Many types of exterior house stone options can increase your home’s durability, market value, and aesthetic appeal. There are countless options for natural stone siding and faux stone panel siding, which can often become quite confusing when a decision needs to be made. Fortunately, you will find a comprehensible list of only the best exterior house stone options here.
What is exterior house stone?
Exterior house stone, otherwise known as stone siding or natural stone siding, refers to the material that makes up the outer walls of a house. There are many options for house exteriors that typically range from vinyl siding options to wood, cement, concrete, and brick.
The advantage of exterior house stone is the vast range of natural and artificial options available to homeowners. These appeal to a whole spectrum of budget types.
Related: What Is Siding In A House (Different Types Of Siding)
Types of exterior house stone
Many types of exterior house stone siding options are available in today’s modern era of housing. They can typically be divided into two categories, natural stone, and faux stone. Within each category is a plethora of exterior house stone options that each come with different benefits, shortcomings, and price points.
Here is a quick list of the exterior house stone sidings we will be covering in this article:
Natural stone exteriors
- Jerusalem stone
Faux stone exteriors
- Manufactured stone
- Cultured stone
- Veneer panel
- Fiber cement
Natural stone siding options
As one of the most popular exterior house stone options, granite stone siding offers high durability and an appealing look. It is commonly used as a construction material for its long-lasting properties, as it is one of the hardest stones in the world.
In addition, granite offers resistance to moisture, heat, and dents, making it an exceptional choice as an outer layer of protection for the house.
Granite stone siding offers an extensive range of color options and design choices and is available as a natural or polished texture. But, of course, like all materials, granite has drawbacks, one of which is its high price point and complex installation process.
Finally, it can be tedious material to work with and maintain in the long run. This typically incurs more unexpected costs down the line for maintenance and cleaning.
Like granite, marble siding is also a popular choice for construction material and has a wide range of applications from flooring to kitchen counters. And, of course, house exteriors. Among the more unique looks, marble showcases a smooth texture that symbolizes luxury and status.
You’ll typically find marble homes quite expensive compared to artificial exterior stone. However, marble is one of the most easily customizable materials for appearance. You can design your own patterns and swirls on the surface to display your artistic expression.
One of the fantastic things about marble is how clean its aesthetic appeal is and how equally easy it is to clean. There are no individual slabs and areas in-between them that are more prone to collecting dirt.
Of course, marble is far more than a pretty face, offering exceptional levels of durability and resistance to harsh weather elements. Unfortunately, while marble shares many benefits of durability and customizability with granite slabs, it also shares its shortcoming of being complicated to install.
As one of the most effective choices for house exteriors and wall cladding, limestone siding can easily be shaped to match your exact design preferences. Its aesthetic is quite luxurious and can give off a rustic texture for a traditional look.
Perhaps most notable of all its benefits, limestone siding gets better over time. In other words, it ages like fine wine. The more it is exposed to the daily elements of the outdoors, giving off an even more vintage look the older it gets.
Unlike granite and marble, however, limestone is prone to scratches and stains due to its highly porous nature. On the plus side, limestone siding has a few other drawbacks. It can even be a reasonably affordable option.
With proper maintenance and care, limestone siding is one of the most rewarding investments as a house exterior material. Its beauty is growing over time, with practicality and affordability.
Related: Porous vs. Non-Porous Surfaces: What’s the Difference
Sandstone is one of the most natural-looking exterior house stones on the market today, featuring a “sandy” look that gives off somewhat of a desert vibe. In addition, they can easily be customized thanks to the nature of their material which is easy to chisel and shape to a desired outcome.
Sandstone is also highly workable and incredibly durable. In addition, it can resist heat while offering an incredibly versatile composition whose installation process is far from labor-intensive.
The unique feature of sandstone as a house siding option is its color undergoes slight changes throughout the day. This is because the alternating position of the sun during its daily cycle profoundly affects this unique exterior stone, offering different shades and color tones throughout the day.
In addition, the reflective and organic sandstone separates it from other materials, making it one of the most beautiful stones for building a home exterior.
Made with a large silica composition, onyx is an exotic and rare material known for its highly translucent properties that give off a glossy look. This is because of the fine grains and bands of the actual stone material. This offers a wide variety of patterns and design choices for homeowners, making it a popular choice for exterior and interior designs.
Onyx is quite commonly found in darker tones such as black, gray, or brown. It can also feature a combination of colors for a unique patterned design, offering richness and luxuriousness to your home.
As you may expect, onyx is one of the more expensive options of real natural stone home exteriors, much like its marble and granite counterparts. However, unlike those mentioned, the reason that onyx can be quite costly is more to do with its rarity and difficulty to obtain than being a complex material to install and maintain.
