What Is Stone Veneer? FAQs and Everything You Need To Know!

Large home with stone veneer siding, black shutters and a sidewalk leading to a breezeway

In the past few years, 65% of American homeowners expected the value of their homes to go up over the course of the next decade. However, home values change with the local housing market and the national economy. The good news is, you can improve your home’s value right away with a little curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint on your front door or applying new stone veneers can instantly spruce up your home. “What is stone veneer,” you ask?

Well, just keep reading our FAQs to find out about the different types of interior and exterior stone veneer, its benefits, and how you can use it to update your home.

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What Is Stone Veneer?

A veneer is a thin piece of decorative material that covers something else. Different kinds of veneers can be used in building exteriors, kitchen cabinets, and even your teeth! 

Stone veneer is also sometimes referred to as stone siding or stone cladding. It is essentially a thin layer of cut stone or stone-like material that’s attached to a structure for decoration and protection. The pieces are cut thin from real stone so that you get a truly natural appearance without the weight of full-bed rock. Since they are cut thin they aren’t intended to be weight-bearing. Stone cladding is strictly for decorative purposes and for protection against weather and wear.

What are the different types of stone veneer?

Exactly what is stone veneer made of? There are generally three types of stone veneer: faux stone veneer, natural thin stone veneer, and full bed veneer. Each type is made from something different or it has a different thickness. 

  • Faux stone is also called manufactured stone because it’s man-made to look like real stone. It’s typically a combination of cement, natural minerals, and pigment. This type of manufactured faux stone can be extremely durable and beautiful. They are convincing duplicates, nearly identical to the real thing. However, depending on the manufacturer, sometimes products that are called faux stone are actually a type of durable synthetic polymer, resulting in ultralight veneers. Care should be taken in researching specific products.
  • Natural thin stone veneer is a real stone that comes from mountains, riverbeds, and stone quarries. It’s cut into one-inch depths and sometimes shaped for a look that’s a bit more polished than raw stone, but still has that elegant and rustic beauty. 
  • Full bed veneer is the same as natural thin stone veneer, except it’s cut thicker. It’s usually between three and five inches thick. 

Watch this video to see how natural thin stone veneer is custom-cut for use in a home or landscaping application. If you have challenging corners or angles, you can get custom-cut stone for those areas, as well.

What are the benefits of using stone veneers?

People love the look of natural elements in homebuilding. Whether it’s stone veneer siding, natural wood siding, a cozy wood deck, or an elegant stone patio, people love the earthy elegance offered by organic rock. If it’s real rock siding you want, but the price, weight, and installation are problematic, then this may be a great option for you.


Compared to building with real stone blocks, opting for natural veneers is more affordable. And while they can be more expensive as an initial purchase, their durability and the long-term price value they add to a home or property makes them a good investment.


Not only are the stones themselves cheaper, but you don’t have to worry about structural reinforcements as you do with whole stones. Veneers aren’t as bulky, so you can add them to existing walls or fireplaces without worrying about the structure. They’re also easier to handle, transport, and install than traditional stone masonry. You still need to install a metal lath and a layer of mortar to install the veneers, but it’s a simpler process.

Durable and Long-lasting

Stone veneers are amazingly durable, fire-resistant, eco-friendly, and recyclable. Additionally, they increase the value of a home and are nearly maintenance-free. 

Great for Interior Design

When used for interior design, rock veneers can add accents that create a dramatic “pop” to the look  and feel of your home or business. They come in a very large selection of textures, dimensions, stone types, as well as striking or subtle color variations.

Finding the Right Stone for You

So, whether you’re looking for a simple texture or color choice, or a multi-colored fieldstone, you are likely to find the right stone for you. And when you want that perfect color fieldstone you saw somewhere or one of those glittering Glamour Stone Veneers, the right stone solution is nearly always available, when you know where to look.

Entryway with a thin stone veneer siding and sliding doors

How do you install stone veneer?

Different techniques are required for different kinds of siding and in different applications. The first thing to do is to check with local building codes. Some cities and areas have requirements that others do not.

Some applications will require a weatherproof barrier, metal lath, and mortar. You can read about those kinds of veneer installation here and watch an instructional video.  Other projects can be completed much more simply by using a quality product like SRW’s Vertical Instant Lock Adhesive (read more about it here).

What are some ways to use interior stone veneer in my home?

You can use stone veneer on the inside and the outside of your home, and you can easily find design inspiration for both. 

Add landscaping stone veneer in your outdoor living space, in outdoor kitchens and living rooms, or even on a retaining wall or fence.

It also makes for a great interior feature wall or in a stone veneer fireplace application. You can even use it to make a stunning focal point in a bathroom, staircase, or in an entryway. 

