Stone Cladding lends a timeless, natural aesthetic to a built surface while being weather proof and relatively maintenance free. The challenges and limitations of stone cladding boil down to the size, quality and weight of available materials and the skill of the contractor required to achieve the desired finish.
Richter Stone-Veneer, a newly available innovation in cladding, is set to change the cladding game completely. Now skilled contractors as well as DIY enthusiasts can create beautiful, even, stone-clad finishes composed of real stone with a fraction of the weight of traditional cladding, while requiring minimal skill and effort to apply. The Granite Company, based in Cape Town, have recently become suppliers of this German-engineered technical innovation, making it easily available for the first time in Southern Africa.
The stone veneer is actual quarried stone with all its time-etched character and beauty, backed with a resin and glass fibre reinforcement. It’s light, flexible and has a uniform thickness that can be easily installed by relatively unskilled hands. Imagine laying down flexible sheets of linoleum tiling cut with wood working tools and you’ll have a pretty close idea of the installation process. This unique, state-of-the-art cladding product is available in thicknesses from around 2mm and weights as little as 2kg per m2. It’s flexible nature also means it’s easily applied to curved surfaces, opening up new design possibilities that were difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the past. Being composed of real stone, it’s weatherproof and ready for outdoor or interior and requires the same minimal upkeep as traditional stone cladding.
The extremely light weight of the stone veneer means the usual structural considerations associated with traditional cladding can be completely done away with. For example, granites, slates and quartzites weigh at least 60kg per m2 for 20mm thicknesses (17m2 and you have 1 ton of material). An average weight for stone veneer is around 2kg per m2 with the Microstone variation weighing even less. Factor this in to a building plan and suddenly walls and surfaces that could never conceivably handle the weight of stone now become canvasses.
Another huge advantage of Richter Stone-Veneer is its available dimensions. Regular stone tiles are typically available in relatively small sizes and become unwieldy to handle and install as they get bigger and heavier. Stone veneer comes standard as 1220 by 610mm sheets with up to 2800 by 1250mm sheets available as well. This means massive areas of single-tiled surfaces now become easily achievable. The stone veneer is also simple to cut making any required tile size a cinch. The tiling pattern is no longer dictated by the supplier’s available sizes but instead fully in the hands of the designer.
Richter Stone-Veneer is also more environmentally friendly than traditional cladding. By using far less stone in the cladding process quarries become able to supply for many times longer, thus heavily reducing the environmental impact.
Author: Matthew Ziranek