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Can you make your own veneer rock? Hypertufa maybe?  RSS feed

 
Bethany Dutch
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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So as I'm making plans to finish my house I've started pricing out veneer rock. My house is a regular stickbuilt framed house.

My intent is to make part of the outside (the bottom 4 feet or so) to be a veneer stone, which will match what I'll do inside behind the woodstove.

Pricing out veneer stone... that stuff is expensive! But more importantly, I have yet to find one that really has the aged look I'm going for. I'm going for a half timbered/stone ancient English cottage kind of look.

I was just thinking, couldn't I make my own veneer stones out of hypertufa? I googled a bit and didn't find anybody talking about using hypertufa veneer stones themselves. I figure if I'm going to buy veneer stones (because since it's just me, I am NOT quarrying all those stones from my house and couldn't afford to buy them) they are going to be concrete anyway. I like the idea of hypertufa because it's lightweight but also you can grow moss on them.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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If you can grow moss on them, does that mean they are porous? That might be a problem, if they hold water, will they promote rot, and cool the place through evaporation?

Thekla
 
Dale Hodgins
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A finish of this sort, is one of the most energy intensive ones that I can think of. Cob can be used in the same area and would be one of the greenest choices.

Do you live in an area where older homes are being demolished? Second hand stone can go very cheaply.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Oh, I like the idea of cob as a veneer, if it is protected from rain and splash. A person could set stone into it too, if they wanted, or plaster it with an earth/ lime plaster. Great thing about cob is that most of the investment is in labor, not materials.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Can you make your own veneer rock? Hypertufa maybe?


Hello Bethany,

The simple answer to both of those is, yes.

However, I too would not recommend it for similar reasons to those already stated.

I would also share that anytime a "faux" finish is employed in architecture, it is usually rooted in the creative energies of an industry someplace trying to create a system that is profitable for them to produce and also removes...artistry, craft, and skill from the equation. In my view, none of this is ever a good thing nor does it ever...not in one single instance that I know of...give us better architecture that is both enduring, and sustainable.

I have to make artificial stone for some of work I do, and can assure you...it is way more labor intensive than actual stone work, or hardly as simple as the other suggested finishes that Dale and Thelka have shared of cob and/or lime. If you really do like stone (I don't blame you...I love it) then your best option is "real stone" used in the proper fashion to the craft of it...veneer stone (real or artificially) is a "faux system" and never as durable or without issue, giving it a rather short viable service life...I have actually brought this up in professional gatherings and the general consensus among most "modern" general contractors..."So what...that's a good thing as we have more work in the future repairing or replacing it..." This is a common underlying theme in the building industry today...and does not bode well for the way much of our current world is built...as "obsolescence" and "accepted degradation" is considered normal/good, and actually designed into much of the architecture today...

Regards,

j
 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Try Craigslist for stone and surplus veneer. I have seen homes that hang reclaimed slate vertically, but it comes cheap here.
 
Bethany Dutch
Posts: 210
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Well, I suppose I should clarify that my house is already built, just not finished (so I don't have fancy siding up but there is plywood with tyvek on the outside). Been living here for almost three years now I understand that a veneer might not be the most "green" choice, but I do really love the look of stone, cob is not what I'm after here (unless you can make it look like stone!). I'm also not entirely sure cob would be a good choice where I live (mountains in WA), since it gets too wet and damp during some parts of the year.

I'm sure it would have been better to build it with stone to begin with but I can't exactly just demolish and start over... but if I used actual stone on the outside it would stick out quite a bit which is not what I'm after. The stone I would have here on my property in enough quantity would be shale but it just crumbles apart so I'm not even going to try with it except maybe to use it as paving stones.

Here is an example of the look I'm after:
Medieval half timber house

Since the house was already built with regular siding in mind, I'm going to use flat sheet siding with a faux stucco finish and trim will be 1x6 lumber painted dark, but the stone is the quandary here. I'm going to need some kind of veneer type finish just because the house is already built and I don't want stones sticking out 10 inches from the outside.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Oh and regarding moisture wicking into the house, I don't really think that would be an issue. I've got a moisture barrier on the outside right now which will end up under the siding and I do plan on using an additional moisture barrier under the rock part.
 
Sanda Everette
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Location: near Chimacum, WA
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I am not sure whether I should start a new thread or add to Bethany's. Please et me know if it would be better to start a new thread.
Since the house was already built with regular siding in mind, I'm going to use flat sheet siding with a faux stucco finish and trim will be 1x6 lumber painted dark, but the stone is the quandary here. I'm going to need some kind of veneer type finish just because the house is already built and I don't want stones sticking out 10 inches from the outside.