Lovely gray stone veneer accent wall in a bathroom
Image credit: From Wendy in "The 'You’ll Never Believe This Isn’t Stacked Stone' Bathroom Makeover"

More Popular Stone Veneer FAQs

When the face of the stone is in its most natural state, uncut and unpolished it is sometimes referred to as a quarry-faced stone. Some veneers retain this natural, rugged look while others are split-face stone. This means the rocks have been broken or mechanically split to reveal their inner stratification. So split-face rock sometimes exposes a rough-hewn surface that’s very attractive in a veneer. On the other hand, the natural texture along the cleft of the rock can often be moderately flat.

Yes. Cast stone is a reconstructed stone that Wikipedia defines as “a highly refined architectural precast concrete masonry unit intended to simulate natural-cut stone.” It is, therefore, not real stone, though it is made by mixing cement, coloring pigments, and various aggregates from real stones.

An elegant cast stone fireplace surround in a home with dark wood floorsCast stone products can emulate certain types of real stones such as limestone, granite, marble, slate, travertine, and bluestone. And since it can be made to replicate brick or terra-cotta quite well, it can provide an ideal replacement for brick. Furthermore, the character of cast stone is actually enhanced as it weathers with the passage of time.

One typically sees cast stone used in decorative architectural features such as window or door surrounds. Likewise, it is often used as an ornamental facing for buildings or other structures such as monuments or statues.

Due to the fact that it can be reinforced, cast stone offers the attractive appeal of natural cut stone in addition to the structural benefits of concrete. Plus, it is considerably more lightweight and easier to install.

Well, we were certainly glad to see that this is one of the popular questions asked about these products!  Southwest Stone Supply is a large stone veneer supplier with one of the region’s largest showrooms located at Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. In addition, we ship anywhere in the lower 48 states. So whether you’re looking for a “stone veneer supplier near me” or someone that will ship your product to you, we hope you’ll contact us!

Yes, Natural stone veneer is fireproof, since it is real rock. However, since they are made with cement and stone particulate, most manufactured stone veneers are also extremely fire and heat resistant. In fact, many have a class A fire rating. So those with the class A rating are completely safe for fireplace installations and for use around heat sources in your home.

Dry stack stone (or dry-stacked stone) is a centuries-old technique used for building walls. The careful choice and placement of the rock interlocks the pieces together providing amazing strength and extreme resilience despite the fact that no mortar is used. In veneers, the pieces are arranged to emulate the look of a real dry stack stone wall. 

Different from natural stone veneers, Faux Stone Veneer Panels are manufactured to replicate in detail the texture and beauty of real rock. Molded from actual quarried rock and colored with iron oxide pigments (the same as found in real rock), stone veneer panel systems are designed for elegance, durability, and easy installation. 

We recommend a dry stack veneer that provides both a quick fit and a sophisticated appearance. You don’t have to lay out individual pieces and choose which rock goes where. You can simply stack them like Lego blocks! These lightweight veneers are installed over a base of metal lath and a scratch coat of mortar.

Differing from the veneer panels mentioned above, natural stone veneers are made from real rocks sawn into thin profiles. Manufactured veneer stone is an amazingly robust composite of cement, real mineral aggregates, and pigment.

Cultured Stone is a man-made stone product, also sometimes called faux stone or manufactured stone. It is a compound of natural minerals and concrete molded to simulate the look of real rock. Natural pigmentation is added to the mix to create a realistic resemblance to real rock siding. While earlier cultured stone products were considerably less appealing than the real thing, the manufacturing process has progressed to the point that it’s hard to tell the difference between some of the faux products and natural rock.

Rock veneer siding is installed over a base of metal lath and mortar. For applications on a wood-framed structure, you will need to install a vapor barrier or sheathing paper first. Then, using roofing nails the lath is installed. The scratch coat is a mortar mix that is applied over the metal lath with a trowel. Your mortar should have a thick enough consistency that it doesn’t drip off of the trowel or the lath. However, it must remain wet enough to remain workable. The mortar is also used to butter the back of the veneer stone before installing it.

Yes. When quality products are chosen that enhance the beauty of your property and they are installed properly, stone siding veneers add value. As with any improvement on your home’s appearance, its curb appeal goes up, thereby increasing its value. And the sophisticated look of natural stone creates a pretty dramatic impression. 

Another kind of qualitative value is added through your own personal enjoyment of your home. Many people choose stone simply because they appreciate and take joy in the beauty it affords them.

Architectural stone veneer is another name for manufactured, cultured, or faux stone veneer. It borrows from the phrase, “architectural stone”. The reference is to real natural stone that has been cut or shaped to an architect’s dimensional and weight specifications for features like door or window moldings, stone balustrades, columns, caps, etc.

Upgrade Your Home Today

If you were wondering, “what is stone veneer,” hopefully, you have a clearer understanding. Not all stone veneer products are created equal, so you need to know what you’re buying before you choose it.

If you’re interested in updating your home with premium stone veneer, Southwest Stone Supply can help. We have the best and largest selection of veneers in central Missouri, so browse our site, come in and look in person, or feel free to contact us with any questions. 

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