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.


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 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.

Does My Stone Fireplace Have To Extend To The Ceiling?

Does My Stone Fireplace Have To Extend To The Ceiling?

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Let’s assume you are ready to update your fireplace and you currently have a wood surround with tile around the firebox. Or maybe your fireplace just has drywall and a little tile around the firebox and you are looking at a big blank wall. One other option we sometimes come across is a brick fireplace and the height of the fireplace is only 48” high. What do you do?

wood drywall around fireplace

Generally in our Chicago area market and from the pictures we see on Houzz and Google images, most fireplaces do extend from floor to ceiling. It is what you expect to see. What we call a half height fireplace looks half done. Some say it looks like the homeowner ran out of money or tried to save a buck.

If your fireplace is drywall and is currently about 48” high you can easily add stone veneer to the entire wall of the fireplace from floor to ceiling. Typically any old tile, fake brick and old wood surrounds are removed. A wire mesh and skim coat of mortar is applied to the work area. In this case the typical width of a fireplace is anywhere from 5’-7’ wide. If your fireplace is only 5’ wide and you have the opportunity to widen the fireplace to say 6’ without any inference like windows or outlets, make the fireplace wider. After the wire mesh and skim coat of mortar are applied, a mantel should be installed. Finally the stone is installed from the floor to the ceiling. The last step is to install the hearth. The most affordable option is to use hearthstones from the vendor that made your stone. Limestone is a beautiful option and is much more costly. Some clients like granite, but we don’t see that used for a hearth very often.

stone veneer fireplace

If you don’t want your fireplace stone to be flush against the wall, you can easily build a frame using 2 x4’s and covered in Durock. The top ledge of the frame can use the same stone as your hearth. Building a frame about 3” away from the wall provides the illusion that the stone veneer is real stone.

Another case is if you have brick that is approximately 48”. Now you build a frame with 2×4’s and Durock to cover the upper part section above the brick so the Durock and brick are flush. Then the stone is applied to the new surface creating a stone fireplace from floor to ceiling.

For more information about adding stone to your fireplace, visit our stone fireplace FAQ page or contact us at or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new stone fireplace.

Get Your Custom Stone Veneer Shipped To Your Door- No Matter Where You Are

Get Your Custom Stone Veneer Shipped To Your Door- No Matter Where You Are

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Are you having a difficult time finding the perfect blend of stone style and stone color for your new stone fireplace?  At North Star Stone, we can walk you through the steps so you feel comfortable placing a custom stone veneer order that we will be hand colored and manufactured.  Using our freight brokers, we will then find the low cost carrier to deliver the stone to your home.  Depending on where you live, the total turn around time is usually less than two weeks.

Shipping 3stone veneer fireplaceThanks to Houzz, Google, Pinterest, FaceBook and other websites, new customers are calling us with requests to custom color and manufacture stone for their fireplace, wine cellars and interior walls. Clients find our images on the above Social sites and fall in love with both the color blends and textures of stones that we can produce.  Frequently we will even create a new stone veneer color to meet the needs of the client.  It just takes a little time on the phone to discuss your project and define your expectations for the color and texture.

Find The Best Stone Veneer For Your Fireplace

A stone fireplace, stone accent wall or a stone wine cellar is a real focal point and you want the stone to look it’s best. A skilled mason is going to give you the best results. There is an art to selecting the stones to coordinate. The masons are looking at each stone for color, texture and size. The masons make it look easy as they quickly select the stone to lay, but they are the professionals.  However, many DIY people have had outstanding results installing the stone themselves. It just takes time and patience to get a job that you are proud of.

Shipping stone veneerWe have shipped stone from the east coast and as far west as Hawaii and from Northern Michigan to Georgia. If you are having a difficult time find the perfect stone veneer for your new stone fireplace, please contact us. Our phone number is 847-996-6850 or email us at

Cobble Stone Fireplace -Refined and Elegant

Cobble Stone Fireplace -Refined and Elegant

Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Every stone style tells a story and has its place and time.  At North Star Stone we manufacture our thin stone veneer one batch at time for each order. We assist the customer with selecting the best stone shape (style) and color to work with their existing fireplace and create a transformation.

