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Cost Analysis

Real Stone vs. Natural Stone
Full Stone vs. Veneer
Things that you need to consider before you start your project

The final cost of installing natural stone on personal residence or commercial building is the cost of both the stone and the labor combined. That cost equation has pushed the market from installing full bed depth natural stone in years gone by, to the majority of the market being the installation of natural stone thin veneer.

The big picture is this: the cost of labor has come down for installing "thin veneer" stone products as the knowledge and familiarity has risen on how to do it. Labor, in most markets around North America, is a greater portion of the overall cost of installation than the actual stone product. Full bed stone products normally cost less than most real stone thin veneer products, and they are normally sold by the ton or pound. On average, most full bed products will yield 30-45 square feet per ton of coverage. You'll have to make a cost conversion for what you paid per ton to how much it is costing you per square foot. [i.e. If you paid $400 per ton for the stone, and it yields 40 sq. ft. per ton, your cost for the stone only, is $10 per sq. ft.] Real Stone thin veneer is normally sold by the square foot for "flats," and by the linear foot for "corners." In most cases the cost per sq. ft. or linear foot may be a bit higher than the converted cost of full bed product. This is logical as the cost of the thin veneer is the cost of the full bed stone plus the labor to convert it into thin veneer. However, for the consumer, the savings is in the installation labor. The cost of labor to install real stone thin veneer, on average, is between 1/3 and 1/4 of the cost to install full bed real stone. In many markets that differential may be as much as 80%; in other words, the cost of installing natural stone thin veneer may be equal to paying only 20% of the cost of installing full bed natural stone in that market. The more expensive the labor in your market, the more true this is. 

You will have to do your own due diligence about finding the right mason for your job and estimating how much labor will cost you. We can almost guarantee the final cost of your project will always be less costly installing real stone thin veneer than real stone full bed material and the cost of the installing real natural stone will be very close to the cost of installing fake stone and real stone is environmentally friendly.

Many communities with higher standards of building requirements may require natural stone versus "fake" or man-made stone products. Natural Stone thin veneer is LEEDs certified and will meet your requirements, and save the customer project money. With a high quality natural stone thin veneer, and a good mason doing the installation, no-one will ever be able to tell the difference between a full bed versus thin veneer job.

Natural stone thin veneer is the real deal. It is just fabricated REAL STONE, in a "processing plant"." Unlike fake (aka "cultured," or "manufactured") stone, which is made of concrete, plaster and paint products - real stone "thin veneer" is a sawn off portion of the real version of the full stone (100% made by nature). It has all the properties of the full bed stone; including its hardness, color and natural beauty. It will not fade or deteriorate like the man made imitations. The normal specification is for the stone to have a new thickness of approximately 1" - 1 3/8" and a maximum weight of under 15 lbs per square foot.

One point to note is that the cheapest installer may not be the one you are looking for. For Muskoka Granite certified masons please visit the mason section on our web site. It is very unlikely a non-professional could successfully install full bed natural stone. However, it is possible that an average "handy-man" can install real stone thin veneer, and may really enjoy the process and reap great satisfaction.


Above: Muskoka Granite Square Cut Veneer

Below: Muskoka Granite 5 point veneer


Above: Muskoka Granite Ledgerock veneer

Below: Muskoka Granite Ashlar Veneer


Above: River Rock Veneer

Compare the real stone in the five pictures above to the fake stone below. 
Real Granite.....What you really want.


Above: non environmentally friendly fake stone with repeating patterns

We've removed the TON from STONE