Mankind has had a fascination with stone ever since the Romans built the Colosseum. And what is there not to like? Structures made out of stone look imposing, have a classic elegance to them and can endure for decades if not centuries. But unless you’re a Roman emperor, adorning your home with such geological wonders can be a major challenge. Purchasing a few hundreds of kilos of rock and getting a truck to deliver it to your front door can cost you a small fortune. And the process of installing it is as labour-intensive as it’s expensive.
But where would mankind be without the imagination to come up with alternative options? Today, you can give your interior or exterior a texturally rich treatment with the help of faux stone wall panels. The look of natural stone is replicated by slices of architectured stone that are light and thin enough to transport and work with, and for half the price of the real thing. Although they might be referred to as faux stone, these wall panels come with a significant infusion of authenticity.
In fact, faux stone wall panels are made out of the same ingredients the earth uses to form natural stone in a process of millions of years – iron oxides and aggregates, which are bounded by cement. This mixture is then blended together in moulds from the contours of real stone. During manufacturing, moulds vibrate and enrich the cement mixture with texture and colour. The final product is stone veneer that has much of the strength and durability of natural stone, but is a lot easier to work with and more affordable than the real thing.
As a result, faux stone wall panels are rapidly making their way into every room of the house in an impressive range of styles. You can also find them in a lot of outdoor settings – from backyard kitchens to stylish outdoor restaurants. With a myriad of patterns, colours, shapes, and sizes, lightweight stone panels are remarkably versatile. Whether you’re looking to completely clad the facade of your home, or simply make a fireplace more eye-catching, you are bound to find something according to your taste.
The nice thing about these veneers is that they can be adhered to practically any surface – prepared or untreated, regardless of cementituous wall boards or masonry walls. Moreover, they are easy to cut for tricky areas such as corner pieces and column installations. And since any structural change to the wall isn’t necessary before applying stone veneers, they can be used in both new and old homes without any problems.
However, fitting the veneers would be impossible without using mortar. This means you need to be extra careful to pick a colour of mortar resembling the one of the veneers, so that it won’t be as noticeable. For instance, when dry stacking granite veneers, use a darker coloured mortar that can seamlessly blend in with the stone.
Not only are faux stone wall panels affordable, easy to install and have the impressive look of real stone, but they’re also easy to maintain. A light dusting or a rinse with a hose now and then is all you need. If any nicks in the stone start to appear, they can be quickly retouched with a colour repair kit. Because of the concrete compound, there can be some mild efflorescence which you can remove easily with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 5 parts water.