Our cobble stone veneer is a perfect choice for a more formal looking fireplace. The pieces of stone have a soft texture with a combination of both softly rounded corners and sharper edges. Stone sizes in height range from about 4” to 14” high and the lengths of the stones range from 8” to 20 “ long. These longer pieces work wonderfully when you are covering a larger fireplace whether it is a single story fireplace with an 8’ or wider walls or a two story fireplace. The shape and the texture fill in the space and don’t make the fireplace look too busy with small pieces.

For the larger fireplaces we most frequently use the lighter color stone like our chateau. The lighter color still creates the stunning look of the new and magnificent fireplace and doesn’t over power the room.

The cobblestone fireplace pictures below will provide some nice examples of why you should consider our cobble stone when you are remodeling your brick fireplace. Future Blogs will include our more textured ledge stones for your new stone fireplace.

See more examples of our cobble stone fireplaces here

Houzz- NSS

Houzz- NSS

Houzz- NSS Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Houzz is one of the most amazing resources available to homeowners today. From remodeling, to design, to home buying and selling advice, Houzz has become a well rounded tool for homeowners and professionals alike. North Star Stone has been a member of the Houzz community for over 2 years now. We’ve found it a valuable resource for our customers, business associates, as well as ourselves. From displaying our stone veneer to building connections and sharing content, we use Houzz in a variety of ways and wanted to share this with our customers in hopes that you might find it useful too.

Some of The Ways We Use Houzz:

We show off our stone work!

We’re very proud of our stone and the craftsmanship that goes into creating it. We have created an extensive portfolio on to display our work. We have stone fireplace galleries, stone exterior galleries, and other stone projects posted on our Houzz profile. You can see our profile here!

We connect with other professionals.

Houzz has been a great way for us to meet and connect with other professionals. Our customers are often looking for more than one service, and we’ve been able to recommend television installers, pavers, and other contractors that are on Houzz.

We get reviewed!

We meet a lot of new customers on Houzz, and they often leave us reviews on Houzz. We’re very proud of our 5 star review status and have over 40 reviews on our stone fireplace and stone exterior projects. Our customers who aren’t on Houzz can leave us a review too! Review us on Houzz Here! Or if you prefer to leave a review through a different site- here’s a list of places you can review our stone fireplaces and exteriors!

Homeowners can use Houzz in so many ways. We’re excited about this growing opportunity for home owners to create and visualize new and beautiful spaces in their homes. If you’re not on Houzz already, you can sign up here. And don’t forget to follow North Star Stone on Houzz!


What Is The Best Stone For My Fireplace?

What Is The Best Stone For My Fireplace?

Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Narrow profile 1

We hear the question all the time- what is the best stone for my fireplace. Honestly, there is no best stone for everyone.  The best stone depends on the location of the fireplace in the home and where you live. What we install in the suburbs of Chicago is completely different than what the consumers in the city of Chicago desire. We have also found that customers that immigrate from other countries have different cultural differences for stone style. Just like the our customers from the West Coast have a different style from the customers from the East Coast.

We added a new style of stone to our collection that we call our Narrow Profile Stone. All the stones are the same height with very tight and narrow stone profiles. The look is much more contemporary than our traditional stones like our cobble stone or even the stones from our ledge stone collection including our Dry Stack, Mountain Stack and Mountain Ledge Stone.

Narrow profile 2

We have experimented and found that only one to three different colors added to the Narrow Profile stone create the most visually interesting look. Some manufactures try to make each little ridge have a new color and the look becomes very confused. A stone with fewer colors blend very well. You can choose either a cream color base, or a cooler grey color. What ever your color choice, North Star Stone can create a beautiful blend of stone, especially if you are looking for a more contemporary style for a fireplace or interior wall in your home.

The pictures that are attached to this article show some very beautiful stone fireplaces.  Please contact North Star Stone, Inc of Libertyville, Illinois at 947-996-6850 or

Stone Fireplaces- You Get What You Pay For

Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer tvs and fireplaces

In the world of consumerism, there’s an old saying; “You get what you pay for.” Whether it’s a medical procedure or stone for your fireplace, the saying rings true.

Think about it; by having your next root canal performed by a marginally “licensed” dentist you could save you a ton of money up front. However, you’ll probably end up spending much more money getting the dental work fixed in the long-run by a more reputable dentist.