Like Bethany, I want to put a stone front that will sort of look like the bottom 2-4 feet of my house, but not actually be part of the structure. The house will have flat sheet siding, looking like vertical wood on the top and the bottom two feet is psedo stucco....on which I wanted to see a rock face. I am going for sort of a "craftsman" look on my unusual double octagon home. We live on glacial moraine on the Olympic Peninsula and have lots of our own rock. Unlike Bethany, I was not looking for a veneer type finish and have no concerns about the rock sticking out "10 inches from the outside" though I think half that is more likely. The house has a massive foundation with radiant floor heating...I blogged the whole construction process at www.dragonbellyfarm.wordpress.com. Granted this is not a tiny, earth type house. It was too late in my life for that dream. After telling my husband I wanted this since we began the design, he is now saying that building such a wall would cause moisture problems in the house.

I thought we could build it dry, but he says because I prefer the rounded stones to the jagged ones, that won't work, a combination, perhaps. We have done tile work so have some experience working with thinset and some with mortar.
allwrappedup.jpg
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Wrapped but no windows or siding yet
Findingcomfortabletree.jpg
[Thumbnail for Findingcomfortabletree.jpg]
leaning on the front door "post"
 
Bethany Dutch
Posts: 210
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Sanda more similar than you'd think! My house is regular stickbuilt mainly because we were put in a situation where we needed to build SOMETHING to have, made the call in February and needed to have something livable by fall. Oh and my dad (former builder) at our disposal to help us, which was a huge part because neither of us knew anything about building anything. Kind of the "bird in the hand worth two in the bush" kind of deal.

So we decided to forgo the original plan of an underground home and build a small starter home with regular plain ol modern construction techniques. though we did build it in a way that I can eventually do the uphill greenhouse and berm it all in. Except it never got done, and now I'm divorcing, so I've decided to depart from what the original plan was (a log cabin look) and go more for what my heart wanted. I know concrete has got so much embodied energy, but I don't think I could do what I want to do without it. I figure, I'm off grid, self employed (so no daily commute/car use) and I use a bucket toilet so that will probably compensate
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Oh and regarding moisture wicking into the house, I don't really think that would be an issue. I've got a moisture barrier on the outside right now which will end up under the siding and I do plan on using an additional moisture barrier under the rock part.


I have tried to not respond now accept to direct questions...accept...where I observed a possible error, or can share perhaps information that can arrest or aid in avoiding issues in the future for others.

"House wraps" (aka moisture barriers) in the modern sense just do not work in the long term as the manufactures would like us to believe. I spend a reasonable amount of time each year removing or having them removed from architecture as they actually "trap moisture" very badly in many structures, and most "modern builds" are going to have issues from them (and do) in the long run. Some that are only 20 years old now are presenting with numerous challenges attributed to interstitial moisture buildup facilitated by these very same "moisture barriers" that fail to work and function as planned...

I would strongly recommend them never to be applied to a structure behind and type of masonry, yet will share that "veneri masonry" in general is plagued with facilitating rot in the wood framing behind it as it is done in modern architecture. Sorry to be such a "stick in the mud," but it just is what I have observed in the last 35 years...Modern materials do not play well with natural ones. Barriers, plastic paints, and sealers all trap moisture and facilitate moisture build up and mold/decay...
 
Bethany Dutch
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:
Oh and regarding moisture wicking into the house, I don't really think that would be an issue. I've got a moisture barrier on the outside right now which will end up under the siding and I do plan on using an additional moisture barrier under the rock part.


I have tried to not respond now accept to direct questions...accept...where I observed a possible error, or can share perhaps information that can arrest or aid in avoiding issues in the future for others.

"House wraps" (aka moisture barriers) in the modern sense just do not work in the long term as the manufactures would like us to believe. I spend a reasonable amount of time each year removing or having them removed from architecture as they actually "trap moisture" very badly in many structures, and most "modern builds" are going to have issues from them (and do) in the long run. Some that are only 20 years old now are presenting with numerous challenges attributed to interstitial moisture buildup facilitated by these very same "moisture barriers" that fail to work and function as planned...

I would strongly recommend them never to be applied to a structure behind and type of masonry, yet will share that "veneri masonry" in general is plagued with facilitating rot in the wood framing behind it as it is done in modern architecture. Sorry to be such a "stick in the mud," but it just is what I have observed in the last 35 years...Modern materials do not play well with natural ones. Barriers, plastic paints, and sealers all trap moisture and facilitate moisture build up and mold/decay...


