Eco-Friendly Landscaping & Stone Veneer Ideas That Will Help You Rock Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Eco-Friendly Landscaping & Stone Veneer Ideas That Will Help You Rock Your Home’s Curb Appeal

eco-friendly-homes Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplace

Stone is all the rage these days. Recalling the old-time carriage houses and mansions of the East Coast and the Old World, many people are turning to exterior stone to give their homes an instant facelift and the charm that comes with all things antique.

Paired with this emphasis on the antiquated is an equally strong desire to be forward-thinking and protect our Planet Earth. One of the best ways to marry these two values with your home is to design an ecological landscape that matches your home’s outward appearance. If you would like to match your landscape to your home the “green” way, here are five environmentally friendly ideas to help you do it.

1. Match Existing Siding to Exterior Stone

Cobble Stack Stone 11

Our Cobble Stack Stone Veneer

Exterior stone is one of the best ways to give your home an instant makeover without requiring demolishing parts of it and using a bunch of chemically treated building supplies or other toxic materials. Instead, you can simply install stone veneer which can be applied right over a rigid surface like plywood, concrete block or brick. Siding that has ridges would have to be removed first.

Once you do, it’s easy to match any stone you use in your hardscaping to the color of your home. You can either choose to match very closely (we custom color stone veneer!), or you can use colors in the same tonal range – think beige stone with hints of burgundy paired with the off-white colored slate on your patio.

Check Out Our Stone Veneer Color Sample Boards HERE

2. Pick Plants That Complement Stone Color

exterior siding 01

You can also complement your stone veneer siding with plants in the yard. If you opt for blue tones, for instance, then planting Mediterranean herbs such as sage, rosemary and oregano will always look beautiful and be easy maintenance (just water them every day to every other day and pick/trim them every once in a while and they will keep growing!).

When it comes to trees and bushes, evergreens such as blue spruce, arbor vitae and juniper all have dark and cool tones that will offset your stone, no matter what color you choose for your stone. For flowers, you really can’t go wrong no matter what colors! Pick the colors that make you feel happy and will complement your exterior all summer long.

ECO TIP: Use Rain Barrels To Collect Water! More on that and other water saving tips for your home here

3. Opt for Water-Wise Herbs, Grasses and Succulents

Plants that don’t need a lot of water accomplish multiple goals. For one thing, they reduce the impact of using a precious resource. For another, they save you a lot of time and trouble, because once established, they can survive with only the rainwater available in your region. Hardy herbs, grasses and sedges, and succulents and cactuses are all great options.

Check Out Our Large Selection Of Stone Veneer Styles HERE

4. Use Stone Veneer for Outdoor Accents

unnamed (19)Once you’ve picked the exterior stone you love on your house, you can always match your other outdoor installations to it. Using the same shade and style of stone veneer on your shed or mailbox is a beautiful effect. On the other hand, if you have a visible chimney on the outside of your home, you might consider covering it with fireplace stone that stands in contrast to the rest of the exterior stone on your home: a nice dark brown color stone veneer for the chimney, say, paired with blue or tan stone on the rest of the home.

Take A Look At Some Of Our Indoor Stone Veneer Fireplaces To Match Your Home’s Exterior Stone

5. Match Landscaping Rock to Your Facade And Rock Your Curb Appeal

stone veneerLandscaping with gravel, rocks and pebbles is a great way to reduce the amount of water and time you need to devote to your yard. Choose rocks that work well with the color of your home’s exterior, to create a visually appealing effect from the street. You could even line a fountain with stone pieces or scatter natural river rock around the outside of a pond. As long as the shades are in the same color family, the effect will be beautiful.

See? Who knew it could be so easy to plan an environmentally friendly yard that looks beautiful and helps the planet? Now you’ve got tons of ideas for your next eco-friendly outdoor update. Stay tuned for the next in our latest Eco-Friendly series coming soon!

Are you thinking of adding stone veneer to your home? We can help you get ideas. From updating your fireplace with stone to adding to updating your home’s exterior siding with stone, we can help. Contact us here! 

5 Environmental Benefits of Exterior Stone Siding

5 Environmental Benefits of Exterior Stone Siding

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

Exterior stone siding is a trend that has caught on in recent years, offering homeowners a beautiful and affordable way to improve the curb appeal of their homes without substantially renovating. But many folks these days are concerned with making sure that not only do their homes look nice, they also don’t impact the environment.

If this describes you, we’ve got good news: Stone siding is not only lovely, it’s a great way to update your house without contributing nearly as much toxic byproduct to our ecosystem. Plus, it brings plenty of other benefits as well. Let’s talk about five of the best.

1. Stone Is Insulating

Insulation is a big deal. If your home is properly insulated, you’ll expend less energy (and spend less money!) keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Stone, which is naturally resistant to shifts in temperature and doesn’t respond to changes in weather as quickly as other types of siding, is a great choice for natural climate control.

2. Manufactured Stone Reduces Quarrying of Scarce Natural Resources

Many types of “real” stone are quarried, which leads to chemical runoff, leaching of toxins into groundwater and ecosystem disruption. Our stone, made from concrete, requires much fewer quarried inputs than other types, and is therefore much better for the environment as a whole.