The same goes for custom colored stone. Some customers wonder why stone installation prices are high. The answer is simple. The cost goes directly to the expert craftsmanship that ensures long-lasting, exquisite results. At North Star Stone, our installers work exclusively with custom stone so you can rest assured they provide the utmost quality and attention to detail on your home.

Installing our stone involves selecting the right size, color, texture and placement within the entire scope of the project. You want the project to be visually interesting and flow. Our installers are masters. In fact, one of our satisfied customers referred to them as “Mason Ninjas.”

Poor Stone Veneer Installation

Poor Installation

A picture is worth a thousand words, and comparing a cheaply-installed stone fireplace and an expertly-installed one, proves this point. Look at the gaps between stones and the unsightly, asymmetrical lines. Compare that to an expert-installation and the differences are night and day.

Technically, anyone with some mortar and free-time could install your fireplace. However, they lack the experience of hundreds of installations. It’s scary, but some folks call themselves installers, although they only lay tile (not the same thing).

Professional Stone Veneer Fireplace

Professionally Installed Fireplace

These days, you can buy fabricated stone all over the place, from Big Box stores to cheap manufacturers. However, these resellers cannot provide you with expert design-ideas, they cannot custom color the stone to fit your home perfectly, and they won’t allow you to mix stone styles for a truly unique finished product you’ll be proud to call your own.

It’s important to keep in mind the expression, “you get what you pay for,” when shopping for custom stone and installation. Getting the job done right the first time is a much cheaper proposition than initially having it done poorly, and needing to do it again.

Gas vs Wood Fireplaces

Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer
Ledge Stone Fireplace 19

Ledge Stone Fireplace

It’s an age-old debate; which is better, gas- or wood-burning fireplaces?

Much like the war being waged by proponents on either side of the charcoal vs. propane grilling argument, there are folks staunchly in the corner for gas and wood fireplaces.

However, there isn’t one right answer. There are myriad factors that contribute to a homeowner’s choice for one or the other.

We’ll go over the different factors for consideration so you can choose the perfect style of fireplace for your home.



Wood-burning fireplaces are more traditional, harkening back to a simpler time. You’ll need to supply the firewood to keep a roaring glow in your hearth. Folks who love wood-burning fireplaces usually do so because they enjoy the crackling logs, licked by flames. Also, the smell of burning wood fills their homes with the rustic smell of nature. Another thing to consider with wood-burning fireplaces is they are easier to install. No gas-line, etc.

ledge stone fireplace

Ledge Stone Fireplace

Along with the appealingly traditional aesthetic of a wood-burning fireplace, you will need easy access to firewood. Whether this means splitting it yourself from dead trees on your property, or buying a cord of pre-split logs, you’ll need a large supply of firewood to get through a Northern winter. Starting a fire in a controlled environment, with matches and dried out wood and newspapers is generally easy, but if you’re uneasy about starting a fire, opt for gas. While a wood-burning fireplace is easier to install, it can be harder to maintain. With all the smoke billowing up your chimney, large accumulations of creosote can form. You will need to hire a chimney sweep to clean up these deposits, as they can become a very dangerous fire hazard if left untouched. In fact, 25% of all residential home fire in the United States can be attributed to creosote deposits.




Stone Veener on a Wood Fireplace

Gas-burning fireplaces have become more popular over the last several years. The convenience is what attracts most homeowners to this style.  Instead of lugging huge logs from the woods, you simply turn on the gas, and with a match or lighter, ignite the flame in your hearth. No firewood, no creosote deposits, no need to worry about the chimney flu. Just turn it on and enjoy.

It’s not all roses and sunshine for gas-burning fireplaces, though. You will need to have a gas line installed to your fireplace. The cost of installation varies depending on several conditions, such as distance and location. Typically, these run off natural gas, which is one of the cheaper forms of energy. However, natural gas is not as efficient as, for example, propane, so it doesn’t create as much energy. The upfront cost of a gas-burning fireplace is more expensive than a wood-burning one, but over time, the lack of maintenance tips the scales in gas-burning favor.



