Unturned Stones: How Installation Helps a Stone ‘Live Its Best Life’
Unturned Stones is an informative new series uncovering answers to your greatest questions in stone
Architect: Richard Beard Architects; Interior Designer: Kelly Hohla Interiors; Contractor: Peninsula Custom Homes; Landscape Architect: Lutsko Associates; Installer: Walton & Sons Masonry
Installation is critical to the success of any stonework project. Even the most beautiful stones can lose their appeal unless they are installed properly.
As Maiden Stone’s Founder and President Sandra Jonas Desguin explains, when it comes to installation, ‘you get what you pay for.’ In other words, it’s best not to cut corners when it comes to selecting the stone for the project . A good installer is also a critical component to ensure that the stone is not compromised in any way and that the final project is not only one that looks aesthetically pleasing, but also endures over time.
To optimize the stone’s appearance, careful and thoughtful attention must be paid to how it is placed in its new environment. A poor installation can ruin an entire project, which makes it critical to get it right the first time.
Photo: Dry lay blended sandstone paving
As you consider the installation process, it’s important to keep in mind that no two projects are the same. Different environments can create different challenges for how the stone will look over time. While stone does indeed live forever, certain elements create more wear and tear than others. Water, for example, is stone’s greatest enemy.
“Water damage can result in people believing that the stone is failing, but that’s not the case. It’s how the stone was installed. Proper installation ensures that the stone lives its best life.
“If it’s not set properly, where water is trapped or washing over it — or any unplanned contact -— you’re going to have issues,” explains Hal McCullough, Maiden Stone’s Sales & Project Manager. “Water damage can result in people believing that the stone is failing, but that’s not the case. It’s how the stone was installed. Proper installation ensures that the stone lives its best life.”
When it comes to masonry best practices, McCullough says that installers should be mindful to keep an eye on each stone as it’s being installed on-site. He recommends that installers pull from all crates of an item so that there’s an even mix of all the natural stone variations. Some projects though require more careful attention to detail.
Photo: Dry lay Aegean Vein Cut Shagreen
“If you have a skilled installer and a stone is consistent, you have a winning formula for a great job,” McCullough says. “If there are any variations in the stone or ‘activity,’ as it’s called, it takes a more artistic approach to set the stone correctly.”
Enter Maiden Stone’s unique process called blended numbered dry laying. Although Maiden Stone does not offer installation services, the team takes the guesswork out of stone installation by leveraging its factory and expertise to ‘build’ the project in advance at the factory. This involves laying the stone out, numbering it sequentially, and crating in the same order, so that it can be installed seamlessly. It’s up to the installer, however, to ensure that they’re following these directions and numbers accordingly.
Photo: Dry lay Jet Mist Granite veneer
This unique process, though not exclusive to Maiden Stone, is one of the ways the company stands out among others. With the understanding that the success of a project hinges on how it is installed, Maiden Stone delivers on its promise to create exceptional stonework by meticulously preparing the stones for shipment. This is particularly evident in projects where the stone is more complex.
The benefit of blended numbered dry laying is that it can produce an exceptional installation that perfectly reflects how that stone exists in nature. Stones with a lot of activity can be used on a project to appear more harmonious when installed following dry-lay sequencing.