3. Stone is Fire Retardant

One of the biggest dangers with chemical-heavy siding such as plastic and treated wood is that they will release toxins into the air in case of fire. Stone, however, is fire retardant, decreasing the chances that a fire will release those unhealthy toxins into the air. Even if your house never catches fire – which is unlikely, of course – treated lumber or plastic used as siding can still release chemicals, which we will discuss in a moment.

As an additional benefit, there’s often no need to remove many materials in order to install stone siding. Unlike with some other renovation projects, where you might have to remove many parts of the home (potentially exposing harmful minerals such as asbestos), we can often install stone right on top of preexisting facades. The two main instances where the siding would need to be removed are if it is lapped or if the siding is Dryvit- however, the stone veneer can be applied directly over brick or non-lapped siding.

4. Stone Siding Uses No Unnatural Pigments

We use no unnatural pigments in our stone siding, instead taking our color from natural stones. You may see major color variation in quarried stones in showrooms, our stones are consistently colored and molded using a reliable process that produces beautiful results every time. This leads to a very natural-looking material, with some eye-pleasing variation, and it also makes for a streamlined look and overall appeal.

5. Great Replacement for Chemical-Heavy Wood or Plastic Siding

Many types of siding have to use a great deal of chemicals to make them resistant to weather or to reduce the chances of warping and fire danger. Stone doesn’t require treatment to protect it from weather, to reduce shrinking or expansion or to protect from fire. Plus, far fewer chemicals are used in the manufacture of stone than in plastic or treated wood.

Take the Eco-Friendly Approach

If you’ve been thinking about updating your home, stone veneer may be just the ticket. They’re not only beautiful, they’re incredibly eco-friendly and easy to install. Here at NorthStar, we love helping customers improve the look and value of their homes through the application of stone veneers. Although a popular use of stone is for the exterior of houses, we also offer veneers for fireplaces and mailboxes in many different styles. Call or visit to learn more about us and our stone veneer today.

How Woodpeckers Can Damage Siding and or Dryvit and What You Can Do About It

How Woodpeckers Can Damage Siding and or Dryvit and What You Can Do About It

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

If you have ever noticed an annoying drumming noise on the outside of your house or found holes in your siding, you might have a woodpecker problem. This is no small issue, as woodpeckers can cause substantial damage to the exterior and siding of your home. Don’t worry though; we have solutions for you that will help you protect your siding and dryvit from a woodpecker. We decided to see why those pesky woodpeckers are eating your siding, and explain how to use stone veneer to replace your house’s siding that’s been damaged by woodpeckers.

What Kind of Woodpecker Might be Visiting?

There are a few species of woodpecker that are native to Illinois. Some of these species stay year-round, while others only show up in the warmer months. The following information will tell you about the various species you might see:

Downy Woodpecker: This is the most common woodpecker in our neck of the woods. It is small, measuring only 6 to 7 inches. The back of the male woodpecker’s head has a very distinct red patch. The Downy Woodpecker has a solid white belly and black wings, which are marked with white stripes.

Hairy Woodpecker: This is slightly bigger species of woodpecker. They measure 8 to 9 inches. The Hairy Woodpecker’s bill is longer and larger than the smaller Downy Woodpecker.

Northern Flicker: This species of woodpecker is significantly larger than the Downy Woodpecker. It measures 12 to 13 inches. Their bodies have black spots on the back and belly region and they have a large black patch on their chest. Their bodies; however, are mostly brown.

Why Do Woodpeckers Peck At Your House?

Another issue to consider when dealing with a woodpecker invasion is determining why woodpeckers are targeting your house in the first place. The following are the most common reasons why woodpeckers peck:

Food: If your home has wood shingles or siding, it can harbor insects, such as ants, spiders, caterpillars or larvae. Consequently, sometimes, woodpeckers will peck siding to find these insects as they are a common food source for them.

Territory: If your home doesn’t have wooden siding–if it instead has stone veneer– and you are still dealing with a woodpecker, they might be marking their territory. Woodpeckers use their drumming to attract a mate and to mark their territory.

Nesting: The final reason you might be hosting unwanted guests in the form of woodpeckers is nesting. Although woodpeckers prefer large hollowed trees with softened centers to make their nests, they will drill into the siding of a house to make a home if they cannot find a suitable location.

What to do About Woodpeckers Eating At Your Siding:

Now that you know what type of woodpecker has invaded your home and the reasoning behind the invasion, you likely have just one more question, that being what to do about it. Unfortunately, that question isn’t easily answered. Due to the fact that getting rid of woodpeckers is a notoriously hard task, there have even been studies created just to find a solution. One such study was completed by Cornell Lab. It tested common deterrents to determine which prevented woodpecker damage the most efficiently. The methods tested included the use of life sized plastic owls, reflective streamers, roost boxes, plastic eyes on fishing lines, suet feeders and a sound system that broadcasted woodpecker distress calls and that of a hawk. According to this study, only one method worked consistently as a deterrent, that being streamers. The shiny coating and constant movement of the streamers seems to deter the woodpeckers more effectively than any other method.