Indeed, onyx is the stone material you are more likely to find in upper-class establishments such as fancy restaurants and mansions. You probably won’t see it in a common household on your local street. However, the latter is still possible to encounter.
Arguably the most versatile natural stone material is the infamous quartzite, one of Earth’s hardest-known natural stones. Denoted by its rustic characteristics and exceptional durability rivaling marble, quartzite offers a unique texture and opens the doors to a world of design options.
This real stone material be used as a protective layer for your home’s exterior. It can also be applied to interior floors, walls, and ceilings.
In terms of practical benefits, quartzite is quite similar to marble in that they are both highly durable and resistant to harsh weather. However, its unique sparkle that glows across the exterior stone surface sets quartzite apart from the rest. This lasts many years without any significant signs of diminishment.
Indeed, quartzite shines bright in versatility, customizability, and superior aesthetics, drawn back only by its high price point on par with granite.
A stone siding material that is often not talked about enough is flint. It is a sedimentary cryptocrystalline formed from the mineral quartz and often found in limestone. Flint is commonly used in construction buildings, farmhouses, and churches in European countries such as England (1).
It is a highly durable material and unlike the likes of marble and granite, flint is quite affordable for the average homeowner.
Flint is an ideal exterior stone siding material for natural stone cladding projects that promote protection for a structure such as a house or building. Additionally, it is a highly customizable material that is offered in a range of color schemes, including gray, black, blue, and bronze, for a modern contemporary look.
Few natural stones can offer versatility in design options, superiority in durability, and an affordable installation cost. Still, flint stands out as one of the best natural stone options for housing exteriors.
Often mistaken for granite because of its similar appearance and composition, gneiss is a widely distributed metamorphic rock. It is formed from high temperatures and high-pressure metamorphic processes on igneous rocks. Today, gneiss is one of the most commercially used natural stone materials for building house exteriors and siding.
Like granite, gneiss is highly durable and offers stunning aesthetics for your home. In addition, it projects luxuriousness and modern living through its small or large slabs layered artistically.
The unique swirly patterns are perhaps the most distinctive feature of gneiss that truly separates it from other materials (especially granite). This gives it a beautiful aesthetic that cannot be replicated.
In addition, its uneven and random patterned texture comes from flowy rivers and linear bands. This provides a unique artistic expression bound to appeal to many homeowners. To top it off, geniss is non-porous and chemical-free, offering high levels of moisture resistance and weather-proof properties.
Steatite is commonly known as soapstone, a metamorphic rock that contains large quantities of talc, a mineral rich in magnesium (2). It is a highly sturdy, long-lasting material that can resist heat and disastrous weather conditions.
Steatite is known for its unique texture resulting from the talc material, which gives it a “soapy” feeling. Hence it’s commonly referred to as soapstone.
One of the amazing benefits of steatite as a natural stone siding option for house exteriors is that it provides insulation from weather and sound outside. This gives your home’s interior a cool and peaceful vibe. In addition, you will typically find steatite in black, white, and grey colors, adding to its modern home design potential and contemporary aesthetic.
This natural stone material is also exceptionally versatile. It can be used for more than just exterior stone sidings and projects such as fountains and garden statues.
Slate is another metamorphic rock that is fine-grained and foliated. It is derived from a sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through processes of metamorphism. The material is quite strong and sturdy, providing protection and a solid foundation for various structures. This includes homes, buildings, and smaller structures like sheds and shacks.
Slate can resist heat in hot climates and keep your home warm in cold climates. This makes it an excellent material for natural stone siding all year round, regardless of your global location.
On top of that, slate is a highly versatile material that can take many forms. This makes it easier and more affordable to install than marble or granite and relatively easy to care for and maintain in the long term.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many color options, as slate typically only comes in dark shades such as black and grey. So, this material is not for you if you prefer a brighter look for your house exterior.
One of the slate’s major selling points is its low maintenance as it does not require repainting and resealing, as it effectively resists cracks and chips to its surface.
Despite being a combination of limestone and dolomite, Jerusalem stone is a naturally cultured stone siding. As a result, it became the primary building block material of the holy city of Jerusalem in the Middle East.
The material also strongly resists powerful winds and other harsh elements, such as heavy rainfall or extreme heat. One of the selling points of Jerusalem stone is its association with ancient building structures. Its vintage aesthetic transcends time and takes you to another world.
In terms of color options, Jerusalem stone offers a wide variety of choices that range from light brown and beige colors to dark greys and blacks. One of the amazing things about Jerusalem stone is its ability to be used for modern contemporary aesthetics while also appealing to those seeking a traditional look reminiscent of ancient times.
