If you’re looking to upgrade your home, consider exterior stone siding. Read this post to learn about the types of exterior house stones and more.
There are so many reasons to use stone on the exterior of a house. Not only does it look beautiful, but it’s a durable choice, can be very eco-friendly, and offers a lot of room for customization for a truly unique exterior. You can easily mix and match natural stone with your current siding for an instant and low-cost upgrade.
However, it can be overwhelming to choose which one is right for your home or your next construction project. Aside from the wide range of choices, there’s also a long list of questions and considerations, from how to care for exterior stone siding to how expensive it is.
Luckily, we’ve written this guide for you where we cover all of that and more!
Types of Stone Siding
Before we get into the exact types of natural stones for home exteriors, let’s go over the most popular types of natural stone siding from genuine stone slabs and cladding to manufactured options like foam-based panels.
Natural Stone Cladding
Natural stone cladding is thin layers of natural stone, stacked on top of each other for a multi-dimensional look. This is one of the most popular types of exterior house stone siding because it’s visually appealing and incredibly durable. It’s usually applied on top of concrete in new builds or previous exterior materials like bricks to upgrade the exterior.
This is a versatile stone layout that can be commonly used as skirting under siding (to hide that ugly foundation where the siding ends) or feature walls. It’s also a well-loved choice for decorating columns and supporting beams that otherwise look unappealing.
Solid Stone Siding
Solid stone siding is exactly what it sounds like. It’s pieces of natural stone installed on the exterior of a house in a wide range of shapes and sizes. This is one of the heaviest types of exterior house stone siding, which has pros and cons.
Real stone siding is made of natural quarried or collected stone and can be made into clean-cut slabs or in a way that preserves the authentic shape and irregular contours. Solid stone options can get quite expensive and are often difficult to install.
Natural Stone Veneer Panel Siding
Natural stone veneer siding is made by cutting thin pieces of real stone and applying them to a panel system for easy installation. This is a good choice if you want the look of real stone but are concerned with the weight, installation, or cost of solid stone siding options. Further, it’s a good compromise if you don’t want to opt for a faux stone siding option.
Engineered or Faux Stone Siding
Engineered stone siding is made of materials like cement and natural aggregates which are then colored and molded to look like genuine stone. Sometimes it contains real stone particles to increase durability and aesthetic appeal. You’ll find that it’s also commonly referred to as faux stone veneer or manufactured stone siding, among other terms.
Overall, this is a cost-effective choice and is fairly easy to install, which is why it’s a go-to choice as a natural stone alternative for both homeowners and contractors alike.
Polyurethane Foam Panel Stone Siding
Foam panel stone siding is similar to manufactured cement-based stone siding in terms of looks but is made from high-density polyurethane foam instead of organic materials. As a result, it’s much lighter, can be installed easily, and is affordable. It’s also available in a very wide range of styles, colors, and shapes to mimic your favorite natural stone siding look.
Where the polyurethane foam panel falls short is durability. Don’t expect it to hold up for a lifetime when it comes to intense storms, considerable amounts of moisture, or otherwise destructive environments.
Types of Real Natural Stone
There are even more options when it comes to the types of natural quarried stone that you can use on a house exterior. With the right one, you can increase the resale value of a home and experience the distinct advantages that cultured stone siding has over the traditional vinyl or even stucco siding options.
Granite slabs are one of the most durable materials that can be used as solid stone siding and lasts a lifetime. It can be polished for a shiny, sleek appearance or left to its more natural look. As you may have guessed, it’s also one of the most expensive options that also require upkeep.
Granite stone siding comes in a variety of colors from grays, blacks, neutrals, and pinks. It also has speckles and swirls with a grainy texture. This highly durable stone type can be quite labor-intensive to install, as well.
Another extremely durable material with lots of aesthetic appeal is marble stone. It’s one of the most beautiful stones that you can use inside and out, including on the home exterior. Because of its excessive weight and fragility, it does require special handling and needs to be properly installed by someone with experience.
Marble siding usually comes in large slabs that range in colors from pinks, browns, grays, and sometimes even purple hues. Of course, it also has its well-known swirls and distinctive patterns that make it the famous luxury natural stone that it is. Marble has a smooth texture and polished look that will make any house exterior look sophisticated.
Slate is incredibly versatile and is used for many applications, including solid stone siding. It can resist heat, all kinds of weather, staining, and is even crack resistant. Many homeowners appreciate the low maintenance, high durability, and modern look of it.
This is one stone that doesn’t come in a wide range of patterns or colors, though. Slate is only available in darker colors in a spectrum of grays and blacks. It’s also one of the most expensive types of stone available.
Onyx isn’t exactly known to be used on home exteriors, but it can be found in veneer panel siding. It makes a beautiful exterior thanks to its dark colors and fine grains. It’s also available in different shades of colors and patterns depending on where you buy it from.
This is by far one of the most expensive real stone options on our list and can be more expensive than both granite and marble. Onyx is very rare, which is why you probably haven’t considered it to be one of the different types of stone siding available. If you want the same look without the high price tag, you can opt for faux onyx stone instead.
Quartzite is a very solid stone and is often compared to marble in terms of durability. It also looks very similar to marble, but usually has more sparkle and illumination. Because of its resistance to temperature changes, it’s common to use on home exteriors and other applications like outside countertops.
You can expect to see quartzite as stone cladding and even in manufactured stone siding. It’s usually available in neutral colors and offers a rustic look.
Sandstone is incredibly durable and easy to work with. Because it’s so easy to cut, chisel, and shape, it’s ideal for homeowners who want to customize their stone siding or want a very organic-looking exterior. It’s available as stone cladding, slabs, bricks, and more.