Oh yes, once again I should clarify I am using the tyvek right now and it will be behind my plywood, and then behind any rockwork no matter if it's natural stone or not would be a more appropriate barrier. I haven't researched them yet but I know the Tyvek is not actually completely moisture proof and I will need something that is not penetrable. I've been using it instead of siding for the house since we built it, not what I wanted to do but was all I could do at the time. Interesting what you are saying about having to remove them, I will have to look into that. I appreciate your input! Do you have anything in specific you woul recommend for putting between masonry work and framing?

It's funny - I tend to be very wordy when I write on instinct, and so then I have to go back and remove a bunch of what I wrote and then sometimes I tend to overkill and remove too much, which then means I don't write clearly enough or miss important details... the way of it, I suppose.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Bethany,

First, I want to stress that I want to support your efforts and goals to become the best they can be. As you can tell from my posts, I am not found of "faux veneers." I should validate that this comes not from just an "aesthetic opinion" but from actually doing and/or being part of many of them. They just typically don't last very long in most of there applications. Most put on in the last 15 years (from McDonald's restaurants and hotels, to many "McMansion" style homes) they aren't really expected to last long before being "remodeled" into a new flavor of design. In what we call the "trades" this is considered "Hollywood Architecture" and is very transient and often changing in desing and not really meant to last 10 generations before being "redone." That is just still the nature of much of what is built today.

I can tell that this project is trying to be more than that, yet seems still stuck with some of the same challenges that the moder "transient build" suffers from. I will try to go done the list of things I observed and try to clarify what I understand about each...

I am using the tyvek right now and it will be behind my plywood, and then behind any rockwork no matter if it's natural stone or not would be a more appropriate barrier. I haven't researched them yet but I know the Tyvek is not actually completely moisture proof and I will need something that is not penetrable.


This must have been my fault in not being clear...sorry

I do not recommend Tyvek at all...or any "house wrap" materials of any kind. Tyvek is suppose to be "moisture permeable" and actually is more "waterproof" and "nonportable" and this is the problem with them. They trap moisture, form condensing layers for moisture, concentrate localized moisture accumulation next to wood, and generally tend to contribute to "building sickness" in my experience. So whether on the inside, outside or in the middle of a system...they just do not work as the manufactures claim they do.

Typically...with a stone veneer exterior finish...the wall section (from the inside of the building to the outside of it) looks like this in most..."modern house build project"...you will have the "drywall" or gypsum board covering the 2x stud framing infilled with its insulation, then a sheathing of OSB or Plywood, then the Tyvek (aka house wrap/moisture barrier), then typically attached to the OSB through the moisture barrier you have "stone veneer ties," then an air space of a minimum of 20 mm, then the "veneer stone" which must by IBC and just structural integrity be resting on a "veneer ledge" within the foundation matrix or a similar foundational structural support.

I've been using it instead of siding for the house since we built it, not what I wanted to do but was all I could do at the time. Interesting what you are saying about having to remove them, I will have to look into that. I appreciate your input! Do you have anything in specific you woul recommend for putting between masonry work and framing?


Yes I do...!!...

I will stress again I do not recommend stone veneers over stud frames...however...when we do have to do them or be part of them, we do the following.

1. Make sure the foundation has a fully formed and structurally sound "stone veneer ledge" as part of the the foundation design which in these types of buildings is typically concrete. This "veneer ledge" should be a minimum of 3/4 the width of the widest stone to be placed, plus the "air gap." In the better builds, it is usually 25% wider than the total thickness of the veneer stone/brick.

2. If stud framing...we remove any house wrap, and cover the OSB/Plywood with 20 mm think "mineral wool board." If the budget for the project does not fiscally support the MWB we cover the OSB/Plywood with 60# builders felt.

3. Now the "veneer" (brick or stone) is set in a "bedding mortar" of lime mortar (or if possible for the first course...Natural cement/lime mortar bedding mix.)

4. With the "first course laid" we start moving up the wall, with each course of veneer being "tied" to the wall structurally with the "veneer ties." VERY IMPORTANT!!! the veneer is structurally "monolithic" to itself and does not...."lean against"...a building!!! It stands on its own with a minimum 20mm air layer between it and the structural matrix of the stud framing.

I should clarify again, we have special waivers for this work, and we will not work with "faux stone" because of liability and other design issues. I have no good recommendations for these faux stones other than...do not use them.

It's funny - I tend to be very wordy when I write on instinct, and so then I have to go back and remove a bunch of what I wrote and then sometimes I tend to overkill and remove too much, which then means I don't write clearly enough or miss important details... the way of it, I suppose.


Please be as "wordy" as you need to be...I do not mind!! It helps me understand a question better...

Regards,

j
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