Stone cladding is very useful when building fireplaces, columns, interior and exterior walls, pavement, etc. Stone cladding is used as decoration or for insulation. It is extremely useful for hotter places, because of the coolness it offers in summer. Usually an additional layer is installed for insulation against the cold in winter.
Natural stone cladding vs. manufactured stone cladding
Nowadays cladding is made not only of natural stones, but also of manufactured ones, which are specially created for this purpose.
Manufactured stones are designed so as to resemble the natural stones and are used mainly for decoration. They are lighter (which makes them easier to install) and can be found in a wide variety of colours. However, as far as strength is concerned, natural stones beat them. What is more, they easily lose their initial qualities, their price is not always lower and they require more frequent maintenance. All this shows how investment in manufactured stones might seem advantageous at first sight, but this is far from the truth.
As to natural stone cladding, it is frequently made of gneiss, limestone, granite, marble, etc. Natural stones have thermal insulation properties, and some can even insulate noise. Furthermore, they have great strength, do not change their colour over time and show resistance to weather changes. Unlike manufactured stones, these can be used again and again for different purposes.
Choice of appropriate natural stone cladding
When you are choosing stones for pavement, you’d better select polished stones, which have greater strength and do not wear out easily. But if you need materials for a facade, you’d better choose lighter, cold-resistant stones, which absorb water and moisture.
You can find a huge variety of natural stone cladding, the most universal and frequently used cladding being made of gneiss slates. When choosing gneiss, you’d better buy directly from companies that process it rather than from resellers, because the prices are much lower. Besides, you have warranty as regards the quality of the product you are buying.
The hugest gneiss fields in Bulgaria are located in the Western Rhodope Mountains in the region of Gotse Delchev and in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains near Ivaylovgrad. The stone that is extracted in the region of Ivaylovgrad is noted for its strength and resistance to external influences. Due to those advantages Ivaylovgrad gneiss is preferred for external cladding and pavement, which will be used more intensively and will be exposed to changeable weather conditions.
Maintenance of stone-clad walls
The maintenance of natural stones requires very little efforts, but, of course, it is important for what purposes you will be using them. After installation they are isealed: with the use of special sealers a protective layer is created and it not only preserves, but even highlights the natural colour of the stone, protects it from dirt and moisture and prevents the formation of mould. In fact natural stone cladding makes walls extremely durable and once built, no further investment in repair and maintenance is required.