Faux cement siding, also known as architectural stone or manufactured stone veneer, differs from natural stone in that it is made from portland cement and colored with iron oxides. This makes it easier to provide a broader range of colors to the homeowner. It is also a little easier to work with, and much lighter than natural stone.
There are no stones in faux stone siding. The cement and colorants are mixed into a liquid state and poured in the molds that look like real stone, or it can be molded into panels.
The pricing of faux cement siding is about half that of natural stone because it is mass-produced, but looks are much the same. Either can add to the resale value of a property, and both are extremely durable when placed next to other siding products.
Installation methods for the two are slightly different. With natural stone, every installation is slightly different depending on the shape and color of the stone being used. Faux stone is already colored, giving it a more even coloring. With faux stone, the homeowner has a broader choice of colors.
Basic installation can be done a few ways.Â Faux stone can be dry stacked, where the stones are stacked flush with each other, and no grout is needed. It can be grouted, with a clean line from grout showing between the stones. To get the look of aged stone, it can be overgrouted, where an uneven grout line is produced.
Small projects can be done by the homeowner as long as he or she has some experience with masonry and stucco. Otherwise, it is best to hire a professional for the installation.
The outside of the house is prepared with a house wrap vapor barrier, then a wire lath is installed over that. This is then coated with cement stucco to cover the lath.
The stone itself is installed using a cement spread over both the wall and the back of the stone. The stone is then pressed into place, with carefully measured space for the mortar between the rocks. The mortar is then piped into the cracks, with a tool that looks much like an icing bag for cake decoration. The mortar is smoothed, and the stone buffed to remove excess mortar. A seal is then applied.
Faux cement siding is designed to be low maintenance. Hose it off about twice a year to retain color.