This is the first post in our series on manufactured stone.
As a manufacturer that offers a 50-year warranty on manufactured stone, we obviously want homeowners to enjoy their product for 50 years and beyond. There are some specific things masons can do with wall preparation to ensure a long-lasting manufactured stone installation.
Hit the stud
The wire needs to be installed to the wall using a nail that penetrates the stud by 1½” – 2”. Many times on jobsites you’ll see guys shooting nails into the wall with no real pattern. So ultimately what they’re doing is shooting hundreds or thousands of holes through the moisture barrier, and missing the studs.
Usually you can start to see the effects of this after two years of freezing and thawing, and then the wire begins to buckle because the nails didn’t go through a stud, but just the sheeting which may just be OSB. You have thousands of pounds of stone ultimately being held up by next to nothing because they didn’t hit a stud. So it begins to buckle, the joints between the manufactured stone begin to crack, and water begins to infiltrate the job. In these cases the manufactured stone installation may begin to fail in the first five years simply due to improper wall preparation.
Wrap the corners
The number one problem I’m seeing with wrapping corners is on homes with vinyl siding on the sides and manufactured stone on the front. The mason needs to wrap the corner to meet the vinyl siding. The vinyl siding ends with a piece of J-channel and the mason wraps the wire around the corner to the side that has the vinyl. In most cases, he can’t get all the way to the next stud, which may be 6-8” beyond the edge of the siding. So instead of removing the J-channel and wrapping the corner correctly to hit a stud, they are often wrapping the corner, tucking the edge of the wire behind the J-channel and maybe throwing a few staples in. So now you might have a 12’ – 18’ high corner that has quite a bit of weight on it and since the corner is the weakest point in the entire installation once there’s any movement at all the corners and joints will begin to crack.
[caption id="attachment_157" align="alignright" width="300"] Corner using Heritage Stone by ProVia
Another improper manufactured stone installation technique I’ve seen is where the mason will end the wire at the corners instead of wrapping it around. This is pretty easy to identify because as you look at the corners they are all cracked down the middle. Any movement whatsoever will crack the corners. Especially in a new construction application, where the house will naturally settle.
The rule of thumb for wrapping corners is - always to go the next stud, which means you’re going at least 16”. In many cases, the better masons will go to the second stud in which provides quite a bit more strength to the corner.
These are some of the keys to ensuring that your manufactured stone installation will look it’s best for years to come. At ProVia, these are the kinds of details we care passionately about.