Thin Stone Veneer vs. Full Thickness Building Stone

Natural stone be it thin or full opens up endless possibilities to truly take your home to the next level.  While both are excellent options, with thin stone veneer being a relative newcomer to the marketplace most people outside the masonry field find themselves wondering whether a thin stone veneer can be used instead of the full thickness stone.  Due to inquiries we’ve assembled this post to explain each and break down the differences between full and thin stone veneers.

Full Stone Veneer

Time-tested method of installation – Full stone veneer has long been the way of using natural stone for centuries.
Typically 3 to 5 inches in depth – Full veneer is sometimes referred to as 4-inch veneer or building stone veneer.
Requires a foundation footing – An important thing to keep in mind is that full stone veneer can only be used in applications where its thickness, weight and size have been carefully addressed and calculated by an architect. This means that a proper footing or shelf needs to be present, or the special strengthening of a floor.
Averages 35 to 40 square feet per ton – The weight of a full stone can vary per square foot depending on the type of rock it comes from, different stones have different densities. For example, granite has a higher density and is, therefore, heavier than a sandstone.
Price – The cost of the raw product is cheaper than thin stone however after freight and installation it will be more expensive.
Installation – A major consideration to be aware of is that the weight and size of full stone veneers makes it somewhat challenging to work with. Obviously, it is heavier than thin veneer materials and thus will take more time and effort to lift and install. In many cases, the process of trimming and sorting stones to make the pieces fit correctly can be time-consuming.

Natural Thin Stone Veneer

It may seem like a no-brainer, but as the name suggests, thin stone veneers are cut much thinner than their full stone counterparts. These sleek natural stone veneers as they are called are much lighter in weight than 4″ units which make it very easy to work with and economical to transport.  Thin stone veneers have only been around for a short time, truly emerging within the industry about a decade ago due to advancements in diamond blade technology.

The material is known for being very easy to work with, making for quick, efficient and affordable installations. As mentioned previously, the cost per square foot of thin veneers can initially be greater than that of full veneers, but other factors such as labor and installation costs can bring your overall expenses down, so be sure to take all things under consideration when making plans for your project.

Same high quality stone as full veneer – The thin stone is the same stone and will look exactly the same once installed.
Roughly one inch in depth and weighing approximately 13 pounds per square foot – This is particularly advantageous because it means that the materials can be applied to just about any structurally sound wall. You won’t have to stress about reworking your plans because the stone is too heavy or bulky.
Ease of Installation – Lightweight thin veneers are also much easier to handle than the full thickness stone. They’re easy to lift and there’s a reduced risk of injury during the process. Any cutting, trimming or setting that is necessary during the project can be completed much faster. The light weight and size of thin stone veneers can reduce installation expenses, you can expect to pay less in terms of labor. Full Installation Guide (PDF)
Ease of Transportation – The lighter weight of the product allows us to ship it throughout the country.  See our packaging and delivery article.
Roughly similar in weight to artificial stone – The thin stone is about the same weight as the fake stuff.
Requires no foundation footing – The stone is supported by the wall rather than the footing.  This makes it perfect for remodeling projects as well.
Durability – This is the biggest question we get from skeptics but assuming proper installation the durability is exactly the same.  They both lasts a lifetime and we offer a limited lifetime warranty.
Similar in costs to artificial stone – If it is all about price there are bottom of the barrel fake stones that cannot be beat but for a more “realistic” one the pricing is similar.  Why get something “realistic” when you can get the real thing?

Full Stone vs Thin Stone Veneer – Which is Right For You?

We produce and sell (via special order) full stone veneers of all of our products however the thin stones outsell the full stones 10/1.  With all of thin stone veneer’s benefits it is the obvious choice!