Installing a stone facade on your house can not only make it more attractive, if executed well it will actually increase the value. Perhaps you thought a stone veneer could only be included on a new home? Not true. In fact, there is always a way to retrofit a building with a stone exterior, whether it covers the entire stucture or only a portion
The best way to incorporate a small area of stonework is to focus on the entryway – the area that is seen most often and from the closest proximity. This relatively simple upgrade adds a personal touch as well as an overall feeling of architectural strength.
The photo to the right shows an entryway we installed on an existing home in Snohomish, WA. The owner really liked the dark quartzite material he chose himself, referred to as “Cowboy Coffee” as it is a few shades darker than most varieties of quartzite.
This entryway was never quite finished, as the house had basically to entryways and this side of the house had been low on the priority list.
Here is the way it looked before we installed the stone. There was no path, no landing, and the walls were clad in siding which we removed. We added a layer of moisture barrier to the substrate for extra protection, even though it is doubly protected, being recessed well under the roofline.
Next we applied expanded steel lathe and a base coat of mortar. We took even more precautions structurally by including steel wall ties in every fourth layer of stone – the stones were laid horizontally front-to-back with a maximum 3″ depth, so they needed just a bit more reinforcement. Because of the hardness of the stone and the relative uniformity of height, we had to keep sorting the pieces into piles based on their individual height dimensions, sorted by the half-inch.
As you can see, the effect is strikingly better than it would have been with just wood siding, and the entryway really pops visually as a result of the extra effort. Below, you can see some more shots of the entryway, which ties in with a drystack retaining wall we built in front of the yard.
by Mark Shepherd www.ShepherdStoneworks.com
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