Houses faced with artificial stone are gaining more and more popularity lately. And although the very technology of making artificial stone is already more than 70 years old, in our country it began to be used only at the end of the 20th century. The delightful and unique architecture of medieval castles, luxurious palaces attracts, but due to the design features and high prices, not everyone can afford to order the facade decoration with natural stone. In this regard, artificial material is an excellent alternative.
Artificial facing facade stone
Ease of installation, high technical features, a variety of colors distinguish artificial stone favorably among other finishing materials.
The facade of the house is covered with dark artificial stone
Of course, it is in many ways inferior to the stone of natural origin. But modern manufacturing technology makes it possible to achieve such a variety of colors and textures, to increase its technical characteristics, that in many cases artificial stone can seriously compete with materials of natural origin.
An artificial stone can be a full-fledged substitute for a natural one
In this article we will tell you about the technical features of an artificial stone and will teach you step by step how to complete finishing work and properly revet the house with artificial stone.
Facing the house with artificial stone
Artificial stone can be classified by production technology and components included in the composition. There are two technologies for the production of artificial stone.
Vibration casting technology for the production of decorative stone
But, in the end, the cost of the facing material comes out less, since less manual labor is used in the manufacture. Vibrocompression is usually practiced in large factories and requires special training of personnel.
Vibration pressing, workshop
Before talking about the advantages and disadvantages of this material, you need to understand what it is made of and what affects its operational properties.
The composition includes sand, cement and various chemical additives.It is thanks to the addition of various chemicals and acrylic compounds that manufacturers achieve an amazing similarity of the material with granite, marble, onyx, jasper, limestone, etc.
Depending on the filler fraction, a certain structure of the stone is achieved. The larger the crushed stone chips will be introduced into the mixture, the more porous and more structured the resulting material will be. A special pigment is responsible for the color, which has increased resistance to UV rays. Even after 15-20 years, the facade, finished with artificial stone, retains its original color. Binders, fillers and colorants are used as the main components.
What is the material for artificial stone
There are several main types of materials that are used in the production of artificial stone.
The tiles can be of any finish, texture and color.
Such an artificial stone is highly resistant to deformation and frost. But a significant disadvantage can be called exposure to ultraviolet radiation, abrasion.
The technology for the production of artificial stone allows you to create material of different shapes.
Standard tiles, long panels, irregularly shaped bars or precision-made stone allow for any design idea.
Types of decorative artificial stone
According to its appearance, artificial stone is of the following types:
Liquid stone based on polyester resins
Facing artificial stone
Very often houses decorated with artificial stone can be found in northern latitudes.
This is due to the poor thermal conductivity of the material. During the production of the stone, bubbles remain in it, which, like foam, do not allow cold air to pass through. Thus, a house faced with artificial stone often does not need additional insulation. These bubbles also create a sound barrier. In such houses, it is especially cozy and quiet, since extraneous sounds from the street do not penetrate well inside.
Facing the house with artificial stone as additional insulation
Another advantage is weight. At the first glance at the house, in the decoration of which artificial stone was used, one gets the impression of a mighty monumental building. However, this impression is misleading. The weight of individual slabs is much lighter than bricks, which allows such cladding to be used on thin walls made of foam blocks, etc. This also reduces shrinkage during house operation and extends the service life.
Where there is no way to sheathe a house with natural stone without damaging the supporting structures, artificial stone becomes an excellent alternative. Even frame and wooden houses can be faced with this material.
An interesting option for finishing the facade
The rest of the advantages of decorative stone are associated with the installation technology. Unlike brick, which is often used in facade decoration, special glue is used for fastening. As a result, fewer gaps are formed during operation, which also contributes to heat retention.
In the photo - finishing the basement with decorative stone
The material itself does not require antiseptic treatment, mold and fungi do not form on it and other microorganisms. It is very malleable and you can easily make grooves for electrical wiring in it. Even after the completion of construction and finishing the facade, if necessary, you can always make additional openings in the stone.
So, summing up all the advantages, the following advantages can be distinguished:
An increasingly popular finishing material - imitation of natural stone or brickwork
Compared to ordinary natural stone, artificial stone is less durable.
Average exploitation of the material is no more than 20-25 years. The material is very fragile. It is about transportation and installation. Therefore, during work, you need to be very careful not to damage fragile plates.
Another significant drawback is the permeability of the material.
The stone consists of concrete and if it is exposed to contact with water for a long time, then its operational properties may be impaired. After installation and special processing, the technical properties of the artificial stone are significantly improved. Therefore, the disadvantage associated with water permeability must be taken into account during the transportation and storage of the stone (this is typical only for some types of material).
Brick-like facade tile
When further maintaining the facade, lined with artificial stone, you need to take into account its low resistance to abrasive substances. It is better to choose mild detergents that will not destroy the outer shell of the stone.
Despite the amazing beauty of the facades, which are faced with artificial stone, the installation process is not as complicated as it seems at first glance. Accurately following the step-by-step instructions, even a beginner will be able to decorate a house with artificial stone with high quality and beautifully.
Important! The temperature for finishing works of the facade should be in the range of 5-25 degrees Celsius, otherwise the laying technology may be violated, which will reduce the operational properties of the material.
There are two ways to lay artificial stone: wet and dry.
Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages, so when choosing, take into account the characteristics of the house, the budget and the material chosen for the building cladding.
Wet styling has nothing to do with moisture or water. The method got its name due to the fact that the facing is made on glue (cement) mortars, and the "dry" method involves fixing the stone with screws (self-tapping screws) to a pre-assembled frame.
Fastening the stone to the glue
Wet technology is performed more quickly, because the preparatory work does not imply the installation of the frame. Slabs of stone are tightly adjacent to one another.
