One thing common in all cities such as Rome, Italy, Venice etc, which have restored their historic monuments, is the extensive use of stone in the exteriors. The use of stone as the material of choice in constructions dates back to the ancient civilizations. Newer materials such as paints, steel, aluminum and acrylics for exteriors were conceived much later, in the Industrial Age. Stone exteriors are cost efficient, sturdy, give a character to the building besides lasting more than a life time.
Due to its versatility, durability and weather resistant quality, stone has become the preferred material of choice in modern day architecture as well. Stone exteriors provide a place with a very warm appeal and give it an old world charm as palaces, churches and other historic monuments are associated with having stone exteriors. Besides this, environment friendly construction is becoming very popular across the globe as more and more natural materials are used in construction.
There are many types of stone which are used in exteriors such as granite, marble, slate, limestone and sandstone. Each material is processed very differently and has distinct natural qualities over the other types of stones. For example, granite is formed from the quick cooling of molten magma in volcanoes which is the reason it is considered the sturdiest material for exteriors. Marble on the other hand is formed from pre-existing rock on which heat or pressure is used. Granite and marble have numerous options in color and finish to choose from. Other stones such as slate, sandstone etc are used as accents on exteriors. The cost of installing stone exteriors may be more than traditional exteriors but the benefits of stone are much more.
If you feel that natural stone is expensive, there are other options such as stone veneers, which can you can opt for. Stone veneers are not natural stones but are processed in a factory giving the same look and feel as natural stone, but at a much cheaper price. However the main distinguishing factor between natural stone and veneers is the durability. Veneers are easily chipped off and can get discolored over a period of time. However, a mix of natural stone or veneers can be used in construction.
Stone can be used in the entire exterior construction or can be used to highlight certain key areas that interest you. Although initially you may feel that it may be expensive to install, you will soon realize that using stone is complete value for money as the maintenance is minimal, providing you with long term benefits. People these days have started recognizing that stone is indeed a versatile material with manifold benefits and use it extensively in outdoor walls and flooring.