Another great solution is to replace your damaged siding with stone veneer. Birds are likely to want little to do with stone veneer siding. Stone is a versatile, easily installed option for homes. Our stone veneer can be custom colored, and there are many, many stone veneer styles to choose from. Stone can often go right over the existing siding, stopping woodpeckers from the start. Stone veneer is durable, weather resistant and can be installed often in just a few days.

Finding your exterior siding or dryvit damaged as a result of a pesky bird can be very frustrating. Let us know if we can help you decide if stone veneer could help you stop damage from woodpeckers on your home’s exterior. Fill out this form and send us a message or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate for your exterior stone siding.

Exterior Stone Veneer Q&A With A Valued Customer

Exterior Stone Veneer Q&A With A Valued Customer

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Veneer

We had the wonderful opportunity to ask some questions about an exterior stone veneer installation we recently completed in Gurnee, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Read on to see what was involved in this homeowner’s decision making process about choosing and installing stone veneer on his home’s exterior and find out how his home has gained value within the neighborhood. 

 

Question No.1:

What was your thought process about changing the look of your home’s exterior?

After living here for the pasted 23 years Donna and I thought through the process of possibly moving to another home with a more modern exterior look. After much debate we decided to stay here and give our home a much needed face lift. We love our 1/2 lot, the cul-de-sac location, our proximity to the toll road and all off the local services.

When we built our home it was the typical tract style approach where you picked from a number of models and had one build. As a result most of the homes in the area ended up looking pretty much the same. This new face lift has definitely set us apart from the other homes in the area.

 

Question No. 2:

Why did you select using stone veneer versus say a different color siding, stucco or maybe brick?

We wanted a more modern look. When we drove through the newer neighborhoods with the up scale homes we could see the use of stone building materials rather than the typical aluminum siding and brick facades. As you know we aren’t finished yet. We plan to have you wrap the remaining lower portions of our home and we plan to change the remainder of our siding to the new wood styled cedar shakes. Once completed, we hope to have a much more craftsman styled exterior look.

The stone has given our home a custom look. It certainly set us apart for all the other homes on our street, all of which used the more traditional aluminum siding and brick facades.

 

Question No. 3:

Why did you select North Star Stone to supply and install stone for your project?

After extensive research, we discovered that your quality of materials and expertise in this field were second to none and once again you’ve confirmed all the great reviews I’ve read.

 

Question No. 4:

Please share any comments about the installation process and the final outcome.

As you know I’ve owned my own industrial contracting business for the pasted 30 years and I tend to watch the quality of the installers very closely as I do my own people.

Your installers were very professional, very courteous and most of all they were extremely clean. Even though they worked very late in the day and they still had to drive a great distance all the way back to the shop, they didn’t seem at all to be in any hurry to run off!!!  I’ve experienced this with other installers and I know that feeling when someone just wants to finish the installation and leave as quickly as possible.

I might also add that they’re to a very large degree “artist”! This is a very specialized type of installation. This isn’t like stacking bricks with the same mortar line, etc. This requires much more of artistic approach and your guys do it as though they’ve been doing it for years!!!!

 

Question No. 5: Would you recommend North Star Stone to others considering an exterior facelift?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

If anyone is looking to break away for the typical cookie cutter look this is the way to do it! If you love your home, your location, not to mention the hassle of moving and you really don’t want anything more than a fresh exterior look “THEN WHY MOVE”!

We are the talk of the neighborhood! I still can’t believe I’m driving up to the same house and I can’t wait to finish the process!

 

Should I Seal My Stone Veneer?

Should I Seal My Stone Veneer?

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

You have recently decided to improve the appearance of your home by adding stone veneer. You have decided after some research that you would like to seal and possibly enhance your new manufactured stone but you’re not sure where to begin. Fortunately, North Star Stone is here to help. Continue reading to learn a bit more about stone sealers and enhancers.

 

What is a stone sealant?

Sealant is a product that is typically brushed over stone in order to provide a protective layer against things such as salt, weather, moisture, stains and potential color deterioration. There are several brands on the market that can be purchased at retail stores like Home Depot and Lowes as well as on the web. It is recommended that you avoid products with acid and use a silane or siloxane-based sealant that is penetrating yet provides breathability. Eagle Natural Seal or The Armor SX5000 WB are two brands available at Home Depot. At Lowes you can find Eco Advance Concrete/Masonry Siloxane Waterproofer.

 

What is a sealer + enhancer?

Like the name implies, a sealer + enhancer does the job of sealing as well as enhancing the stone, which essentially means it works to bring out the natural character of the stone and to essentially make it more vibrant. It is important to make sure when selecting a sealer + enhancer that it is safe to use on manufactured or man made stone such as stone veneer. Just like with sealer, it is always a good idea to do a spot check in an inconspicuous place to see how your stone reacts with the product. 511 Seal & Enhance by Miracle Sealants is safe to use on manufactured stone and can be found at Home Depot.

 

Why should I use this product?

