Stone veneer siding is a beautiful investment in your home. The precision work your stone siding contractor has done no doubt makes your house pop with style and color, and makes you smile every time you pull in your driveway. That’s a feeling you want to maintain over the lifetime of your stone siding, which is why knowing how to properly care for your new stone veneer exterior is so valuable.
Your manufacturer’s warranty depends on how well you care for your siding. Often, damage that results from improper cleaning and maintenance voids the warranty — and no one wants that to happen! So, our John McCarter Construction siding contractor team has put together a handy list of tips and techniques that will help you correctly, safely clean and tend to your stone veneer siding, ensuring it retains its lovely appearance and function for years to come.
1. Perform Regular Inspections
Making a habit of periodically inspecting your stone siding for damaged or loose stones is an important way to keep your home exterior looking attractive. It also helps ensure your siding lasts as long as possible. Every six months or so, perform a routine check of your home’s exterior. It only takes a few minutes, and it can save you from serious unattended damage. And since you’re probably already inspecting windows, gutters and other exterior elements of your home as part of your regular maintenance routine, all you need to do is spend a little added time checking the condition of your cultured stone siding too.
After strong storms come through the area, make time to examine your stone siding for signs of damage — such as loose stones, missing pieces, and cracks. Even stone veneer siding can be damaged due to ice and hail, or loosened by high winds. If your stone veneer is grouted, the grout can wear down, leading to loosened or missing veneer. Cracks on the tops of stones can signal wear that, if unaddressed, can lead to larger issues.
2. Perform Regular “Repointing”
Repointing, also called tuckpointing, is the term used to describe the process of cutting out damaged or weakened mortar joints in a masonry wall and filling in those joints with fresh mortar. It’s an essential task in maintaining brick, stone and other forms of masonry.
If you want to take on the task yourself, remember to wear latex gloves when working with newly mixed mortar. To repoint veneer stone siding, fill a mortar bag with vinyl infused patching mortar. Match your new grout with the older by adding grout color. Place a medium tip on the bag, and use it to apply just enough mortar into every crevice or crack around the stones in your veneer. Using a damp, gloved finger, work mortar into the cracks to create a smooth, finished surface. Allow the repairs to dry overnight; then inspect the work, and apply additional mortar if drying has opened the gap again. This will restore and strengthen your siding.
And remember, our team is always here to help repair or install beautiful stone veneer when you need us.
3. Use Gentle Cleansers Appropriate for Stone Veneer
Cultured or concrete stone veneer siding can be more susceptible to damage from various cleaning chemicals than most natural stone exteriors. Extra precaution is needed if your cultured stone veneer is to be washed.
Fill a bucket with warm water and a small amount of vinegar. Dish soap is also fine for making a mild cleanser for stone veneer. Scrub the stone siding lightly with a soft, wet sponge dipped in the solution, rinsing the sponge often to prevent rubbing dirt back onto the siding. After gently applying the cleaning solution, rinse the veneer with fresh water from a garden hose to ensure no soapy residue is left.
To save time and physical effort, a gentle buffing or polishing tool, set on a medium speed, can be used if needed. Reapply soap and water with a wet sponge, then carefully address the siding with the tool.
4. Know What Cleaning Accessories to Avoid
While cultured stone siding is pretty easy to clean, there are still some precautions to remember. Using a soft bristle brush is fine, but avoid using wire brushes. They could leave irreparable scratches and marks that ruin the look of your house. The same goes for pressure sprayers, which can dig into the stone veneer siding in mere seconds.
Acidic cleaning materials, which are intended for natural stone, can completely alter the look and integrity of your cultured, veneer stone siding and should be avoided. Do not apply any chemical or acid-based cleaners directly to your stone siding surface. Products like these can leave noticeable stains to the finish if they are too strong of a solution.
5. Apply a Protective Sealer
Using a sealant can prolong the life of your siding, provided you use breathable sealers made for stained concrete. The reason is that veneer is porous and needs to maintain equilibrium to the humidity in the air through slight swelling and shrinking as moisture increases and decreases. Read the instructions of the sealer carefully, and apply two coats when possible. Do not apply more sealer than recommended by the manufacturer. Too much sealer will inhibit your siding’s ability to breathe.
As you take great care of your lovely stone veneer siding using these valuable and effective maintenance tips, you may notice other areas of your home are in need of some attention. Match your beautiful stone siding with exquisite new doors, energy-efficient window replacements, or a brand-new roof. We’re here to assist you with all those needs so you have a home you love. Contact us to learn more.