Stone veneer gained popularity in the early 2000's. It gives the appearance of natural stone and is a sustainable manmade product. It has a lower cost of production, shipping and installation than that of natural stone. It is typically 1-2 inches thick and adhesively attached or anchored to an exterior wall. Types of stone veneer are Manufactured, Cultured Stone, and/or Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer.
Why is there a concern?
Application problems began to surface in the early to mid 2000's. There was lack of attention to detail and specifications. Failure to follow manufacturer's or industry standards provided by the MVMA (Masonry Veneer Manufacturer's Association) was a cause for concern. Problems surfacing were improper installation, lack of flashing and sealants, the veneer installed too close to the grade, lack of maintenance and moisture intrusion.
Types of inspections -
A visual inspection is conducted by a specialist familiar with application standards. He will identify application errors such as cracking, lack of flashing or sealants. He will include a repair recommendation if needed or call for a further inspection - a moisture probe.
A moisture probe indicates the moisture level of the substrate and application errors - again conducted by a specialist. Small holes are drilled through a mortar line. Condition of the substrate is recorded. Holes are then sealed with appropriate caulk.
GlobeSpec's findings -
We completed 673 inspections on stone veneer in the past 18 months. 94% or 632 homes had two or more installation defects that could lead to moisture intrusion. Further invasive moisture probing was conducted on 306 homes. 48% or 146 homes had elevated moisture and/or damaged substrate.
Homes with stone veneer should obviously be inspected to insure proper installation and prevent 'unforseeable' damage.