The general rule where sealing stone veneer is concerned is, if the stone darkens when a drop of water hits it then it can also be stained by other materials in the environment like oil, dirt or plant residue. Furthermore, the up side to sealing your stone is that it makes stone veneer even more easier to clean and will provide protection against the environment and color fading. Additionally, depending on the weather conditions and climate where you live, in order to protect your stone’s appearance and longevity, the relatively short time it will take you to seal your stone is well worth it. As a result, applying a sealant to your stone is most likely a good idea. Many stone veneer manufacturers will often say their stone does not require sealing, which essentially leaves the choice with you. Most sealers can be applied to stone on the interior and exterior of your home, so keep that in mind for any stonework beautifying the inside of your home as well.

 

Things to Know about sealers

 

  • Certain sealers may make your stone appear wet, slightly darker and or vibrant.
  • Always test a small portion of your stone with the sealer or sealer + enhancer product first in an inconspicuous place before applying it all over. This will help you know how your stone will respond to the product.
  • The more porous the stone the more coats required. Read instructions carefully.
  • Check with your stone veneer supplier to make sure the product you purchase is safe to use on your stone.
  • Sealing or enhancing your stone is something you will need to repeat periodically. Check your product information for details.
  • Make sure you are applying your product under the right weather conditions, as it may not perform correctly.

 

 

If you aren’t at the sealing and enhancing stage of your stone projects yet but are still considering stone as a way to update, accentuate and add character to your home – why not contact North Star Stone? Our experts are here to help. You too can see why homeowners in Chicagoland suburbs like Libertyville, Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect have chosen North Star Stone as their source for expert stone veneer fireplace and exterior stone siding selection and installation. For more information please call 847.996.6850 or email info@northstarstone.biz.

 

How To Easily Clean Stone Veneer

How To Easily Clean Stone Veneer

Home Improvements Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior Stone Veneer

Like many homeowners, you have made the decision to beautify your home with stone veneer. Maybe your have decided to add stone to the exterior of your home to various accent points or perhaps to highlight some of your home’s unique features. Or maybe your stone veneer is in your backyard where you chose to use it to help create a tranquil sanctuary. Here your stone can be seen on retaining walls, railings, or an outdoor fireplace. Then again, your stone might be inside your home where it is adding beauty and value to your kitchen, bathroom, or wine cellar. Either way, inside or outside, a time will come when you are going to need to wash your stone veneer. Despite the elegant complexity of how your stone appears, we are happy to tell you that cleaning your stone is far from complex and is actually quite easy. Keep reading to learn more.

diy-stone--fireplace1

What you will need:

Mild dishwashing detergent: It is very important to never use harsh cleaning materials or products that contain acid, ammonia, bleach or the like. Products containing these ingredients are way too harsh and can damage your stonework. Lastly, concrete cleaner is not recommended for stone veneer. An important note on cleaning products containing acid: cleaning products containing acid should always be avoided as they can easily strip the color from your stone and make it look dull.

Sponge or cloth: Use what works best for you. Remember to use soft products as not to scratch your stone.

Bucket: Fill your bucket up with water and use it to mix your cleaning solution and help rinse your sponge or cloth. Make sure to use clean water when rinsing

Backyard hose: Fortunately, to keep your exterior stone veneer clean, you do not need to rely on a heavy-duty pressure washer; for your stone veneer a simple garden hose is all that is needed.

Soft bristled brush: Never use a scrub brush with metal bristles as this kind of brush can easily scratch and damage your beautiful stone. A soft-bristled, nylon brush will do the trick. Remember to never apply hard pressure when using a brush for cleaning.

Ladder or step stool: For those hard to reach places

Rubber gloves: Optional

What to do:

Read these instructions thoroughly before you wash your stone veneer.

Fill a bucket with clean water.

Add some mild dishwashing detergent to create a gentle cleansing solution.

Use a clean cloth or sponge containing the solution to thoroughly wipe down your stone. Use a brush to gently remove any dirt or mud. Keep in mind this mild solution will not remove stains like tar or oil that may have gotten on your stone during be other home improvement projects.

Rinse your stone with the hose.  If indoors, use a clean cloth or sponge to remove any of the cleaning solution.

Let dry.

Important – A note on how to clean newly installed stone: If your stone is newly installed and wet mortar or grout has gotten onto the face of the stone, let it dry to a point where you can easily scrape it off with a masonry brush. If you try to wipe off wet mortar or grout it will smear and will be extremely hard to remove completely. Do not use water. On the flip side, if you wait too long, you will not be able to remove the grout or mortar, so make sure to remove it the same day as the installation of the stone veneer.

How often do I need to clean my stone? As often as you feel cleaning is needed.

Clearly the ease of cleaning stone veneer is just another reason why this highly versatile and customizable product is such an excellent option for improving the home. If you would like to move forward with your stone projects then give North Star Stone a call and see why Chicagoland has chosen us for their stone veneer needs. For more information contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new interior or exterior stone.

Watch the North Star Stone blog next week we will discuss sealers and enhancers.

5 Weekend Projects That Will Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

5 Weekend Projects That Will Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

Who says you have to take on a huge project on the exterior of your home in order to add curb appeal? Not us! In fact, by doing a few relatively inexpensive and simple things you can update and add value to your home in as little as a weekend.

