally you will not notice the fading in your lifetime. Because Manufactured stone achieves its color from artificial dyes, regular sunlight and UV exposure will fade the pigments in this man-made material. In addition, Manufactured Stone has a concrete-aggregate inside - this is important to note because any chipping or nicks of the material will reveal the concrete on the inside of the "stone". In comparison, Natural stone is often chipped and tooled on the jobsite during installation for a more custom-look. You cannot process Manufactured Stone in this manner due to its artificial composition.

To recap, the chart below will demonstrate why Natural Stone remains the preferred material over Manufactured Stone.

Why Choose Natural Stone?

Natural stone is held in high regard as a premier building material because it reflects unique character, stability, and grandeur. Variations in natural stone's broad range of color, pattern, and texture are visually interesting and impossible to replicate. And, because it comes from the earth, from eco-friendly compositions, it is a natural choice.

Variety

The diversity of natural stone products encourages limitless design potential. Aesthetically, what you do with stone is as varied as your imagination. Its many factors in the way stone formed within the Earth contribute to its varieties and enhance the creativity it provides - something that cannot be duplicated in a laboratory or come from a mold.

Durability

Natural stone exhibits a durability not found in other building materials. There is an emotional connection to buildings and monuments built in stone that carries a great deal of meaning due to enduring history and a legacy of mankind through the ages.

Green Attributes

Natural stone products like those created in granite, marble, limestone, slate and sandstone, among others possess innate characteristics that contribute toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or LEED intended construction. Consider stone's low embodied energy, ready availability as a naturally occurring material - often locally (within a 500 mile radius of the project), no off-gases to impair indoor air quality, high thermal capacitance, and exceptional durability for low maintenance and structural permanence. Using natural stone for your projects shows that you care about the environment and consciously strive to preserve it. See more below.

Unique

Design projects should stand out and reflect the passion, taste, and personality of the designer. Natural stone is a one-of-a-kind building material that sets you apart from others because it can't be mimicked, manufactured, or faked.

Value

The value in natural stone is more than a monetary measure. It involves longevity, ease of maintenance, permanence and stability that far exceed initial investment. Utilizing natural stone is now more affordable than ever due to advancing stone quarrying and processing technology that has improved efficiency over the years. New automated machinery allows fabricators to cut natural stone thinner, faster, more consistently and at less cost than in times past. Development of anchoring technologies and systems make installation easier, quicker, and more secure. In addition, natural stone is simple to care for, has an appearance that literally improves with age and can last a lifetime.

STONE FACTS

LIMESTONE

This grain stone has a very uniform texture and grade, and has gained worldwide acceptance as a premier dimension stone. Limestone weathers naturally over time and its color mellows and blends into a pleasing natural patina. With no artificial coloring agents to fade and no reinforcement rods to rust, the appearance of limestone actually improves with age.

Limestone exhibits no preferential direction of splitting and can be cut and carved in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Thus, it can be sawed, planed, turned on a lathe or hand worked to match the requirements of demanding architectural designs. Limestone has proven its use from simple treads and pavers to landscaping structures and bridges, to soaring cathedrals over and over again.

One benefit that has made limestone a choice product is the consistency of deposit. While subtle color and grain differences are present, limestone is extremely homogenous for a natural product. This is important, not only for the current project being built, but particularly when future expansions are contemplated.

For more Limestone properties and use:

http://www.genuinestone.com/about_limestone.php

Limestone Material Fact Sheet

Download

Limestone Life Cycle Inventory

Download

For more information on Limestone, please search Limestone in the BSI Member Directory (link) and BSI Online Buyers' Guide (link) for specific Limestone suppliers. And, visit the Indiana Limestone Institute website www.iliai.com

SANDSTONE

Composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock grains, most sandstone is composed of quartz and feldspar - two of the most common minerals in the earth's crust. Like sand, it can be any color, but most commonly comes in tan, brown, yellow, red, gray and white.

The stone generally has a uniform texture and it is somewhat soft, making it user-friendly for a variety of applications. It is favored for wall claddings and flooring because of its low absorption rate, high compression strength, and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

For more on Sandstone properties and use:

http://www.genuinestone.com/about_sandstone.php

Sandstone Material Fact Sheet

Download

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

Download

For more information on Sandstone, please search Sandstone in the BSI Member Directory (link) and BSI Online Buyers' Guide (link) for specific Sandstone suppliers.