You can create decorative seams, retreating no more than 12 mm between the stones, but then you will need a special grouting mixture to seal the joints. Typically, this technology is used for houses that do not require additional insulation and the preparatory stage will only be high-quality wall cleaning and a primer.
Advantages of the "wet" method:
This method is not suitable for high-rise buildings, and the service life of the cladding is much lower in comparison with the "dry" method. Average service life is 20-25 years.
While with the dry method, the period can be increased to 40 years.
"Dry" method creates the correct air gap that protects the building from overheating and hypothermia. Installation can be carried out at almost any temperature, since there are no special requirements for materials. As for the additional care of such a structure, it is quite simple and practical. You can always quickly replace one element with another.
Advantages of the "dry" method:
Tools for cladding the facade with artificial stone
Of the materials for the "wet" cladding method you will need:
The whole process can be divided into 5 stages:
Align the walls. We remove all door and window frames and thoroughly clean the surface. The evenness of the walls and the thoroughness of the preparation largely depends on the material itself. If cladding with relief slabs with pointed uneven edges is supposed, then you can simply level the surface and check the plane with a building level. Please note that control of a flat plane should be carried out not only vertically and horizontally, but also in a diagonal direction.
If the distance between the rule and the wall is not more than 4 mm, then you can immediately start finishing work.Too obvious irregularities must be carefully plaster and let the mortar dry well (at least 24 hours).
Leveling the walls before finishing
Step 2. Priming the walls. This is a mandatory step that protects the wall from the spread of mold, mildew and other microorganisms.
In addition, the correct primer will significantly increase the hydrophobic properties.
Step 3. Before finishing work, carefully refer to the instructions on the adhesive to ensure the correct masonry temperature is selected. Consider also that the working state of the solution is no more than 60 minutes. Therefore, knead exactly as much glue (cement) as you can handle at one time.
Weber-vetonit ultra fix facade cladding adhesive
Step 4. You can, of course, choose a ready-made "wet" mixture, which will not regulate the time of the masonry process, but the best are adhesive solutions prepared from dry ingredients directly at work.
Step 1. Prepare the material with which we will sheathe the walls.
Check each tile carefully for defects and possible defects. The slightest crack, chip can spoil the appearance of the facade, so feel free to put aside all the defective parts, they can then be used in places with less visibility. Consider the color scheme of the stone. Try to evenly distribute color accents so that after cladding on the wall, too obvious stains do not form. It is better to open several packages of material at once and take several pieces from each.
Store all blanks that match in color and structure at once in one place to facilitate the masonry process in the future.
Step 2 . If necessary, the tiles can be adjusted to the desired size using a circular plate.
Cutting the stone
Step 3. If you want to create a beautiful pattern from the slabs around the door or window openings, it is better to immediately spread the workpieces on the ground, and after that take a stone and fasten it to the wall.
Step 4. Now all the selected workpiece material must be thoroughly cleaned with a metal bristle brush from dust and dirt.
Preparation of the finishing material for installation
Step 1 . Choose the way you will lay the stones: seamless or with jointing.
When facing a façade with jointing, control the distance between the slabs and try to avoid straight horizontal or vertical lines. With the seamless method, it is important to ideally match the shape of the stones themselves, so that they fit as tightly as possible to each other.
Step 2. If you chose the "seamless" method, then you will need to move from bottom to top, carefully placing the top row of tiles on the bottom.
Apply glue to the back of the tile and the work surface of the wall to which you are going to attach the stone, avoiding the compound on the face of the stone. Wait a few seconds and press firmly. You do not need to be zealous in order not to damage the integrity of the tile. Carefully remove the remnants of the squeezed out glue with a rag. Make sure that some of the glue comes out all the time, otherwise the stone will not be firmly fixed on the wall.
If you have chosen a seamless method, then glue not only the back of the tile, but also the side parts well with glue, so that it adheres more tightly to each other. This is not necessary with the jointing method.
Apply adhesive with a notched trowel
Glue application pattern
Step 4 . When laying tiles near door and window openings, start at the corners, and then move to the side. If you use tiles of the same shape, then always check the horizontal line with the level.
It doesn't matter when stacking shapeless stones.
Laying decorative tiles
Remove any glue on the face of the stone
With the oiled side, the element is laid on the finishing surface, slightly moved and pressed down
Start at the corners
Laying stone with your own hands
Technology of laying facing tiles
Step 5. The bottom layer of masonry should be at the level of 60-70 mm from the ground. Otherwise, due to the high moisture content of the soil, the stone may fall off.
Mounting the corner pieces
Allow the surface finished with decorative stone to dry (24 hours)
This step will protect the facade from moisture penetration and provide reliable sealing. If for decorative reasons you want to highlight the seams on the facade, then add a little pigment to the ready-made mixture. Trowelling works, as a rule, are performed one day after the facade cladding.
Grouting with the package
If you chose seamless masonry, this does not mean that you need to skip this step. Simply the solution is applied neatly between the tiles using a pastry bag (try using a regular plastic bag, cut the corner to the width of the seam).
You can take a special construction gun for grouting, which will facilitate the process. If some of the grout spills onto the face of the tile, remove immediately with a dry cloth.
The "jointing" method is easier. Use a trowel to carefully apply the grout to the joint to avoid staining the front of the tile. Iron the stitches after 30 minutes.
Take a brush and apply a special composition (water repellent) in a thin layer to all elements of the masonry. Do not forget to brush over all the drops of the elements in order to apply the composition to the entire stone.
As you can see, the process of laying artificial stone is quite simple, and its color variety, strength and affordable price will allow for you to decorate the facade of your house beautifully and practically.
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