 

Spruce Up The Front Door

Take a look at your front door. How is it looking? A little faded or abused from a harsh winter or maybe a hot, dry summer really did a number on it? Maybe the doorknocker, doorknobs or kickplate is getting a bit worn? Believe it or not, your front door can send a significant message to visitors about you and your home and how you hope to present it.  Adding a fresh coat of paint or changing the color of your door can make a world of difference. Even getting new hardware (such as the aforementioned doorknocker, doorknobs and kickplate) can greatly improve your door’s appearance. Your door can tell your guests a lot about your home’s personality so make sure it is saying the right thing.

 

Add Some Lights

Not only will proper outdoor lighting provide you with a well lit walkway and the security of presenting a well maintained home, you can also use properly and decoratively placed lights to accentuate your home’s features. You can also choose to use lighting to highlight unique and beautiful landscaping elements that you are proud of. Some homeowners choose to use lights to highlight ornate stonework, their house number or artwork on their property.  There are numerous lighting options available from adding a new outdoor light post to hanging a new light fixture over your door. Solar powered lighting is a frequently used and excellent option because of its ease of installation and the variety of styles available. Go one step further and hang a well placed light in one or more of the trees in your yard, doing this looks gorgeous and actually replicates the effect of peaceful moonlight.

 

Plant a Tree

If no tree is available to hang lighting in, why not plant a tree or two? Adding trees, bushes and other greenery can really add beauty and dimension to your front yard. With spring on the way, now is a great time to decide what trees and other plants you feel would really add that extra something special to your property’s curb appeal. Before planting any trees make sure that you will not be digging near any electrical, gas or phone lines. Most areas have a special 1-800 number that can be called to check that none of these utility lines exist in the area you will be digging.

 

Rejuvenate with Stone

With stone you can be as elaborate or simple as you like. Depending on what you decide, you can complete your stone project in less than a weekend. For example, by placing slate stones over sand you can create a simple yet beautiful rock path within a few hours. Tutorials for a project of this scale can be found online. Or you might choose to go one step further and completely re-do your current walkway or driveway and replace it with brick or another stone option. This choice may require you to get some estimates and hire some experts and could take more than a weekend to complete, but the end result will truly be worth it! If you are content with your walkways and paths you could go one step further and add stone veneer to your home’s exterior. With stone veneer you have the flexibility of choosing your own color as well as cut and style of stone. Homeowners who have gone this route have been overjoyed with the elegance and prestige that stone has brought to their home’s appearance.

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Replace Your Old Mailbox and Post

Replacing your old mailbox and the post it may be housed on is a quick project that you can complete within a few hours. You may even find that you have time left over to finish another project! A new mailbox can really add an extra touch of sophistication especially when it is paired with an elegant stand. Cast stone is a great option when considering a new stand because of the colors and varieties available. Another material commonly used today is a strong polymer plastic that is made to look like iron. A post can be found to fit every home’s personality from ornate scrolled posts to pedestal mount posts. Fortunately, these newer materials are virtually maintenance free and weather resistant and thus won’t succumb to time and the elements like some of the materials used in older mailboxes and posts.

 

These small projects are just a few of the many things that you can do to add some special touches to your home’s appearance. Why not plan something soon? If a larger scale project is in your future, like adding stone veneer to highlight some of your home’s features, consider calling North Star Stone. Their experts are here to help you design and plan ways you can add beauty and value to your home through stone. To learn why home owners in Chicagoland suburbs like Arlington Heights, Libertyville, Barrington and Mount Prospect are so happy with their new stone products, visit our Exterior Stone FAQ page or contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new exterior stone.

Choosing Colors For Your Home’s Exterior Stone & Siding

Choosing Colors For Your Home’s Exterior Stone & Siding

Stone Colors Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Veneer

Selecting a color or colors for the exterior of your home might seem like a pretty straightforward, simple task. You just pick the colors you like, right? Well, there is a little more to it than that, especially if you want your home to make a statement while still seamlessly adding to the beauty and character of your neighborhood and surrounding landscape. To make this task easier, we at North Star Stone thought we would put together a mini guide to make the process simpler.

Do Some Research

Before you head down to the paint store, talk to a contractor or check in with your local exterior stone expert, do a little homework. By following a few steps first, the task of selecting colors for the exterior of your home can go a lot smoother. We recommend that you:

Consider your environment; is your home situated in an urban, suburban, or more forested area? This can guide your exterior color choices.

Head down to your local library or bookstore and take a look at some architectural books and magazines to see what the experts have done.

Drive through the neighborhood and see what those in your community have done with color to keep their homes looking fresh and renewed.

Check out some of the helpful decorating and home design software that is available on the market. This software allows you to play around with color first and see what your home will look like.

Consider your home’s design. Is it modern or historical? Being able to determine these qualities about your home will help you select a color palette from which to begin. Perhaps you want to maintain your homes classic look or switch it up and do something bolder?

