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Value Propositions: Stone Masonry

When you’re building a new home, there are so many items to select, you will literally make hundreds of decisions as you go through the process. Having a firm idea of your budget (about things like whether you want stone masonry in your log home) is critical.

Enlisting the aid of a designer or architect will make the process of narrowing choices easier and help ensure you get the most for your money. Logs aside, some of the other big-ticket items in your build include windows, doors, flooring, roofing and stone masonry. Here’s a look at some of the factors that determine costs of these materials, what you get for the money and how to make smart choices.

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Stone Masonry

A stone fireplace is at the heart of many dream log homes. Costs for this amenity can vary widely depending on your choice of real full-stone masonry, thin-cut natural stone or manufactured (cultured) stone veneer. A skilled stone mason is essential to have on your construction team if you opt for a full-dimensional stone for your fireplace. When determining cost, you must look at materials and labor costs together: Cultured stone materials may cost more but will require less labor than real stone masonry.

Value Fireplace with cultured stone made from stone aggregates and cement, formed with molds and coloring

Pros:

  • Lightweight, so no foundation footer or structural reinforcement is needed
  • Installation is easy — can be a DIY project
  • A variety of realistic-looking stone is available
  • Fire-resistant

Cons:

  • Materials cost can be high
  • Not structural, so it must be attached to a framed wall (an added expense to factor into the overall cost)

Splurge Fireplace with full, natural stone

Pros:

  • Classic log home look
  • Wide variety of stone types and cuts available
  • Durable
  • Fire-resistant
  • May even be able to use stone excavated from your property (i.e., free!)

Cons:

  • Shipping costs can be expensive due to weight
  • Skilled mason required for construction
  • Foundation footer and structural engineering are often necessary

Cost of ownership: Once they are installed, many homeowners are unable to distinguish between full masonry and cultured or manufactured materials. Let your masonry-materials choice echo the level of amenities in the rest of your home.