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The Importance of Vetting Your Natural Stone Veneer Manufacturer

On any construction project, big or small, it really pays to do your homework on all the products that are being used. Each of these products will get tested in its own way on your project, so making sure the product selected meets the requirements of the project is an important step that must not be missed. Natural stone veneer and the companies that manufacture them are pretty easy to vet because the product is ultimately not that complex and a good manufacturer should have all have the information you need to verify the applicability of their product against your requirements quickly and easily. Here are a few things to consider when vetting a natural stone veneer manufacturer for your next project.

Are your product questions easily answered?

A good natural stone veneer manufacturer should be easy to approach and answer any question you have about their product and its applicability for your specific project conditions without any hesitation. Important details, like what type of stone the veneer is made out of, can it be used exterior or is it interior only, and can the stone be used in submerged applications or freeze-thaw climates are some examples of questions that a natural stone veneer manufacturer should have no problem answering and as appropriate providing the appropriate testing documentation. Even better if those questions can be answered via online resources on the manufacturer’s website or a specific technical services phone number.

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Further investigation would be recommended if the manufacturer can’t provide concrete documentation on a specific requirement that is applicable to your project. For example, if you are installing stone veneer exterior in a freeze-thaw climate and the manufacturer can’t provide independent lab certified freeze thaw testing you might consider another natural stone veneer that has had the testing done and results available to view.

Do they have project photos?

A good litmus test of any natural stone veneer manufacturer is the quality of the project photos on their website and printed literature. An immediate red flag would be the absence of any photos, photos that look like computer renderings, or close up photos of just the product itself (normally taken on a factory floor somewhere!) and not of actual completed projects.

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Further, do the project photos the stone veneer manufacturer provides come up on par with the project you are working on? Whether you’re designing a feature wall on a new restaurant or a fireplace remodel on your own home, a manufacturer that can’t show they’ve worked on projects at a specific level it might be because the products simply don’t look as good as the alternatives.

And lastly, are there a lot of photos – not just one or two? A manufacturer can claim they’ve been around for a long time on an “about us” page but can they back up that claim with a large body of work.

Are they experts in the industry?

Another good way to vet a natural stone veneer manufacturer is to try and understand their position in the natural stone veneer industry as a whole. Do they work with and / or have affiliations with industry associations like the Marble Institute of America and the Tile Council of North America? Are they active on social media channels and share more than just information about the it products? Have the won awards, received recommendations or accolades from trusted companies and individuals in the construction and architecture & design community?

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Selecting a natural stone veneer for any project just on price is a risky proposition, as the cost of rework on a product installed incorrectly or not suited for a specific application will almost immediately outpace any difference in the starting price difference between any two natural stone veneer options. Natural stone is a veneer option that can outlast almost any structure so Norstone encourages all consumers of natural stone veneer, for any size project, to consider who the team is behind the stone and pick the best option for each project.

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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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