7 Ways to Use Natural Stone to Increase Your Home's Value


4-10" Cottage Cream Blend (AAA Natural Stone Thin Veneer)

4-10" Cottage Cream Blend (AAA Natural Stone Thin Veneer)


Spring has officially arrived, as has the busy real estate season. First impressions count if you have your house on the market. Even if you're not selling your home, you might be wondering what updates or upgrades will increase the value of your home.

Many homeowners might pause at the cost of natural stone compared to other materials. What they don't always consider is that not only does natural stone add more value to a home, its longevity is unmatched. "Stone does not break down and can stand the test of time. Stone features are there for the long haul, which you cannot say for other materials," says Jan Johnsen, co-principal of Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, a design/project management firm and author of The Spirit of Stone.

Our experts share seven ways that natural stone can help boost your home's value at any budget, both indoors and outdoors.

 

Using Natural Stone in Your Home's Exterior

 

3-10" Rubble Tuscan Blend (AAA Natural Stone Thin Veneer)

3-10" Rubble Tuscan Blend (AAA Natural Stone Thin Veneer)

 

1. Wide Stone Walk to Front Door. Wide walks accent the front of a house and make it appear more stately, says Johnsen.

2. Limestone Details. While limestone may be more expensive than brick or other common materials, it will always add more value and more than pay for itself, according to Derek DiSera, a real estate broker with @Properties in Chicago. He recommends using limestone pavers to create walkways and steps, or adding limestone to windowsills, crown moldings, or front stairs. "All of these have a timeless appeal and a much wider appeal to most buyers," he says.

 

Photo courtesy of Vaughn DeWitt.

Photo courtesy of Vaughn DeWitt.

 

3. Stone Paving to Backyard Patio. The durability of stone, coupled with its authentic appeal, makes stone paving a desirable feature for outdoor living and definitely a plus to a potential buyer.

4. A Low Stone Wall. For those on a budget, a low stone wall around two sides of a corner of the rear patio creates a "sheltered corner" where people can congregate, which is very inviting and changes the look of the backyard.

 

Using Natural Stone in Your Home's Interior

 

As one would expect, most of the projects indoors involve the kitchen and bath. A complete overhaul isn't required to increase a home's value. DiSera often visits tile stores with his clients to pick out materials that will help increase resale value.

"Whether they plan on selling immediately or not, it's always best to bring someone objective that can give you a sense of the marketability of any of the choices they are going to make," he says. Choosing the right materials could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars in resale value.

 

All photos courtesy of Plymouth Quarries. (AAA NATURAL STONE)

 

Lexington natural thin stone veneer.(AAA NATURAL STONE)

Lexington natural thin stone veneer. (AAA NATURAL STONE)

 

If you are in the construction business, I'm sure you are always asking yourself how you can take what you do and make it better - whether it's installation, developing new products and techniques, or finding more efficient ways to get the job done. We have to keep up with the times, and time seems to be moving quickly. Natural thin stone veneer is not new to the market, but it has been growing at a very rapid pace. If you are in the stone industry, you know about all the uses and applications of natural thin stone veneer. If you're not in the industry or the construction field, then there is probably a lot you don't know. For those of you who are not familiar with natural thin stone veneer, here is a quick introduction.

 

Tuscan Blend Natural Stone Veneer

Tuscan Blend Natural Stone Veneer

 

Natural thin stone veneer is real stone cut to approximately one inch thickness, weighing no more than fifteen pounds per square foot. This is important because it enables your contractor the ability to install stone without building a block or concrete base that has to support the weight of a full bed stone. Full bed veneers are stones that range from four to six inches and are used in any vertical application. They can weigh up to fifty-five pounds per square foot, which is a lot of weight to support. This is one of the reasons why natural thin stone veneer has become so popular. Another great thing about natural thin stone veneer is most products have corner pieces, which means if the job is done right it should look just like a full bed veneer.

The options of color and cut have increased dramatically with the growth of the business and with more players coming into the marketplace. The cut is very important in your design, so let's break it down.

