Full Bed Building Stone Veneer versus Thin Stone Veneer

By: Carina Martins



Full Bed Building Stone Veneer versus Thin Stone Veneer

A timeless design is only as good as the materials used. Stone veneering can make any project sophisticated. There are two different types of Natural Stone Veneer:

Building Stone Veneer, also know as Full Bed:

The Building Stone Veneer is a full profile stone veneer that ranges from 3-5” thickness and is recognized as the heaviest and densest out of all the stone options. These stone structures require ledge footing and possibly extra support to reinforce the weight of the materials that are mortared onto the concrete or wooden frame. Due to the weight load, wall ties are also required during installation and a sturdy backing at its core. A professional mason is required to hand-chip each stone and install properly and safely. When well-built and suitably maintained, the Building Stone Veneer provide a magnificent, resilient and long-lasting project.


Time-tested method of installation – Building Stone Veneer has been the way of using natural stone for centuries;

Typically 3 to 5 inches in depth – Building Stone Veneer is sometimes referred to as a 4-inch veneer or Full Stone Veneer also know as Full Bed;

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 a 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 a 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 the Thin Stone Veneer, 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 a Building Stone Veneer makes it somewhat challenging to work with. Obviously, it is heavier than the Thin Stone 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.


Thin Stone Veneer:

The Thin-Cut Natural Stone Veneer is created by cutting the Building Stone Veneer into a thickness down to about 1-1/2”, making it just as aesthetic as a full profile stone, but with less heft and expense. This stone retains its natural texture and color because it’s a Real Stone. Not being as heavy as a Building Stone Veneer, there is no need for special footings, which allows it to be used in both new construction and renovation projects. The thin-cut stones are mortared to a concrete or wooden frame and can be used in a variety of applications such as fireplace, front of the house bump out, backsplash, foundations, interior walls and much more to bring out its natural beauty and character. Thin Stone Veneer will provide a unique beauty with a maintenance-free quality.


Same high-quality stone as Building Stone Veneer – The Thin Stone Veneer 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 Stone 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;

Ease of transportation – The lighter weight of the product allows us to ship it throughout the country;

Roughly similar in weight to artificial stone – the Thin Stone Veneer 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. Both, Building Stone Veneer and Thin Stone Veneer lasts a lifetime!


Cuts available:

Both, Building Stone Veneer and Thin Stone Veneer come in six popular shapes:

Ledgestone, Mosaic, Ashlar, Square-Recs, Rounds and Strips.


Building Stone Veneer or Thin Stone Veneer – Which is Right For You?

With all this information in mind, now you can begin to address the question of whether full stone or thin stone veneer is the right fit for you project. The decision-making process can still seem overwhelming. To make it easier, you simply need to ask yourself a few questions:

Where is my project located?

One of the first things you should think about is where your work will be taking place – indoors or outdoors.

Indoor projects are often a lot smaller and simpler in nature. It may be something small like covering up a fireplace or creating an elegant wall or a backsplash. This type of work lends itself to thin stone veneer. This is because the stone can be installed very quickly and easily.

If your project will be completely outdoors, on the other hand, you may want to evaluate whether the structure can handle the weight of a full stone veneer which will best to withstand the elements.

Are there any weight restrictions?

This is where a thorough and accurate assessment of your project needs to be completed. We would advise that you hire an expert to walk you through this process so that there is nothing left to question.

A professional will be able to tell you if the structure will be able to withstand the heavier weight of a Building Stone Veneer materials or if the entire project or specific project areas would be better suited to something more lightweight.

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