Faux Stone House Siding

More and more we are seeing faux stone exteriors added to houses to add to the look of the house, not to mention the lightweight and cost effective alternative to natural stone is quite alluring to many homeowners and builders alike. Due to the wide array of colors and styles the trendier stone veneer option is becoming popoular over the standard vinyl siding or paired with vinyl to spruce up the look of the home to the point stone veneer sales increases in recent years by double digits. However, home inspectors across the nation are cautioning homeowners about the possibility of water damage because of the poor installation techniques that are being used.

Scott Patterson, a home inspector out of Tennessee, has noted that 9 out of 10 homes he's inspected has had the manufactured stone applied incorrectly causing water seepage behind the siding which in turn leads to rotting walls as well as mold problems. Unfortunately, some problems don't become evident for many years after the manufactured stone is installed. The American Society of Home Inspectors is recommending members become familiar with faux stone siding and inspect the areas thoroughly because of the penetrable nature.

The good news is that not all homeowners that choose to have the manufactured stone installed have ongoing issues as long as the product is installed correctly. The price of the manufactured stone is $3-$8 per square foot before installation, although double the cost of vinyl siding it's only 1/3 of the cost of natural stone.

As a buyer you may want to consider hiring an inspector with specialized training in faux stone installation to know ahead of time what you're buying and to get all the information needed to make a decision on a home. The question is how would a buyer or homeowner know there's a problem? The answer isn't simple because there may or may not be visible signs of the problem. A severe example of when the stone was installed without the proper sealant and backer rods around a large window caused caused water to pour into the walls which damaged the interior wall and alerted the owner there was an issue.

Tapping the stone to see if anything is loose or if there might be water behind it is a good test to try as a homeowner looking for any suspect signs of problematic manufactured stone installation, unfortunately all too often the problem is masked behind the wall without a way to detect until the damage becomes visible on the interior of the home. Some home inspectors do have specialized equipment to assist in finding a problem including a moisture meter and infrared camera, the inspector can check that stone has been installed correctly up to windows and door frames as well as having the correct type of sealant. If the inspector does find damage related to the manufactured stone the homeowner may want to find a qualified structural engineer in order to find all areas of moisture which can help lead to the extent of the damage within the walls behind the stone. Replacing the stone can run anywhere from $30-$38/square foot of wall which wouldn't include the cost of labor or any additional damage done to the structure of the home.

Both buyers and homeowners alike are still being drawn to the new trendy manufactured stone. Remodeling magazine's 2016 Cost vs Value Report highlighted manufactured stone veneer as having the second highest ROI (return on investment) out of 27 home projects, with nearly 93% of the cost recouped at resale. Be vigilent in choosing your contractor to ensure the product is installed correctly and to avoid problems down the road.