 

"Ashwood Blend Squares & Recs 3-8" (AAA Natural Stone Veneer)

"Ashwood Blend Squares & Recs 3-8" (AAA Natural Stone Veneer)

 

Round: These are natural shaped round and ovals that have a balance of size. They're great for that old farm look or for Oceanside communities. Farm walls or country fireplaces are a very desirable look, especially in the northeast and mountain areas.

Square and Rectangular: This cut enables you to get an excellent ratio of size which is a plus for larger applications. It's a great choice for a classic "old world" look.

Rectangular: This is rustic or a finely cut shape; a very universal cut that can be used in most applications large and small. It has a balance of size but not as dramatic as the square and rectangular.

Ledge Cut: Ledge cuts are smaller in width two to four inches and have varying lengths. If used alone they can create a "stacked" look and are an excellent choice for contemporary designs.

Mosaic Cut: This is a cut with points and angular shapes that have a mix of large, medium, and small sizes. Mosaic is another great option for larger areas where you can show the contrast of the shapes and size.

One last point on cut: you don't have to be married to just one. Some of the best stone work has a mix of all cuts, so if you are bold in your design, mix it up!

 

3-10" Rubble Mission Blue (AAA Natural Stone Thin Veneer)

3-10" Rubble Mission Blue (AAA Natural Stone Thin Veneer)

 

Let's talk about application. To make it simple, I use this rule: "Masonry on Masonry." Natural thin stone veneer cannot be applied to wood, drywall, or any other surface that is not masonry. It must have some kind of moisture barrier, unless being applied to a solid concrete surface. The mortar mixes you use to set the stone is also very important. There are a lot of great products on the market that are made for thin stone installation. Some are premixed mortars with everything you need in the mix. There are also different types of fortifiers on the market that are used to mix in the mortar to give them a stronger bond and more flex for changes in temperature and moisture. Most natural thin stone veneer suppliers will have all this information in their brochures and on their websites. The more you educate yourself on the stone, cuts, and installation the better off you will be. When you hire your contractor, you will have enough information to ask the right questions, get the look you want, and save you and your contractor a lot of leg work.

When you incorporate stone in any type of construction, whether it's commercial, residential, inside, or outside, nothing can compare to real natural stone. Rustic, high end, contemporary, or something in between, natural stone is a must for any design and natural thin stone veneer can make any job happen.

 

Why Build Green?

Constructing buildings in an environmentally-considerate way requires careful thought and planning. However, the payback from a green building far outweighs this price. Conventional building practices consume large quantities of energy and water, while generating excessive air emissions and waste streams; these impacts are also caused by product manufacturing. Moreover, indoor air quality can be impaired when unhealthy building materials are employed.

Implementing green building techniques reduces impacts on the environment and human health during both construction and operation of a structure, as well as during production of building materials. If this harm is not reason enough to build responsibly, consider the financial aspect. Resource consumption and medical care can become expensive for the builder, the material manufacturer, and the employer of those working in the structure.

 

The Natural Stone Industry's Sustainability Standard:

After many years, and a great investment of time and resources, the natural stone industry is able to tell the world about its sustainability standard.  This standard will assure architects, landscape architects, designers, contractors, owners and others that there is verifiable data to compare natural stone with other competitive products in this rapidly changing green building environment.

The purpose of the Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone is to recognize sustainability practices in the natural stone industry - practices many members already follow but don't document or promote. This voluntary standard will eventually give quarries and primary processing plants the ability to certify their operations (and subsequently their stones) as sustainable. Third party verification of conformance to a set of well-defined environmental, ecological, social responsibility and human health metrics will be required. To date, the stone industry has not been able to compete on a level playing field with other industries that already have a standard like this in place such as wood, tile and carpet.

