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Installing Norstone Stone Veneer with a Vertical Orientation

Traditional stacked stone has what we refer to as a horizontal orientation, meaning the longest dimension of any piece of stone is going to be set parallel to the ground. Our Rock Panel system took that traditional concept one step further in that the panels themselves were designed to be 6” tall and 24” long, with all the stones that made up each of the panels also adhering to the same philosophy with the longest dimension coming along the 24” axis.

What we soon found out was that when you put great products in the hands of amazing architects and designers you’ll learn things about the product that you might had never considered before, such as changing the orientation of our product from horizontal to vertical. Specifically, that meant installing our Rock Panels with the 6” dimension running horizontally and the 24” dimension running vertically.

Norstone White Rock Panels installed vertically on commercial signage

One of the first times we saw our stacked stone rock panels get used in a vertical orientation was in the photo above which is at the entrance to a law office in Charlotte, NC. We were just getting started and had only been selling the product in the United States for less than a year and it really blew our minds that a product that we thought we knew so well could end up looking so different by simply rotating it 90 degrees during the installation.

Beyond just wanting to subtly change the look of an installation by opting for a vertical orientation, there are also a handful of technical or design related reasons to adopt a vertical orientation for a specific installation. These include:

  1. Vertically Oriented Rock Panels can be used on a tighter concave radius wall than a traditional horizontal orientation. For radius work, the primary variables to consider is the measurement of the radius itself, or simply how curved the wall is, and the horizontal dimension of the wall covering that is meant to go around the radius. By switching to a vertical orientation the 6” dimension of our panel products becomes the horizontal dimension and can easily be wrapped into tight concave radius walls like the circular stair landing shown here.

    Norstone White Rock Panels installed on a tight concave radius wall

  2. From a design standpoint, a vertical orientation of a stacked stone product provides much the same effect as vertical stripes in accentuating the height of a space. So if you have a space with low ceilings, like a basement man cave, vertically orienting stacked stone rock panels will help that space feel taller. On the opposite end of the spectrum, running rock panels vertically can serve to draw attention to an already high ceiling, making it truly the focal point of a space by drawing eyes upward.

Norstone Aksent 3D Panels installed vertically on the exterior of a bank designed to accentuate the height of the design feature

One of the main drawbacks to consider with a vertically oriented installation of stacked stone is how outside corners will work. Our corner units are designed to work along the 24” axis of the panels, so if the orientation is changed they will no longer line up against a vertical outside corner. If a project does require corners the best option is probably a pre-fabricated corner unit designed for tile or perhaps even a simple but join as seen in the photo below. Miter cuts could be made along the 24” axis, but would likely require a production level wet saw to make such a specialized cut along such a long dimension and it will also be difficult to keep some of the smaller stones together during the miter cut process, likely requiring some hand setting of small final pieces along a miter cut corner.

Norstone Askent 3D Panels installed on short columns using a simple but join corner in lieu of a miter or pre fabricated corner unit

A vertical orientation doesn’t make sense for every stacked stone veneer project, but its definitely worth considering if you have the right space, corners won’t be an issue, and the design aesthetic leans more towards modern.

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Norstone's New Dimensions in Natural Stone blog aims to discuss design themes, sources of inspiration, and how the world around us influences our creative interpretation and buying preferences.

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