Exterior Granite Cladding

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Architects: Showcase your next project through Architizer and sign up for our inspirational newsletter. Naturally occurring, stone has been a staple of building materials since the beginning of time.

The major benefits of stone cladding are its strength, durability and aesthetic appeal. With a myriad of possibilities that can enhance the look of any exterior or interior, having a sound understanding of stone cladding is paramount to ensuring proper usage within your project.

In order to gather the knowledge to elevate your next stone-clad project, Architizer spoke with Sander Nauenberg of Island Stone. A&T HOUSE by Ariasrecalde Taller de Arquitectura is clad in marble by MACAEL MARBLE. To achieve a safe and reliable fixing system for stone cladding, it is essential to fully consider the implications of the weight and properties of natural stone, early on in the design work.

Where Can Granite Wall Cladding Be Used?

“Weight is the primary area of concern when building with stone. Fundamentally, you are talking about adhering or attaching a very heavy material to a vertical surface,” said Nauenberg. Traditional Handset Cladding: Traditional handset cladding is a longstanding building practice whereby natural stone is fixed to a pre-constructed backing structure. Together, these components provide the exterior envelope for a building. Traditional handset cladding systems transfer the weight of the heavy stone to load bearing fixings situated at the floor plates.

These systems must include both movement joints and compression joints. The most common types of natural stone used for with traditional handset façade cladding systems are granite, limestone and sandstone, however marble and slate are also used. Sea City Museum by Wilkinson Eyre Architects; image via ArchDaily. Rainscreen Principle: Natural stone is gaining increasing popularity as a material harnessed to create dramatic and high-performing rainscreen façades.

Stone panels are installed onto the building face using either a concealed system or an exposed clip system. Stone-clad rainscreen façades are most commonly back-ventilated and consist of an interior drainage cavity, which helps swiftly remove any moisture that may seep behind. Rustic Golden Slate Corridor; image via Island Stone.