In collaboration with the Natural Stone Council and Ecoform, NSF International (NSF) convened a Standards Committee for development of an American National Standard for the sustainable development aspects of dimensional stone production. The Standards Committee reviewed Public Comments for action in accordance with accepted ANSI criteria.  Designated as NSC 373, the Standard is intended to offer the following benefits to the stone industry:

  • Establish a set of well-defined environmental and human health metrics recognized by the green building movement as an indicator of leadership sustainability performance.
  • Provide an important opportunity to educate key members of the green building movement, government, and environmental advocacy groups about the production of stone products.
  • Create a mechanism that rewards natural stone companies that demonstrate environmental leadership through commitment to sustainable operations and continued innovation.
  • Proactively address potential stone-related environmental and human health concerns in a multi-stakeholder, science based forum (i.e. radon, dust, etc.).
  • Harmonize national and international environmental requirements for stone quarrying and production.
  • Encourage transparent chain of custody reporting in support of LEED credits
  • Create parity between stone and other competitive products covered by existing certification programs.

This Standard defines Environmentally Preferable Manufacturing Practices (EPMP's) for the quarrying and manufacture of dimensional stone products, and establishes baseline requirements for EPMP's applicable to all stone manufacturers and processors. Specifically, the standard defines criteria that consider the social, environmental, and human health impacts associated with the dimensional, natural stone product life-cycle including but not limited to the quarrying and manufacturing life-cycle stages. Because stone is quarried in countries around the world, the scope of the standard includes both North American and International quarries and processing facilities, and considers logistics and transportation issues during criteria development. The standard will assist in the determination of whether a dimensional stone product has been produced and transported in an environmentally preferable manner consistent with the principles of sustainability.

The standard focuses on North American based stone products and operations, but is developed with the participation and cooperation of the international stone community and is the basis for expanding to a proposed international-based ISO certification. Criteria define both environmentally preferable products and stone production operations.

We can especially do our part to contribute to responsible building by providing materials that have been quarried and processed in an environmentally-conscious manner. Further, we are exploring the implications of natural stone application during the use phase and beyond, particularly with regard to durability, solar reflectance, and salvage and reuse. This work addresses the entire life-cycle of natural stone, substantiating on a holistic level the position of natural stone as a green building material.

 

Implementing Best Practices:

Water Consumption, Treatment, and Reuse.

Water management is integral to achieving sustainable practices and is increasingly becoming a high priority in any industry. This is due to new and existing water resources becoming more scarce in many regions throughout the world; per capita water consumption is increasing annually; water and sewer rates have increased significantly over the last decade (100-400%); and new water supply options are too costly or even unavailable. There is also the growing recognition of the water, energy, and operations and maintenance savings that can be realized through the implementation of water saving strategies. Read Best Practice: Water Consumption

 

Site Maintenance and Quarry Closure:

Extracting stone can be an arduous endeavor that affects the local ecosystem and community on a number of levels. Not unlike any development (commercial, residential, government, etc.), quarry operations can greatly modify landscape and topography, can impact wildlife populations, and require supplemental quantities of water and energy. Additionally, potential occupational health and safety risks may exist for quarry employees, and local residents may experience noise and vibrations. Responsible site maintenance, however, can make a remarkable difference in the magnitude of these impacts. Read Best Practice: Site Maintenance and Quarry Closure

 

Solid Waste Management:

Solid waste management is a fundamental component to any manufacturing or production enterprise. The natural stone industry is unique in that the majority of its solid waste stream is its raw material. It is estimated that 175 million tons of quarrying waste are produced each year,1 and although a portion of this waste may be utilized on-site, such as for excavation pit refill or berm construction, it is often difficult to find a use for all scrap stone and fines produced. Coupling this with the industry's other waste streams, such as heavy equipment, wastewater sludge, and general site trash, it is necessary that every operation in the natural stone industry develop and abide by a waste management plan.

Through implementation of a proactive waste management strategy; unnecessary fines, occupational exposure and environmental degradation can be avoided. Additionally, opportunity exists for companies to distinguish themselves as a socially responsible and environmentally considerate operation. This document provides approaches to achieve such practices at a quarry or fabrication facility. Read Best Practice: Solid Waste Management

 

Transportation:

Implementing transportation management promotes shipment efficiency, ultimately minimizing negative impacts to the environment and reducing costs. A comprehensive and proactive transport strategy can also improve carrier-shipper relations and enhance the quarry or processing facility's repute for social responsibility. In fact, a FedEx transportation benchmark study demonstrated that higher customer service level and lower transport expenses were seen in companies with a strategic transportation plan (Younkin 2006). Read Best Practice: Transportation

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