Stone Veneer Backsplash

Stone veneer backsplash are really stone at half the weight. They are beautiful, natural, come in many colors and textures, and require little maintenance. It is a facing applied to a surface for decorative purposes; and less so to be used to bear loads. A complement to any kitchen is a stone veneer backsplash, an affordable and elegant product that dresses out the cabinet area in style. There are two common types of stone veneer backsplash: natural stone veneer backsplash and manufactured stone veneer backsplash.

Natural Stone Veneer Backsplash

Stone Veneer BacksplashNatural stone veneer backsplash, also referred to as stacked stone, it may not be the best material as it is quite expensive and very time consuming in installation. This is because natural stone is heavy and the weight of the stone veneer can become a major issue. It can be problematic as it can be heavy enough that it requires structural support. It is recommended that before installing natural stone veneer as a backsplash, you must prep your walls according the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the product weight and the type of wall you’re installing it on, you may need to install special footings, wall casings, underlayment or wall ties to support the weight of the natural stone veneer backsplash.

Natural stone veneers used to cost much more than manufactured veneers because of their thickness and weight. The older, traditional full bed-depth veneers are four to six inches deep and are sold by the ton. A ledge or shelf must be attached to a structure to support these heavy cut stones and a professional mason with special tools is required to install them properly. More efficient technology has made it affordable to produce natural thin veneers ranging from 5/8 inch to 1 1/2 inches thick at a price almost comparable to that of manufactured veneers. Both manufactured and natural thin veneers must weigh 15 pounds or less per square foot to meet building codes.

Manufactured Stone Veneer BacksplashManufactured Stone Veneer Backsplash

For kitchen backsplashes, it is recommended using manufactured stone veneer, made from cement and aggregate stone. Unlike natural stone veneer backsplash, manufactured stone veneer backsplash is a lightweight product that doesn’t require any special wall prepping beyond surface cleaning and making sure the wall is structurally sound. Manufactured stone veneer comes in panels that are 6 inches by 24 inches; are less than 2 inches thick; and have interlocking ends that provide the staggered, individual stacked-stone look.

Manufactured stone (also known as architectural stone, cultured stone and faux stone) is made of lightweight cement mixed with stone aggregates like shale or pumice and iron oxide dyes. It comes in myriad colors, shapes, and textures designed to mimic practically any natural stone, including limestone, field stone, river rock, ledge, rubble, granite, sandstone, and quartzite. Manufactured veneers used to look fake and were prone to fading and cracking, but today’s products can be nearly indistinguishable from the real thing on the surface. Major manufacturers guarantee their product for 50 years.

Installing Stone Veneer Backsplash

Many manufactured and natural thin veneer backsplashes can be installed by homeowners themselves. Some manufacturers post installation guides on their websites and recommend that you review them carefully before starting. It is critical to do what is right the first time. Stone veneer backsplashes are very low maintenance and only need to be sealed if exposed to extreme temperatures or a lot of snow.

To install these stone veneer backsplash, you need a clean dry surface. It must be waterproof or the masonry will eventually fail. Surfaces like new, untreated brick, block, or concrete, require no special preparation, but wallboard or wood will need a vapor barrier, weep system, metal lath, and a scratch coat of mortar. The stones can be trimmed or adjusted with tools like a brick hammer or angle grinder with a diamond blade.

To apply the veneer, butter the back of the stone and press it onto the surface. The mortar should squish out the sides to partially fill the joints. Hold the stone in place for a few moments until it sets. After all the stones are placed, grout the joints with the same mortar. When the mortar has set for a couple of hours and is firm, rake and clean the joints, and brush off any particles.

Stone Surface PossibilitiesThin Stone Veneer Backsplash

With the tremendous variety in stone veneers, you can choose any decorative style. There’s no right or wrong when selecting a veneer—go with what you like. However, some colors are more popular than others in specific regions—darker colors in the Northeast, lighter ones in the Southwest. Your choice may also be determined by the kind of stone that’s available locally since shipping can be expensive.

Some veneer backsplash are irregular in shape, others more square or rectangular. Irregular veneers are installed in a random pattern that is eyed and set by the mason. Rectangular or square shapes tend to have mortar lines that are straighter, tighter, and more predictable. Random patterns are easier and cheaper to install since pieces don’t need to match as carefully, but it’s important to hire an artisan with a good eye to make the design flow.

Both manufactured and natural thin veneers are sold by the square foot, with prices varying greatly by region for materials and labor. Stone veneer costs more to install than vinyl, wood, cement or stucco, but once installed it will last many years with no maintenance.

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