Natural Stone Grades

14 Aug

In the world of architectural stone, there are more and more options available to the building market. Along with the extended choices, comes some confusion over terminology. To help with this confusion we would like to take a moment to explain the different options available with natural stone.

Full Thickness: Stone with natural bed depth; bed depth is the measurement from the face of the rock to the install surface. Natural bed depths range with types of stone and the grade of stone. Higher face values will, generally, increase the bed depth. A good general gauge for ledge is a bed depth of 3″-5″, which has a wide range of face values for visual interest and variety. The weight averages 60 pounds per square foot. A differential in depth is desirable as it allows for more movement across the face of a project and creates interesting eye appeal.

Cut Back: Natural stone can be sawn, or have a “cut back” to create depth, with variation in relief along the surface. The stone’s most desirable face is turned out and the parallel edge is sawn at a bed depth chosen by the client. Cut backs can come in a 2″, 3″, 4″, 5″, 6″ or 7″ bed depth. This option gives the illusion of a thicker stone, without the weight of full thickness stone. Cut Backs offer consistent bed depths and cuts down on installation time. Weights will range from 27 pounds to 93 pounds per square foot.

Thin Veneer: Thin veneer is commonly misconstrued as artificial rock, while it is indeed natural stone. Most natural stone is a veneer, or facing installed over the front of the sub surface. With natural stone thin veneer, the stone is cut similarly to the cut backs but with an average bed depth of 1”. The actual finished bed depths will range from 3/4″ to 1 1/4″, due to the natural surface of individual stones. Thin veneer can be installed anywhere artificial stone is called for because of the drastically decreased weight of only 13 pounds (on average) per square foot. The benefits are the look and feel of natural stone, without the structural requirements of full thickness stone.

We hope this has helped to answer some of your questions! Check back for more informational blogs!