Natural Face Stone

Natural limestones, sandstones and granites have been used worldwide for centuries as a building material, because of their appearance and availability as well as their strength and durability.

The economics of traditional stonework are however severely constrained by the sizes of the stone blocks that are quarried, the dimensions of the individual facings that can be gained from them and, in consequence, the costs of their individual handling and fixing at site. The use of stone-faced precast concrete panels provides a practical and economic solution, by enabling many individual stone facings to be pre-assembled with a reinforced concrete backing into large panels off-site and thereby the opportunity to realise the benefits of precast cladding construction.

These benefits of stone-faced precast concrete cladding panels typically include:

  • The cost-saving opportunity to use thinner stone facings. Whereas 40mm facings of granite and hard limestone and 75mm facings of soft limestone are generally required for traditional handset stonework, these may be reduced respectively to 30mm and 50mm for precast concrete cladding purposes, because the spans between their anchorage points are shorter;
  • The ready opportunity to incorporate cornices, bands, sills, soffits, window reveals and other feature sections;
  • A capacity to span between floor slabs or structural columns, thereby dispensing with the need for any secondary backing structure;
  • Deliveries on a just-in-time basis from an off-site store of completed and QA-inspected panels to suit site progress, thereby avoiding the need to double handle, hoist and distribute individual stone facings through temporary on-site storage areas;
  • Safe and efficient methods of installation without the need for an external mason’s scaffold;
  • The option of panels being delivered to site with factory-fixed insulation to enhance their thermal performance;
  • The option of panels being delivered with off-site framed and glazed window apertures.

The use of large precast cladding panels with integral limestone, sandstone and granite facings also enables the structural frame to be enclosed rapidly and efficiently, thereby facilitating an earlier start-on-site by following trades and, consequently, the project’s earlier practical completion. This affords the building owners valuable opportunities to reduce interim funding costs and to realise an earlier return on their overall investment.