One of the many benefits of using natural stone in and around the home is the many different styles and personas that stone can take. For many years the trend was to use only stone tiles that had been cut and polished to a high shine, but newer trends are beginning to turn toward stone that is left in a more natural and organic state. To that end, one of the many stone trends that is coming up again and again at home shows and in spec homes is stone wall cladding.
Wall cladding uses a natural cleft-faced stone like slate or quartzite that has been cut into strips or pieces of varying widths, lengths, and thicknesses. Some companies produce what is known as a “V” tile or a piece of stone that is thicker at one end than at the other to produce an effect as if the stone is being woven across the wall.
Stone wall cladding is a very popular technique for covering fireplaces, backsplashes, and other interior walls. This type of installation is not meant to be grouted, because the pieces of stone are fitted so tightly together. Because of this, wall cladding is not meant to be used in wet areas such as bathrooms, but used properly, these unique stone installations can be used to great effect in living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens as accent walls where some extra texture and color is needed on the wall.
Stone wall cladding installs very similarly to other types of stone tile. It requires a no-slump, white, latex-additive thin set mortar that has been keyed to a consistent depth. The pieces should be dry fit ahead of time to help ensure good color placement, blending, and a pleasing arrangement of the different pieces. Depending on the manufacturer, there may be specific patterns the cladding is meant to be worked into, or it can be arranged at the installer’s prerogative.
So for home’s following the trend of using natural materials left as close to their original state as possible, consider some stone cladding for the walls.