Think Top to Bottom

Another good way to approach selecting colors for you home is to start with the roof and work your way down. Here is what we mean:

Related: Thinking of Buying a Home with Synthetic Stucco? What You Should Know

 

Roof

You should choose either a cool or a warm color when considering your roof. Warm colors include brown, orange and tan. Cool colors are greys, blacks, blues and so forth. If unsure about warm and cool colors, consult a color wheel. They can be found on the Internet, paint stores and places that specialize in home decorating and improvement. If you go with a warm roof, go with warm siding. If you go with a cool roof, go with cool siding. If your roof and siding or main body of the house do not coordinate, the appearance of your home will not appear balanced.

 

Siding

Siding can be the best vehicle in which to add new colors to your home. Fortunately, when it comes to selecting a siding there are many exterior options to pick from. These include, stucco, stone veneer, Hardie Board, wood, vinyl siding and aluminum siding, and of course stone veneer. Your siding will cover the largest surface area of your home. Make sure it does not clash with other homes in your neighborhood. Also, keep your particular landscaping in mind. You will want your color choices to work with shrubs, trees, rocks and other plants and elements in your yard or on your property. Classic colors, like those found in varying shades of white, are always a safe bet. Keep in mind that a lighter color house will appear larger and a darker color house will appear smaller and remember your siding should coordinate with your roof. A warm roof looks more cohesive with warm siding and a cool roof looks better with siding that utilizes a cool palette. Also when it comes to your exterior and picking your new colors, keep in mind parts of the home where the color will not be changing, like your foundation. It is generally a good idea to keep your siding the same color as your foundation or go darker.

 

We Custom Color Every Batch of Stone Veneer

 

Trim and Windows

Think of the trim and windows of your home as a team. They should work together! When considering a color you are going to want to go either two shades lighter or two shades darker than your siding. Or, if you want to take the guess work out of selecting a color you can always go with a crisp bright white, which would fall into the cool category or an off white, which would actually fall into the warmer color zone. Remember, you can’t really go wrong with white when it comes to picking a color. Just remember that if your trim and your windows are in extreme contrast to your siding your house might look artificial. One interesting thing to remember when it comes to a white window trim is that it will actually reflect the light from outside and bring that light into your home. There really is nothing not to like about white window trim.

Garage Doors

Garage doors can take up a significant amount of surface area. If your garage is closer to the street you will want it to match the siding of your home. However, if it is set farther back you can select a color that contrasts, by a shade or two. Make sure to highlight details like window trim and decorative elements that may adorn your garage door.

Front Door

Think of your front door as setting the tone for how you want to represent your home. Moreover, your front door inevitably is responsible for making a first impression. Feel free to give it some personality. Be creative with windows and window panels that may flank either side of your door. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Think back to homes you may have seen that had doors in an eye catching blue, dashing red or vivacious turquoise. Color can leave a lasting impression!

Railings and Porches

A good rule of thumb is to paint your railings and any porches or steps you may have the same color as your house’s trim. You can also choose to paint these elements the same color as your siding if it is a neutral color. Keep this in mind too if you choose to do stone steps as well.

Accessories

Accessories include things like shutters, window boxes, mailboxes, and the hardware you use on your doors and windows. Coordinating colors that complement the trim are a good way to go.

Some Important Information Regarding Stone

Stone veneer is a beautiful and flexible option when considering a color change on the exterior of your home. One of the great benefits of stone is how flexible and creative you can be when selecting a color because you can choose to have your stone custom colored to your specifications. Keeping in mind the importance of pairing warm colors with warm colors and cool colors with cool colors will help make the color selection process more streamlined. However, if you have fallen in love with adding a distinctive grey stone to your home, consider adding a warm accent tone to the trim or even the door. By doing this you are offsetting grey’s potential for looking dismal in some instances. Also, it has been recommended that when your exterior is stone or brick you should pick at least two colors for your home’s exterior.

 

A Few Important Notes

Try to blend in with the neighborhood – You should still be able to do this while maintaining your home’s distinction and unique character.

Monochromatic colors work well if you are trying to blend in with a forested, natural environment.

Cream and taupe blend more naturally into an environment than a stark white.

Track how much light your home gets. Depending on the time of day and position of the sun in relation to your house, your home’s exterior may look slightly different. Keep this in mind when selecting new exterior colors.

See Our Stone Veneer Styles & Colors Here!

Selecting new colors for the exterior of your house should be a fun opportunity to explore new options for your home. Fresh, new exterior colors can literally transform your home’s appearance and personality.  With a new color palette you can create that look you have always wanted for your home but weren’t sure how to execute. Also, don’t forget the amazing variety of exterior options, like stone veneer, on which to carry out your color plans. Fortunately, there are experts ready to help you decide what will look best.  If stone veneer is one of the ways you want to incorporate new color onto your home, check out northstarstone.biz and see why homeowners in Chicagoland suburbs like Libertyville, Arlington Heights, Long Grove and Mount Prospect have chosen stone as a way to liven up their home’s color. If you have questions, please visit our Exterior Stone FAQ page or contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call: 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new exterior stone.

