Siding isn't the only choice for your home's exterior. One of your other options is stone, and adding stone to a home can instantly elevate the look of the structure. Stone adds tons of curb appeal, and depending on the stone you choose, it could also add value (and, thus, equity) to your home. The options for stone, however, can be a little overwhelming. Let's look at some of the best kinds of stone you can choose for your home's exterior.
Natural versus Artificial
No matter what stone you choose, you'll likely have two options--natural or artificial. Natural, or "real" stone was once the best choice simply because the artificial, or faux, stone just wasn't up to stuff in terms of look or quality. Today, that's not the case. Artificial stone can look just as realistic as natural stone, and it lasts just as long with regular maintenance. As an added bonus, artificial stone is typically only about half of the cost of natural stone. To the touch, you may be able to tell that the stone isn't real, but unless you get very close the the siding, it is hard to see the differences.
One of the main reasons that most homeowners opt not to use stone as a siding material is its high cost. While faux stone is less expensive, if you still want to use natural stone, one options you have is to purchase veneer. Stone veneer is made with real stone, but these stones have been sliced very thinly so that they are only about an inch thick. Typically, stones used for home exteriors are around 6 inches thick. Since stone is sold according to weight, you can imagine how this would drastically reduce the cost of the materials. Veneer is usually more expensive per pound, but because you only need a sixth of it to create the same effect on your home, you'll save money in the end.
The exact texture of your stone siding depends on the variety of stone you use, but in general, stone has a rough texture. How the stone is placed makes a difference on the overall texture of the wall, however. You can place the stones on their sides, with the large flat side exposed. You can also choose to place the stones flat on top of one another, as you'd lay bricks, which creates an entirely different look.
The amount of grout you use makes a difference as well. In some cases, the stone is placed close together, creating more of a manufactured look, like a tile floor or mosaic. Stones can also be placed randomly, with larger and less even amounts of grout between them. This is especially popular with large, rounded river rocks, which often stick out from the way farther than other types of stone.
The color of the stone you choose depends largely on the variety if you use natural stone or veneers. However, with artificial stone, you can purchase kinds of stone that don't necessarily naturally exist. The most popular colors for stone exteriors are tan, black, brown, gray, white, and yellow. Some homeowners use a combination of colors to create more of a natural look. Keep in mind that you should purchase all of your stone at the same time, especially if you choose natural stone. Because colors in nature vary, each batch has a slightly different color. While you won't notice this variation much from stone to stone, if you need to order stone when the home is only partially done, you may notice a line where the color changes.
With most homes, stone isn't the primary type of siding. Therefore, whatever color of stone and grout you choose needs to work well with the paint used on the rest of your house. Think of the stone as a trim, even though it may cover an entire section of wall. You can even pick up on some of the stone colors with the paint you use for the trim or the door.
Other Unique Exterior Options
If you aren't interested in stone, yet also want something more unique than painted wooden siding, there are other choices you can consider as well. Stucco, which is made of cement-like material is a popular option, especially in warmer climates. Cement fiber siding is also an option. This durable material can be made to look like wood, stucco, or even masonry. Some homeowners are now opting for brick veneer as well. Like with stone veneer, brick veneer is very thin, so it can be applied to a wooded structure less expensively while still providing homeowners with the look and durability of a brick finish. In addition, you can find siding made from non-wood materials, like aluminum, vinyl, and steel. These choices often hold up better over time as compared to their painted wood counterparts.
Key Hiring Tips
Hiring a contractor is an important decision so it is best to get all the information you can on each company. This includes checking references, insurance and licensing information. On a larger project a designer or architect is required in order to get the permits. Smaller projects still require a plan and the job will turn out great with the a little organization.