Wall cladding, primarily external, is an integral part of a structure. It serves mainly as protection, but we can also install it for aesthetic appeal. For these purposes, one of our favorite materials is lightweight stone.
Lightweight stone cladding is an exceptional invention in the field of construction. It allows us to combine two materials we initially used for cladding individually. Therefore, we also benefit from both of their qualities and characteristics.
In this article, you will learn about how lightweight stone cladding is superior compared to other materials. We will tackle the following:
- what is in them;
- how they work;
- some things to consider before choosing the laminated stone cladding.
What Is Lightweight Stone?
As a starter, lightweight stones are a type of stone composite in the form of laminates. They are composed of:
- a natural stone sheet and;
- a backing or base panel
The stone sheet can be as thin as 5 mm, but we can adjust the thickness to fit the client’s preference and according to what is appropriate for the project.
Using aerospace epoxy, we will attach the backing or base panel to the stone sheet. The backing can be 10 to 15 mm, and also adjustable to fit the project requirements.
In the creation of lightweight cladding, we are talking about any stone that we like. Whether marble or granite, we can manufacture it as long as the stone fulfills the right strength (compressive, flexural, and tensile).
As for the base material, we published a comprehensive article about the types and how to choose from them.
How Do They Work In Cladding?
Our explanation may be long, but you only have to remember one word throughout this article. The word that we associate with lightweight stone cladding is “easy” because:
- they are easier to install;
- they are easier to maintain and;
- they are easier to ship.
Installing an external wall cladding made with pure and natural stone can take some time, especially if the structure has wide walls. The latter are usually present with multistory buildings, but it can also happen with single-floored properties like a bungalow.
While we are not discouraging the use of traditional stones or even other materials like aluminum or bricks, using lightweight cladding is much more time and manpower efficient.
This is an improvement in building and construction. Aside from the wide variety of choices that the laminated stone cladding offers, it allows us to finish projects quicker than we usually would at a relatively lower cost.
Curtain Wall System (External)
To dive more into its installation processes, we use the curtain wall system for the exterior. This system involves a substructure—particularly an aluminum framing—that we attach to the walls of the main structure. We prefer using this method for multistory buildings as well.
Moreover, curtain walling is specifically for lightweight materials like metal or glass, which we can combine with the natural stone sheet as the base panel (we will only have to choose one, though!).
To attach or hang the laminated stone panels, we use clip angles. The latter secures the cladding to the aluminum framing, which then transfers the weight of the materials to the main structure.
The entire process only takes two weeks or even less. It may be hard to imagine that constructing a part of an edifice can take as short as two weeks, but it becomes possible with lightweight cladding.
Direct-Adhered Method (Internal)
For internal wall cladding using lightweight stones, we can attach it using adhesives. This is what we call the direct-adhered method and we can only recommend this for interior use.
There are tons of adhesives available on the market. Ensure that you choose a product that is compatible with the backing material of the laminated stone panels. We also recommend cleaning the walls before the installation for a smooth process.
One of the benefits of using lightweight cladding is easy cleaning and maintenance.
We always tell our project clients that they don’t have to worry about their cladding looking unpleasant. Because aside from the mild effort necessary, we don’t have to clean it often.
Lightweight stone cladding doesn’t usually get dirty. When they do, we don’t need a fancy cleaner as a solution.
- For laminated stone cladding in the interior, we can use a spray bottle with warm water mixed with a mild detergent soap that has a neutral pH level (7).
We prefer a soft-bristled brush or a chamois cloth for manually removing dirt. Using warm water in a spray is good for rinsing everything from the cladding.
- For external lightweight cladding, we can use the same solution. With the application, however, it will be more efficient to utilize a pump sprayer to quickly cover all the parts of a building wall.
A structure requires adequate preservation methods for it to last, and the wall makes up a large part of a structure. Having wall cladding that doesn’t need continuous maintenance is a relief and an improvement to the field of construction.
While lightweight stone veneers are easier to ship, we still need to apply effort so they will arrive at the destination without damage.
The problem with exporting natural stones lies in their delicateness. We should have the necessary packaging materials like bubble wrap, styrofoam, and secured crates. The stones should also be intact together.
Too much space allowance will make the traditional stone cladding move and receive impact while in transit. While we also take care of lightweight stones in these situations, they are generally less fragile and don’t require expensive cargo protection.
Pros of Lightweight Stone Cladding Over Other Materials
If you are undecided about whether to get laminated stone cladding or other cladding materials, we provided comparisons for you.
Traditional Stone vs. Lightweight Stone
The durability of using pure natural stone as wall cladding is trustworthy. However, here are the things that you have to consider if you are planning to envelop the building with traditional stones.
|Traditional Stone Cladding||Lightweight Stone Cladding|
|has a variety of designs depending on the kind of stone durable, but affected by weathering can be expensive depending on the rarity and quality of the stone requires a bit more maintenance than lightweight cladding||also has a variety of designs since Sinodec uses natural stones as the top sheet has a higher resistance to weathering because of its base panel lighter and thinner than traditional stone the base panel complements the natural stone (i.e., onyx paired with glass will provide glow)|
Metal vs. Lightweight Stone
Metal is another popular material for cladding because of its neat appearance. Like laminated stones, metal doesn’t require rigorous maintenance which is a benefit.
|Metal Cladding||Lightweight Stone Cladding|
|economical lightweight easy installation not resistant to dents and outdoor noise limited choices of design||lightweight and easy to install cost-effective provides soundproofing benefits has a wide variety of appearances depending on the stone|
The two common metals in cladding is aluminum and steel. Metal wall cladding has advantages that we transferred to lightweight stones through lamination.
That is why with lightweight cladding, we can use any stone and aluminum (honeycomb) at the same time, reaping the benefits of both materials.
Vinyl vs. Lightweight Stone
Securing walls with cladding made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a more budget-friendly method compared with other ones.
The only problem that we have with this material is its resistance is not as strong as stones.
|Vinyl Cladding||Lightweight Stone Cladding|
|lightweight easy to install customizable with different colors limited resistance to heat and fire||stones have different colors and patterns heat and fire resistant|
Lightweight stone cladding is redefining construction through its qualities. The latter paves the way for easier installation but still provides protection and durability to the structure.
The convenience that comes with laminated stone cladding also stems from the combination of the materials: the stone sheet and the base panel. We take advantage of the good qualities of these parts without affecting the weight.
It is also helpful that lightweight cladding doesn’t need extra attention for maintenance. We can preserve its characteristics through simple cleaning methods.