Thinking of Buying a Home with Synthetic Stucco? What You Should Know

Thinking of Buying a Home with Synthetic Stucco? What You Should Know

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

Here at North Star Stone we are passionate about quality housing exteriors, which is why we take such great pride when installing our stone veneer products. Strong, professionally installed exteriors are what we do. In our line of work we have come across housing materials such as synthetic stucco, also commonly known as EIFS or Dryvit, that have caused much distress for the homeowners who are now finding themselves with expensive repairs due to an improperly installed product. To help keep you informed, we thought it would be helpful to talk about synthetic stucco and what it might mean to you as a homeowner or potential home buyer.

What is Synthetic Stucco? A brief history:

Synthetic Stucco, also commonly known by the acronym “EIFS”, which stands for exterior insulation and finish systems, was first used in the manufacturing of homes in Europe in the early 1960’s. Although it looks like stucco, EIFS is actually made of three layered components:

Layer 1: Insulation board
Layer 2: Base coat
Layer 3: Finish coat

EIFS worked well in Europe for several reasons; it provided great insulation and weather protection and it installed nicely on European buildings which tend to have masonry walls, to which the EIFS adhered nicely. In the States we tend to use wood or gypsum, which must have a good moisture barrier for proper installation. Another reason EIFS installed well in Europe is because the materials in the base coat of the EIFS product are slightly different from what was eventually used in the United States, which allowed the European product more flexibility and better waterproofing. In the early 1970’s, an American company by the name of Dryvit Systems introduced EIFS to the American construction market, where it is often referred to as Dryvit.
First used in commercial building, EIFS would eventually make its way into the residential housing industry. Builders were excited about its energy efficiency qualities, which equated to being friendlier on the pocket book. As common sense might suggest, for a product to work the way it is supposed to it must be assembled correctly. This same idea holds very true for EIFS. Unfortunately, along with its introduction into the American housing market came the common practice of cutting corners with EIFS installation. What resulted was not pretty. By the late 1980s Inspectors, homeowners and other interested parties began to notice that many EIFS clad homes were showing extensive signs of water damage. In some instances the damage permeated right through to the framing of the house. The result: a lot of expensive repairs due to mold, dry rot and structural damage. Additionally, EIFS affected homeowners were angry to find themselves facing an unwanted and unplanned expense, while frustrated homebuyers encountered a housing market with limited buying options because of structurally queastionable properties.

Why is EIFS a Problem for a Homeowner who may want to sell?

Due to the following factors, many EIFS homes encountered problems which were later to be faced by their unsuspecting and now quite unhappy homeowners. Because it is a barrier type system, a perfect water barrier is required during EIFS installation over the wood or gypsum sheathing to prevent water from getting into places like windows, doors, roof flashings, deck flashings and vents, to name a few. Because this did not occur, water was able to get in and cause extensive water damage to the wood or gypsum sheathing. Furthermore, homeowners were not aware of the damage because it is hidden and thus not recognizable without a more involved and oftentimes costly inspection by an individual who knows how to inspect EIFS. Those left with improperly installed EIFS are finding themselves with expensive repairs. And lastly, homeowners trying to sell their EIFS clad homes may find themselves with an unsellable property because of water damage they may not have known existed until a home inspection was carried out.

Why Is EIFS a Problem for Home Buyers?

Because water damage can be hard to detect with EIFS without an invasive inspection, the homebuyer may be unaware that water damage exists on the property. Worse still, if the home was improperly inspected and has been purchased, it could be quite a while before water damage due to poorly installed EIFS becomes apparent, which could result in the new homeowners finding themselves with a very expensive repair job. Also, the time, tools and training required by an individual familiar with doing a thorough EIFS inspection can be expensive and invasive, which could be a cost a potential homebuyer is not willing to pay.

Stone Veneer & Stucco 06

Stone Veneer & Stucco

What to do if you are trying to sell your EIFS clad home

Be proactive.

-Be prepared to pay for repairs caused by improperly installed EIFS, should repairs be needed. A potential homebuyer may insist on this in the contract and before completing their purchase of the home.

-Consider replacing the EIFS with a stone veneer, Hardie board, actual stucco, or a combination of these materials. Note: before adding new materials to the exterior of your home you may need to replace any damaged sheathing first. This can add to the expense.

-Have your home thoroughly inspected by a certified EIFS inspector.

-Have your home certified if it passes an EIFS inspection.

-Include a warranty on the EIFS for the buyer.

-Be prepared to potentially take a loss on the property. Only the seller can determine if that loss will be worth it.

-Keep accurate records of any repair work done.

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Stone Veneer & Stucco

 

 

What To Do if You are Thinking of Buying an EIFS clad home

-Do your homework. Be familiar with what synthetic stucco is. Understand that a prospective home with EIFS should be thoroughly inspected by a qualified inspector.

-Request a warranty from the seller. Make sure the warranty is paid for.

-Request that the EIFS on the home is certified problem free.

If you like the look of EIFS, consider passing this home up for a home built with real stucco or other exterior like brick, Hardie board or vinyl siding. Finding a different home may be worth the headache of worrying about an EIFS clad home having problems later.

There is a stigma attached to EIFS and this can make it much harder to sell your home later even if it is certified.