There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer for what is better, a wood- or gas-burning fireplace. Instead, you need to think about what makes most sense for your situation. For example, if you live in the Northern woods of Minnesota, surrounded by an abundant source of fuel in dead trees, by all means, go with a wood-burning fireplace. You’ll love warming your feet in front of the crackling flames. However, if you live in a suburban area without cheap and easy access to firewood, a gas-burning fireplace will turn your suburban home into mountaintop ski chalet once you turn on the flames.

Custom Coloring Stone

Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior Stone Veneer
Mountain Stack Stone Veneer 005

Custom Colored Mountain Stack Stone Veneer

If you want a custom blend of stone color to create the stunning focal point of your home, whether it is the front of the home or the fireplace, we can help.

For the last nine years North Star Stone of Libertyville, IL have been custom blending and coloring our manufactured stone and supplying stone and providing installation in the Chicago market. We have just recently started shipping our hand crafted stone due many requests for custom colored stones.

We start by deciding the amount of color intensity we want in a project. Some designers might refer to a lot of color of intensity as “Drama”.

We quantify these measures as:

1) Very Intense Color with all of the stones having color added to them.
2) High Intensity Color will have about 70% color and 30% neutral or no color.
3) Medium Intensity has a blend of 50% colored stones and 50% no colored stones.
4) Low Intensity is about 30% colored stones and typically softer and less colors to blend with the remaining balance of the 70% non colored stones and
5) Very Low Intensity is almost all no colored stone with hints of a few light colors gently misted on the stones to provide some variation.

The colors are hand applied to mold before the concrete is added to the mold. By blending two – three different colors in a mold we create beautiful shading. The intensity will also vary as the color is applied and then brushed in. We have had customers and even young children help with some of the coloring and if you would like to help color your stone just let us know.  It is our attention to detail and artistic nature that creates these beautiful and life like colors that will exactly what you want.

If you find a color of stone that you like in a picture that you want to replicate, send us the picture and we will let you know if we can match your request. Our fireplace pictures are all custom creations based on our customer suggestions. No two fireplaces will ever look alike, but the desired color and warmth that you desire will be just what you wanted. Maybe you want earth tone colors but no burgundy or maybe no gold tones, just let us know. Maybe you have a dark hardwood floor and you want the ebony colored picked up a slightly; no problem.

At North Star Stone we customize every batch just for you and will install the stone locally or ship it to you using our best freight rates.

Stone Veneer for Fireplaces & Color Choices

Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior Stone Veneer

Stone Veneers are Perfect for Fireplace Refinishing:

Are you looking to reface your brick fireplace with stone veneer for your fireplace, or possibly create a stone interior wall and unsure of the color of stone that would work best for your project? Maybe you love the earth tone colors, but don’t want to have any rust in your newly remodeled stone veneer  fireplace. North Star Stone, Inc., custom colors every batch of your stone order for your fireplace or interior wall project. We will help you select the perfect colors for your dream stone fireplace

Stone Veneer for Fireplace sample boards

North Star Stone, Inc. Showroom Stone Veneer Sample Boards

How to Select the Right Stone Veneer for your Fireplace? 

There is a very creative process that we provide when coloring your stone veneer.  We ask you about the color of the room, the flooring, paint choices, lighting and your likes and dislikes for color. We will also discuss the color tones and intensity of color you want for your new faux stone project. This information is turned into a color formula to be blended in your choice of stone styles.  We have interior designers, couples and even families add a helping hand when we start coloring the stone. You can also help color your own manufactured stone so you can say you helped make your newly refinished stone fireplace.

Stone Veneer for fireplaces, coloring process

Cathy Murray, Interior Designer, hand painting stone veneer for her customer’s wine cellar

How to select the “best” stone veneer for my fireplace?

In addition to customizing the color of your soon to be remodeled fireplace, you can select from our many different stone veneer styles. Our man made stone selection includes cobble stone, ledge stone, field stone, river rock and our custom blends of stone like our Mountain Stack Ledge Stone, Wisconsin Prairie Ledge Stone and our Traditional Dry Stack Ledge stone.

stone veneer for fireplace

Mom and Daughter coloring stone veneer for their new stone fireplace








If you love stone walls, stone fireplaces and looking for fireplace design ideas including custom coloring your stone veneer for your home, contact North Star Stone, Inc at 847-996-6850.  

Stone Veneer sample board.

Stone Veneer sample color board, many colors and intensity are available with North Star Stone