Indeed, Jerusalem stone is one of the few types of natural stone that combines the beauty of limestone with the durability of dolomite.
Commonly found on the floors of churches, ledgerstone is a natural stone slab that is typically used for engraving written words such as on tombstones. In addition, it is typically used in religious establishments to commemorate the deceased.
To some extent, this may sound morbid and off-putting, ledgerstone can be broken down into smaller slabs of natural stone. It can be used for house exteriors and siding projects.
Don’t worry. Your home won’t look like a gravestone or a church if you use ledgerstone for the exterior. It can be shifted and manipulated to have an ordinary appearance typical of any contemporary house design.
A standout feature of ledgerstone is its easy maintenance and installation process. It is highly workable and only requires a light clean periodically to maintain its beautiful appearance and natural aggregates.
Ledgerstone can be pretty beneficial for those who don’t want their home to stand out as a potential target for theft or other unwanted attention. It blends in well with the natural outdoor environment. Ledgerstone is also available in a vast range of color and style options, allowing you to control the shades and tones of your home’s exterior appearance to your specific desires.
Among the limestone, family is a natural stone known as travertine. This sedimentary rock is formed in hot springs and contains small natural cavities that results in a creamy color and a unique flowery pattern.
The cavities of travertine are a catch-22 of sorts, providing added durability when filled with grout in construction work. However, it can also be more prone to unwanted stains that are difficult to remove.
This can be a serious issue given that travertine’s selling point is its appearance. However, with proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy the lasting benefits of this type of limestone siding in the long run.
In addition to its awesome, durable properties, travertine is one of the most versatile materials in exterior and interior home design. It is commonly used for floors and walls and house siding.
Travertine is loved by homeowners not only because it’s easy to work with and can be shifted into different shapes and designs. It is also because of the vast spectrum of color schemes available with the material.
Travertine offers color choices that encompass bright, dark, and neutral colors. This is unlike other natural stone siding options, including black, brown, white, grey, blue, and even pink!
Related: How to Install a Stone Veneer Fireplace
Faux stone siding options
Manufactured stone siding can encompass a range of different stone materials. It only matters that they have undergone some artificial process involving human intervention. The purpose of manufactured stone exterior stone siding is to provide a cheaper alternative for homeowners. Who cannot afford the high prices of luxurious natural stones like marble and granite.
For this reason, manufactured stone siding is significantly more common than natural stone siding, and its features are usually comparable to the real thing.
The main advantage of manufactured stone siding is its durability and moisture resistance. In addition, it’s conveniently low maintenance and price point per square foot. Essentially, this type of exterior house stone siding works by imitating real stone materials such as granite or marble by using similar materials or a smaller portion of those natural stones.
Manufactured stone siding often has additional benefits that some natural stones may not offer, such as being fireproof and moisture resistant.
Often used in furniture, bedding, and carpets, polyurethane is a polymers composed of organic elements brought together by a chemical process. You will typically see polyurethane take on the form of a flexible foam material. For example, they can be contained in couch cushions and mattresses but can also be used for house exteriors and siding materials.
Using a polyurethane base, many house exteriors are made using faux stone siding panels. Ultimately, they take on the appearance of real natural quarried stone despite using an entirely different manufacturing process.
Of course, polyurethane is not suitable for house exteriors and siding. Still, when combined with other materials or even small portions of natural stone, it results in affordable solutions. Moreover, these can both look and behave closely to the real thing.
Working with this type of material is also significantly easier than natural stone. It is softer and more flexible, allowing shapeshifting and morphism to occur. In addition, polyurethane is a lightweight material that provides easy and convenient installation and maintenance, providing a less labor-intensive manufacturing and building process.
On the downside, polyurethane-based faux stone siding is not quite as durable as real stone siding. In addition, the foundation material is quite soft and is more prone to being influenced by extreme temperatures.
The material can also be more fragile in the face of chemical exposure and is even flammable. So, extra precautions must be taken to add layers of fireproof coating to ensure optimal performance and maximum safety.
While the installation process is not so labor intensive, it still requires a level of expertise best achieved by a professional.
Vinyl is a synthetic resin material made of polyvinyl chloride and was best known for making old record discs.
Nowadays, vinyl is more commonly used for house exteriors. It is typically combined with other materials such as fiber cement, stucco, wood, or steel to form a faux stone siding option that is durable and visually appealing.
Like most faux stone siding, vinyl siding offers a more affordable option than natural stone siding. It delivers a similar level of durability and aesthetic appearance.
The amazing thing about vinyl is that it can replicate the same visual appearance of natural solid stone siding. What looks like natural stone will feel like plastic or fiber cement upon touch due to the combination of such materials during its manufacturing.