 

Other Options

Although some claim that EIFS have come a long way and many of the problems uncovered with the product in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s have been resolved, there is still a stigma attached to homes finished with synthetic stucco. Fortunately, there are other options on the market today that are customizable, attractive and enduring. Stone veneer, stucco and Hardie board are excellent options and work beautifully when combined with each other. Many people are choosing to go with these highly customizable materials when updating their current home or when in the market for a new home. Homeowners who have needed to replace EIFS on their homes are also turning to Stone veneer and other materials like Hardie board and stucco because of the great flexibility and personalization they offer.

 

If updating your home with timeless and elegant stone sounds like a promising option to you, consider North Star Stone’s custom colored stone veneer. The experienced professionals at North Star Stone would love to talk with you about this beautiful product. We are also eager to share with you what happy Chicagoland homeowners in Libertyville, Arlington Heights, Barrington and Mount Prospect, are saying about their new beautiful housing exteriors. For more information about adding stone to the exterior of your home, visit our Exterior Stone FAQ page or contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new exterior stone.

Is It Time to Replace Your Exterior Siding?

Is It Time to Replace Your Exterior Siding?

Home Improvements Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

Throughout the year the exterior of our home can take quite a beating. Rain, hail, ice, wind and snow are all environmental elements that can put a strain on the outside of your home. After years of this regular abuse, it is not uncommon for many homeowners to decide to repair, change and or update the exterior of their home. And as most experts will tell you, the best time to begin a home improvement project like this is in the spring, which all of us in Chicagoland know is just around the corner! Fortunately, there are some exciting options available that can completely transform the exterior of your home, like stone veneer for example. Continue reading to discover some options you may not even know existed.

exterior siding 06

Vinyl Siding

Used on many homes, vinyl siding has come a long way in terms of its strength and versatility. Many homeowners like vinyl siding because of its cost effectiveness and the color options available on the market. Easy to install and available at home improvement stores, vinyl siding is popular with do-it-yourselfers. But beware; education is a must if installing yourself. If installed incorrectly, in addition to water damage, other damage can occur to your home and you might find yourself in need of some costly repairs.

exterior siding 03

Hardie Board (cement board)

Is the aluminum siding that has graced the exterior of your home for twenty years a little beat up and let’s face it, looking a bit blah? A versatile product, Hardie Board might be just what you are looking for. Unlike aluminum siding, Hardie board is literally quite hardy. Known for its strength, Hardie board comes in a variety of colors and has been engineered to withstand even the harshest of weather. Hardie board also comes in a plethora of widths and textures, so customizing the look of your home is going to be fun and easy. Better still, Hardie board is a cost effective product and has been a top choice for millions of homeowners. If Hardie board sounds like the right option for you, why not consider pairing it with stone veneer? This beautiful combination will make your home look elegant, refined and distinguished.

exterior siding 02

Wood Siding

Often offering a homey, country feel, wood siding is also a viable option and has been a choice for many homeowners. Wood siding comes most commonly in a shingle, clapboard and shakes style, which allows people who choose it a few unique options in terms of thickness and texture. One important thing to keep in mind is that wood siding requires routine maintenance to check for water damage and even insect damage and infestations such as termites and carpenter ants. Wood siding also may need to be painted and treated on a regular basis.

exterior siding

 

Stucco

Believe it or not stucco has been used in architecture since ancient Greek and Roman times. And although it has been improved upon, the general idea of stucco remains the same. Perhaps it is the timelessness and endurance of stucco that makes it such a highly regarded option when considering the exterior of one’s home? Stucco is a mortar mixture containing among other things, cement. Resilient and versatile, stucco has a great track record when it comes to protecting the outside of your house. Make sure not to confuse stucco with synthetic stucco also known as EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems or Dryvit). It may look the same but has a history of responding quite differently to the sometimes harsh forces of nature bombarding the exterior of your home. Frequently used on larger homes, the color options for stucco are near limitless and it pairs beautifully with a coordinating and custom colored stone veneer. The resulting look is classic and stately and defines the term curb appeal.

exterior siding 01

Stone Veneer

Stone veneer is quickly rising in the ranks of being one of the most popular choices for the exterior of one’s home. There is very little not to like about stone veneer. A home with stone not only exudes dignity but a classic beauty that can only come with a stone facade. Typically at a higher price point, stone veneer is usually paired with other exterior options like stucco and Hardie board while still maintaining the grand presence of being the feature element of the house’s exterior. A major bonus to stone veneer is the variety of stone options available. Custom colored to your specification, there is a stone shape and cut for every discerning taste. For a look that will totally transform your home, stone is one of the preferred options.

exterior siding 04If updating the exterior of your home sounds like a springtime project you would like to undertake, remember there are many options available today. Why not consider the beauty, elegance and charm of stone veneer with a complimentary pairing of Hardie board or stucco? Established in the greater Chicagoland area, North Start Stone has brought their sophisticated brand of exterior products to Libertyville, Arlington Heights, Barrington, Mount Prospect and Long Grove, just to name a few and they are excited to bring them to you.

For more information about adding stone to the exterior of your home, visit our Exterior Stone FAQ page or contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new exterior stone.