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Community and Q&A

Energy issues with stone veneer walls?

michaelbluejay | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

I have to drill through a west-facing stone veneer wall for a mini-split install, which made me consider that maybe I should just go ahead and remove that whole section of veneer and replace with fiber-cement, thinking there might be some energy advantage, but I’m not sure.

For sure, the stones absorb hot Texas heat in the summer which telegraph into the house.  But in the winter, maybe they absorb enough heat to balance out the penalty in the summer?

So I searched around, here and elsewhere, and didn’t find much, except a stone seller is touting stone veneer as *energy-efficient*:

“Natural thin stone veneer siding contributes significantly towards energy efficiency. Being a natural insulator, it keeps buildings warmer during winters and cooler during summers thereby cutting down heating and cooling costs considerably. Stoneyard’s premium quality thin stone veneer siding can make your home more energy efficient while adding an elegant touch with its unique textures.”

This strikes me as absurd B.S., but maybe I’m missing something.  Am I missing something?

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  1. Expert Member
    DCcontrarian | | #1

    What's in the wall is more important than what's on it. What really matters is the insulation level in the wall.
    And yes, that marketing material is absurd BS.

    1. michaelbluejay | | #2

      Thank you. Yes, insulation in the wall matters, but the amount of insulation in the wall is the same no matter what kind of siding I have. Given that , do you think stone veneer is worse than fiber-cement? They're both masonry-type products, but fiber-cement is a lot thinner. On the other hand, as I mentioned, seems like stone is worse in summer and better in winter, so that might net out to neutral.

      1. Expert Member
        DCcontrarian | | #3

        I suspect that stone absorbs a lot less heat than you think it does.

        1. michaelbluejay | | #4

          I was picking up rocks from the yard today and they were too hot to hold. So there's that.

          1. Expert Member
            Michael Maines | | #5

            DC is right, stone veneer doesn't "hold" a lot of heat (in terms of actual BTUs) and won't make much difference in your energy use or comfort. Airtightness and whole-wall insulation levels are by far the most important elements of a wall's performance.

  2. matthew25 | | #6

    If the comparison is between stone veneer attached directly to the sheathing vs siding installed over furring strips/rainscreen, I would bet that there is a significant energy difference. That added ventilation will keep the wall cooler in summer.

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