When a large part of the exterior of a house is covered with a faux stone veneer, there are many locations each of which has its own method of protecting prior to the mortar application. There are inside and outside corners, vertical and horizontal trim members, windows and doors, etc. Suffice it to say that the stone veneer industry has done many studies and tests and has published very specific "best practices" diagrams. They are available in a variety of places on line and in classroom form, complete with workbooks and technical diagrams.
This house has a VARIETY of such locations, each of which should have been done correctly. One example is below, on the same new construction you have seen before --
Without getting too technical and posting architectural diagrams, this kind of thing is all over this house and it is a problem. It is a problem because it simply is not done correctly. With stone veneer things aren't simply nailed to the wall and surrounded by mortar. Basically,
- Wood has six sides, and all six need to be primed AND painted prior to installation. You can see paint on the mortar on the left. How about the rest?
- Mortar never touches wood products. There is defined separation with flashings (called casings or casing beads), backer rods and a caulking-type material.
- Windows are not waterproof when mortar surrounds them. The mortar will shrink and separate. Water will get in.
- Not only will the wood trim rot, but what is underneath can as well. It is hard to see under the stone! The framing around the windows will rot as water gets in there too. Once you realize there is a problem it is usually a BIG problem because it has been there a while.
The Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association has published, on line and in workbook form, over 50 diagrams which demonstrate best practices for such veneered stone. They can be viewed here:
As to the photo above, its proper application is described in diagrams 21 and 22.
My recommendation: Whenever you see faux stone veneer on a house just remember that it is not as simple as paste and mortar. There are very specific things necessary to make it a long-lasting application.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560