The installation of stone look tile flooring or walls is an excellent alternative to natural stone walls or flooring, making the look of stone an affordable part of your home renovations.
Stone Look Tile Flooring and Weathered Stone
In this exclusive interview with Sean Howard of SHP, Inc, you'll discover just how useful and practical a faux stone installation can be. Weathered Stone is a product offered by Sean Howard Productions in Fairhope, Alabama. In this interview, Sean discusses some of the pros and cons of using stone look tile flooring or wall coverings, and how you can make it an affordable and durable part of your remodeling project.
About Weathered Stone
LoveToKnow (LTK): Your company, Weathered Stone, offers a unique faux stone product that looks almost exactly like natural stone once it is installed - could you share the early history of this product? Who came up with the idea and how was it created?
Sean Howard (SH): It is kind of a funny story. After college in Mechanical Engineering school, I decided to follow a passion of being an artist. I chose faux finishing as my form of expression. After a few years of doing this, I realized that though it was a satisfying profession and I had trained a few apprentices, I was really only going to be as good as what I could personally do on the wall. I had an opportunity to do a project in Destin, Florida that came from a referral. I decided to do the finish I was performing on the wall as a wall covering. The owner of the project asked for a sample; I made it and it was accepted. It was supposed to be an aged plaster look installed in 6 ft wide sheets in a 30 ft high office building foyer. I produced it in a 10 ft X 20 ft storage building, and used an abandoned parking lot to color the product.
Once on site, we glued the pieces and found that it was too heavy to even lift up to put on the wall. Looking at the decor of the building I saw that it was very gothic, and decided that the best course of action was to cut the pieces in squares and install it to look like large stone blocks. After we spent a day installing one full wall, the owner came in and asked me, "Is that what I bought?" My answer was, "Not exactly, but I felt this was better because it would make your building look like a castle." His responded, "You know what, you're right - it looks great! What do you call it?" Off the cuff I said, "Weathered Stone." He loved it, and Weathered Stone was born. It has changed dramatically over the years. I have worked very hard to make it more durable and easy to install, and in 2004 I found what I felt was the best formula, and then proceeded with the patenting process. In 2008, the patent was approved.
Using Faux Stone in a Home
LTK: In your experience, what rooms or areas of rooms seem to be the best for the look of stone?
SH: The wonderful thing about stone is that it can enhance the look of any room. It is a timeless design element that will add value and interest to any room. In larger homes we usually install it in a foyer for dramatic impact. In medium sized homes it is mostly installed along a fireplace wall or in a dining room. In small homes it can be used as a backsplash or on an accent wall.
LTK: Is faux stone resilient enough to be used as flooring, and in what rooms would you recommend this type of use? Is it waterproof enough for a bathroom?
SH: One of the points to the patent of Weathered Stone is that it will absorb whatever adhesive you are using. On the wall we use a standard commercial wall covering adhesive. On the floors we switch to a mortar based adhesive. This gives the product more durability, and with an added clear coating it is suitable for flooring and countertops. On the walls of a bathroom Weathered Stone works wonders. It is a "breathable" product that allows moisture to travel through, so high humidity does not become trapped and cause a mildew issue.
LTK: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using faux stone instead of natural stone in home renovation projects?
SH: The major advantage is cost savings over real stone. Other advantages include ease of installation and the ability to remove it if the owner wants to change the look of the room. The major disadvantage is that although it looks like real stone, it is not as durable. The durability level of Weathered Stone is equal to that of a wood floor
How to Install Stone Look Products
LTK: When you install the Weathered Stone faux stone product, what does the installation process entail, and is it a lot more or less than the installation of natural stone?
SH: Most of the installation techniques are similar to wall coverings, even if being installed on a countertop or floor. The benefit is that it is much easier to install than real stone. Many homeowners can successfully install it themselves.
LTK: Is grout used with faux stone only to give it a natural appearance, or is the grout more than just cosmetic?
SH: The grouting process has two main benefits. It gives Weathered Stone the depth that is needed to deliver the look and appearance of real stone, and it also acts as a colorant. Therefore if the product is ever damaged by a nick, ding, or nail hole it can easily be repaired.
LTK: Can homeowners install their own faux stone product, or is it best left to professional installers?
SH: For simple installations such as a backsplash or a single accent wall we have had great success with allowing homeowners to install their own product. When it comes to installing archways, molding, flooring, or countertops we recommend using a Certified Weathered Stone Installer. Our certified installers have attended training seminars and have access to detailed technical information.
LoveToKnow Home Improvement would like to thank Sean Howard for sharing this information, and these tips for readers who are interested in installing stone look tile flooring, countertops, walls and more. Natural stone will always be a unique and timeless decor choice, and faux stone products like Weathered Stone offer homeowners a high quality alternative.