As stone masons, we see a bare concrete foundation as a clean canvas waiting for us to work the magic of our craft. Stone veneer is a straightforward way to enhance the look of just about any home—regardless of its design.
Faux vs. real stone. At grade level, foundation veneer is apt to sustain damage from routine activities and wear and tear. With faux stone, the color is only on the surface, so abrasions, chipping, or cutting exposes the base color, usually gray or light tan. Even so, until recently, manufactured (aka faux) stone was the material of choice for foundation veneer, because it was much less expensive than natural stone. Advances in cutting technology, however, have brought the cost of natural stone down to nearly that of faux stone, making it more affordable.
Two challenges. On this slab-on-grade home in northern Vermont, the garage foundation was plain concrete, while the rest of the foundation was insulated with rigid foam. We used two different approaches to applying the veneer (see Stone-Veneered Foundation). While stone readily adheres to bare concrete, the rigid foam insulation required metal lath with a scratch coat of Type-S mortar, which gave the veneer a good surface to adhere to.
For a dry-laid look, we added black tint to the mortar, which made it less visible through the gaps between stones. A bluestone cap was added as a design element after we’d finished much of the veneer.
Photos by Tim Healey