The Evolution of Natural Stone Veneer

18 Nov, 2019

Natural Stone Veneer is a term used to describe a thin layer of natural stone that is used as a decorative facing for both interior and exterior walls. The stone itself is not meant to be load bearing however the stone can be applied directly to most load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls.

Evidence of thin stone veneers dates back to the Roman Empire. As years have progressed, so has the technology to produce and install natural stone veneers. In the 1930’s, the typical thickness of natural stone veneer was 1 ½”. The Empire State Building for example is completely clad in natural stone veneers. By the middle of the 1930’s, entire building facades completed with natural stone veneers had started to pop up around the world.

Up until the 1940’s, natural stone veneers were primarily used for building facades, however during the 1950’s the use of natural stone veneers for interior feature walls started to grow in popularity. As new technology and production methods developed, the thickness of natural stone veneer was reduced. Nowadays, natural stone veneer can be produced to a thickness of 1/8”, however typical thicknesses range from ½” to 1” thick. This allows for natural stone veneers to travel long distances without becoming damaged.

Natural Stone Veneers are produced around the world from marble, limestone, granite, slate, basalt, sandstone, and many other natural stone types. The use of natural stone veneers on fireplace walls and interior feature walls is now the norm. As building codes continue to develop and we see a big push towards sustainable construction, the use of natural stone veneers will continue to grow in popularity. Furthermore, stone masonry is a dieing art, and as a result, the use of stone in its traditional full thickness and format is slowly becoming too costly for the average home. Natural stone veneers however can be installed by most tile setters or DIY'ers at an affordable cost. This will also push the popularity and use of natural stone veneers into the future.

Natural stone has proven to withstand the test of time, and its use on building facades and interior walls will continue for generations. The development of natural stone veeners as we know them today have allowed for walls to be decorated with natural stone in ways that would have been too costly in the past. As new production technology develops, and installation methods continue to improve, the use of natural stone on buildings will continue to evolve in ways that we have not yet considered.