Natural stone veneers are thin, sawed-off sections of natural stone blocks. These thin stone panels are used for decorative effect in the interior and exterior cladding of various architectural structures. The purpose of a natural stone veneer is to provide a given structure with the appearance of an actual stone masonry work; that is, the structures are made to look like real stone walls. Since actual stone masonry can be quite expensive, given the sourcing of the natural stones from distant quarries and the dressing needed to prepare them for construction, natural stone veneers are the next best and comparatively more affordable alternative.
Aside from the expense involved, another advantage that natural stone veneers have over regular stones is more eco-friendly. There is little waste in cutting a thin stone veneer or a rock veneer, and the veneers are generally available in any specified shapes, colors, textures, thicknesses and weights that will suit the structure. Most veneers are about an inch (2.54 cm) thick and lesser than 22 pounds (9.97 kg) in weight, but thicker veneers may be used if required. Heavier round river pebbles can also be used as veneers, but these generally require a stronger mortar to hold them in place and may not prove to be as structurally effective in the long run.
Properly installed natural stone veneers can be quite durable, and, unlike artificial stone and artificial rock veneers, they are not easily susceptible to weather damage. They will not fade away or chip off, and, with good maintenance, the natural stone siding can be made to last for a very long time. This means that the areas with the cladding will remain in shipshape form over time, and this can only boost the property value. Therefore, installing a natural stone veneer may very well work out to be a profitable long-term investment.
The natural stone veneer is as easy to install as a faux stone veneer. Before installing the natural stone veneers, the wall surface is usually first treated with a waterproof medium. The thin natural stone veneer is then installed to the existing wall structure with a metal attachment, with a space usually kept between the natural stone veneer and the wall surface. The gap between the wall and the veneers ensures easy air and water passage, and prevents or lessens the chances of moisture-related damage.