You can usually find sandstone in hues of whites, browns, pinks, oranges, and sometimes even purples. Sandstone is also reflective, making it appear as slightly different colors depending on where the sun is shining on it.
Travertine is a stone siding material best for hot climates since it is very heat resistant. It has small cavities because of its formation process and can have flower-like patterns. This might be the only stone that’s not recommended for homes in cold climates, though.
It’s commonly found in shades of pinks, oranges, and grays. If you’re in a warmer climate and appreciate the look of cultured stone, travertine makes an excellent choice to use on your house exterior.
Limestone is known for weathering over time, giving your home exterior a beautiful and unique look. It’s also really easy to work with and a go-to choice for many contractors. However, it’s very porous making it susceptible to staining and other kinds of damage.
If you’re looking for a real stone that can be found in a variety of shapes, designs, and colors, limestone may be a good option. It’s mostly used as a solid stone siding but can be used in cladding, too.
Flint is commonly used in stone cladding, bricks, and cobblestone. It’s very durable and can go well with almost any style, not to mention it can also be a budget-friendly option. This is one of the stones that is commonly found in older buildings.
You’ll find flint in beautiful neutral colors from grays to browns and cladding or brick patterns.
Can You Paint Stone Exterior House?
It’s possible to paint the stone on a home’s exterior if it’s become weathered or outdated. Many natural stones are porous and need to be painted carefully to avoid ruining them or making them look even worse, though. In most cases, you’ll want to paint or stain your stone with masonry paint or stain.
Manufactured stone or foam panel stone siding may require different methods or types of paint. In either case, it’s probably best to consult a professional who is familiar with recoloring both natural stone siding and manufactured stone siding.
Who Installs Stone Veneer Siding?
General contractors can usually install stone veneer panel siding, as well as stonemasons and siding experts. Because stone veneer siding is made with easy installation in mind, many DIY homeowners can also install it themselves.
However, if you want one of the heavier and more expensive types of natural stone like granite, you need a professional stonemason who has vast experience installing real stone siding.
How Long Does Stone Veneer Last?
You can usually expect veneer to last 20-75 years with proper upkeep and care. It also depends on the exact materials and process used to make the veneer panel themselves and how well it was installed. Nothing is 100% resistant to the elements if it’s not installed correctly, to begin with.
Other factors that play a role in its longevity are weather and climate. Don’t expect stone veneer to hold up flawlessly to significant winds that cause flying debris to hit the veneer or consistent water and humidity. If you want something highly durable that will last a lifetime, choose from one of the types of natural stone mentioned above.
Is Stone Siding Expensive?
Stone siding tends to be more expensive than traditional vinyl siding. This is especially true if you choose a higher-end stone like marble, slate, or onyx. Part of the expense is the installation since certain stone siding needs to be properly installed by a professional.
Most homeowners consider stone siding to be expensive and usually opt to upgrade their house exterior with stone accents or skirting to cut down on costs.
What to Consider When Choosing Stone Siding
Updating a house exterior is a big deal and requires research. There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking of using any kind of exterior stone, from natural stone cladding or faux stone panel siding. Factors like price, the installation process, your climate, home design style, and more all play an important role in the process.
Of course, you first need to determine your budget, which should include the siding itself and the cost of installation.
There are different price points for different stone options. The most expensive are marble, granite, slate, and onyx. Meanwhile, you can find more budget-friendly natural stone options like quartzite and sandstone in a wide range of colors and shapes.
Your location also determines your overall investment, as some areas may cost more than others in terms of materials and installation.
Some stones have a rustic look while others have a very obvious modern appeal. You need to consider your home decor style and whether your choice of stone siding will go well with the rest of your home’s exterior. For example, knowing how to choose the color scheme of exterior stone can make or break the entire design of your house.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than colors, like the overall shape and naturally occurring patterns in the stone. When you’re trying to achieve a country farmhouse look, you probably don’t want a stone such as granite which has veining and sparkles that are associated with high-end designs. Additionally, layouts like the stacked look of natural stone cladding will look better on some houses than solid stone slabs, so keep that in mind as well.
If you don’t have a natural knack for design, you can hire a professional designer either online or in person. There are even free and affordable resources for DIY design all over the internet. You can also find an endless amount of inspiration on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
Certain types of natural stone are more durable than others. Even faux stone can differ in quality and longevity depending on the manufacturing process. Like anything, there are pros and cons to each type.
You need to carefully consider your environment and what the siding will be exposed to day in and day out. For example, some stones can resist heat and moisture while others are more porous and best for dryer climates. Likewise, options like slate seem to hold up for a lifetime no matter what they’re exposed to.
If you’re investing any amount of money and effort into your home’s exterior, you want to get it right the first time. That requires doing your research into the type of stone that you’re considering. Doing your due diligence might seem tedious now but you’ll be more than thankful years down the road when it looks and holds up just as good as it did when it was installed.
Stones like marble will probably need to be resealed and maintained throughout the year. If you don’t mind that, it’s not a big deal. Of course, if you’re like most homeowners, you want something low maintenance like granite slabs or faux stone panel siding.
Whether or not you are willing to invest in proper upkeep is a huge consideration when you’re trying to choose between several types of exterior stone. Keep in mind that the stones that require the most upkeep also usually require professionals for the job and pricey sealants. Given that, your exterior stone budget shouldn’t just stop at the installation.
Options such as travertine are best for hotter climates while others can be used in virtually any environment, such as slate. Taking your climate and usual weather into consideration is another important factor when choosing either real stone siding or alternatives such as manufactured stone veneer.
You want something that can last for years, potentially a lifetime — but even the most solid stone can’t survive in the wrong environment. This is where taking the time to research now will pay off years down the road and keep you from wasting time and money on the wrong choice.