In addition to its convincing stone imitation, vinyl stone siding is offered in various colors and design choices to suit the needs of all kinds of homeowners.
Veneer panel stone siding features a combination of faux stone and natural stone to deliver the benefits of both routes at a reasonable price. It isn’t too far from reach but also not for budget buyers.
This type of exterior house stone siding is made using synthetic materials. Mix it with natural stone aggregates and apply the result to a panel system to make installation simple.
The obvious benefit of manufactured stone veneer siding is its affordability compared to real stone siding. Additional benefits include wide availability on the market and fantastic workability.
Similar to installing tiles, it can be easy to build a house exterior using individual stone veneers. You can position them along the outer wall of the home panel by panel.
As such, you can often save costs by doing it yourself instead of hiring a professional, provided you have the skills to get the job done. Ultimately, you can solve many issues with natural stone by opting for manufactured veneer panel stone siding options. This includes things such as price, complex maintenance, and labor-intensive installation,
On the downside, veneer panel stone siding is not quite as durable or long-lasting as natural stone house exteriors. This is due to the mixing of less sturdy materials together. Unlike vinyl siding, faux stone veneer does not imitate the appearance of real stone siding quite as accurately. Therefore, it may not satisfy some particularly critical homeowners.
It is also not mass-produced to the same degree as vinyl siding. As a result, you may encounter maintenance issues over time, such as the fading of colors and potential problems related to moisture exposure. This is particularly true if the installation was not up to par.
Last on this list is fiber cement siding which may not necessarily contain any natural stone in its composition. Still, it can certainly be manufactured in a way that gives the appearance of real exterior house stones.
As its name suggests, this material is made of cement reinforced with fibers. This creates an extra strong and sturdy material that is designed to last the distance.
Not all fiber cement resembles stone house exteriors. So one should ensure that the design and pattern is made to comprise an individual square or rectangular tiles thoughtfully positioned in a grid-like fashion.
There are many benefits to using fiber cement despite its lack of authentic stone materials. You will find it offers an equally effective level of fireproof properties and heat resistance. It is also highly versatile and can imitate many natural materials such as stone, brick, metal, and wood.
Of course, fiber cement is often available for house exterior siding at a low price (though still higher than vinyl) and is also fairly easy to maintain.
Fiber cement is certainly not without its drawbacks. Most prominent of all is its lack of moisture resistance which results in chips and cracks in the surface. It may be easy to maintain in terms of ease, but the durability of fiber cement, in the long run, can prove to be tedious because of how often it needs to be tended.
Such maintenance tasks involve repainting when the color wears off and resealing holes and cracks because of its poor resistance to moisture and dents.
Final thoughts on types of exterior house stone
As you can see from the vast listings above, countless types of exterior house stone siding are available for the everyday homeowner. Each offers unique benefits while carrying equally unique shortcomings. Nevertheless, you must take control over the type of exterior house stone for your home as it is one of the most long-term investments you will make.
Remember, you are not stuck with the house siding that your home came with. By exploring your options in line with your budget and needs, you can make big changes to your home’s appearance for the better.
Types of exterior house stone FAQ
Which stone is best for exterior of house?
There are countless stone siding options for the exterior of your house and many can be deemed as high-quality effective solutions that offer durability, aesthetics, and practicality. It would be hard to go past marble or granite regarding long-lasting results and unmatched aesthetic appearance.
However, if you seek a cheaper alternative that more or less looks the same, then you may want to try faux stone panel siding.
What is stone on the outside of a house called?
The stone on the outside of a house is referred to as exterior house stone or simply stone siding, both of which refer to the stone material that encompass the outer walls of such houses. This outer layer of the home can be made up of natural stone or faux (artificial) stone, with common options including marble, granite, quartzite, and onyx among many others.
What type of stone is used in exterior walls?
Many types of stones are used for the exterior walls of a house or building. They typically promote durability, sturdiness, visual appeal, and high resistance to harsh outdoor weather elements. Popular choices include granite and marble, while more affordable choices include faux stone panel siding and vinyl.
What stone is used on houses?
Some of the most commonly used stone on houses include marble, granite, and quartzite. However, you will find developers using large amounts of artificially manufactured stone siding on houses nowadays. This is because of their greater affordability and increased flexibility, making installation and maintenance more simplified and cost-effective.
How long does stone exterior last?
Natural stone exteriors typically last longer than faux ones before maintenance and repairs are required. Therefore, natural stone house exteriors can last an entire lifetime and beyond with proper care.
What are the pros and cons of a stone house?
The main benefits of a stone house include high levels of durability and sturdiness, beautiful aesthetics, and visual appeal. However, some of the cons include a lack of flexibility in the material and high price points for installation.