What is the average life expectancy of manufactured stone?
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Manufactured stone can be expected to last 50 years or more if free from manufacturing defects and properly installed and maintained. Improper installation or maintenance, which we have found to be common, reduces the lifespan to 30 years or less. It is essentially concrete that has been cast in molds to the shape and texture of stone, with dyes that create natural-looking color variations.
The installed product has a similar composition to stucco and the building science expert, Joe Lstiburek, likes to call manufactured stone veneers “lumpy stucco,” because it's really just stucco with stuff stuck into a second, setting-bed layer. The building code calls it “adhered masonry veneer."
What can go wrong? Manufactured stone veneer installed on a wood frame wall is susceptible to moisture intrusion behind the material if not properly installed, and there should be a weep at the bottom of the facing which is above the ground. Here’s an example at right with an inadequate scrach coat and setting bed, and exposed mesh. See our blog post What are the code requirements for installing manufactured stone on the exterior of the wood stud wall of a house? for correct installation details, and you can also download a copy of the Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association’s installation guide there.
Any settlement or heaving structural problems will telegraph through the veneer and allow rain or sprinkler spray to get behind the veneer. Also, manufactured stone has a factory-applied sealant. Pressure washing the stone can destoy it and allow freeze cracking of the surface.
Concrete block is a more forgiving surface to manufactured stone installation. The stone can be applied directly to the wall in new construction, after application of a scratch coat and setting bed. A metal lath backing and weep screed are optional, but recommended.
Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see our blog post ”How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?”
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To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:
How To Look At A House
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site-built, mobile/manfuactued and modular homes
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