Types of stone walls design guide with different materials used for construction and how to choose the right stone wall technique for your needs.
Stone walls are a great way to add a natural touch to your home by using organic materials.
However, there isn’t just one type of stone wall out there. If you’re considering adding a stone wall to your home, you can choose between a variety of styles and materials to fit the decor styles that you love.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about the different types of stone walls to make your decision.
Dry-Laid Stone Walls
You might hear dry-laid stone walls referred to as “dry-stacked” stone walls as well. These terms refer to a technique in which the stones for the wall are laid and set without the use of mortar to keep them together.
Instead, the stones are positioned so that they interlock on an upward incline with the wall tilting back slightly to help hold the formation.
This is among the types of stone walls that lean more heavily on stone placement than mortar application, it takes some skill. You’ll want to hire a skilled professional if you want a dry-laid stone wall.
If you want the exact opposite of a dry-laid wall, you can look to a mortared wall. As the name suggests, these stone walls do use mortar to hold them together, starting with a concrete base.
This often makes them heavier than dry-laid walls and you may need to check and see if your locale has any regulations or building codes about mortared walls before getting started.
The good news is that with a mortared wall, the installation is easier. You don’t necessarily need a highly skilled laborer to make sure that a mortar wall is functional and stable, at the very least.
Dumped walls are simple in concept, as you might have guessed from their name.
Rather than carefully arranging the stones the way you might expect someone to arrange a wall made of bricks, dumped walls are made up of piled stones. Quite literally, they often look like stones that are “dumped” into piles.
With this method, though, you might wonder how you define a wall versus simply a pile of stones. By most measurements, the width of the wall has to be, at maximum, a fourth of its length. If the pile is any shorter in proportion, it isn’t considered a wall by most standards.
Tossed walls are similar to dumped walls but they have a few key differences in their construction. While they may look similar, tossed walls aren’t just piled stones at a nearly random rate.
Instead, tossed walls are made by loosely but purposefully stacking stones in such a way that they stand strong and add some aesthetic appeal to the design as well.
This is a long-practiced method of creating stone walls as well. It’s been traced back as far as when farmers started to settle down and value the appearance of their land as well as the basic survival skills it helped them meet.
If you want something that will add an artistic touch to your space, you might want to consider a mosaic stone wall.
Just like any other mosaic decor piece, these walls are made up of different sized and colored stones to create a larger picture, pattern, or even just to break up the monotony of using a single tone in the wall.
There’s a lot of artistic freedom in choosing how a mosaic wall will look. After all, the combinations that homeowners and the contractors helping them can come up with are, quite literally, endless.
This is also among the types of stone walls that fit well into a variety of decor types.
What if you want stone walls but you don’t want to go through the process of building a whole new wall?
Well, there actually is an option if you want a quick look-alike stone wall and that answer is a veneer stone wall. Instead of building a new wall made of natural stone, you can just use a stone veneer on an existing wall.
Of course, this comes with some drawbacks with something like stone or brick veneer. For example, you won’t have the chance to take advantage of the durability of the stone or the monetary value of a real stone wall. However, you’re trading this for the ease of installation and reduced upfront cost.
Single Freestanding Walls
It’s worth noting that when you’re talking about building a wall in your home or on your property, we’re not referring strictly to the load-bearing walls that you have making up the rooms of your house. You can also opt to enjoy a freestanding stone wall.
This is among the types of stone walls that can have a lot of uses as well. They’re more commonly great for a visual impact on an area rather than have a functional purpose as a freestanding wall differs from a retaining wall which serves a functional purpose.
This aesthetic appeal makes stone a great choice for a freestanding wall.
Double Freestanding Walls
Who says you have to stop after adding a single freestanding wall either? If you want, you can have a set of double freestanding walls.
This could be for a variety of reasons, even if it is just to add some symmetry to the aesthetic boost that a freestanding stone wall can offer.
Double freestanding walls are a great choice if you want to create walls around another feature as well.
As an example, some people choose to add double freestanding walls on most types of patios or next to and near each other to extend a garden area or landscape focal point.
The term Gabion has its origins from the Italian word ‘gabbione’ which means ‘big cage’. A gabion wall is a wire structure tied together and filled with stacked stones. Gabions can form flexible walls that can be used for landscaping, road building, civil engineering and erosion control.
To build a gabion wall one will often buy a wire fencing mesh kit. This mesh is often referred to as Galfan which contains 95% zinc and 5% aluminum material making it long lasting under adverse outdoor weather conditions. A gabion fence when properly constructed in a hospitable environment can have a lifespan of 50 to 100 years.
Gabion walls cost about $10 to $15 per square foot and unlike many other types of walls do not require a concrete foundation. However, care must be taken while filling the structure to select large rocks that do not slip through the wire mesh housing.
Different Types of Stone Wall Materials
When it comes to stone walls, you aren’t limited to a single option. After all, “stone” refers to a category of materials rather than a single material to make a wall out of.
So, what does the word “stone” really entail then? Let’s take a moment to break down some of the different types of stone wall materials.
Sandstone & Limestone
Sandstone and limestone are both natural choices that are well-loved in home renovations, including stone walls. So, what makes these two types of stone stand out?
If you want earthy tones, limestone is a great choice. Since limestone is made up of calcium deposits over time, you can see the unique features of the formation of each stone.
On the other hand, this makes limestone vulnerable to acids – even weaker ones.
Sandstone, conversely, is made up of particles that were compressed into a stone over time. This is a great choice if you want something durable that’s resistant to heat and, while it’s still weak to acids, it isn’t quite as weak as limestone.
Fieldstone is a commonly-used stone that naturally occurs close to the surface of the Earth. It’s frequently used not only in stone walls but in gardening and landscaping uses as well.
Formerly, one of the most common uses for fieldstone is actually in home foundations about a hundred years back or more.
This means that when you consider fieldstone, you’re considering an option that’s durable and boasts high longevity.
Granite is a common choice for stone walls and it does hold a lot of benefits. For instance, when it’s properly installed and sealed, granite is resistant to water, scratches, and stains.
This gives it a level of durability and longevity that you can enjoy for a long time to come. Still, you’ll want to make sure that you reseal your granite stone wall once a year.
As for cleaning, granite won’t take a lot of heavy-duty work. All you need is a mild soap and a bit of warm water for standard, regular cleanings.
You can also make your stone wall out of a material that you’re familiar with: concrete. While you see this material every day in concrete driveways, sidewalks, and more, you might be surprised at how versatile it is to use concrete blocks in your stone wall.
For one, you can rely on concrete to be surprisingly versatile. Since they’re blocks of, typically, equal measurements, walls made of concrete blocks are easy to create aesthetically pleasing repeating patterns.
However, they aren’t as easy to install as you might expect and stone walls made out of concrete blocks are often better left to a professional who is familiar with building such a wall.
How to Choose the Right Type of Stone Wall
Choosing the right options for your very own stone wall comes down to carefully considering your wants and needs.
The best place to start is with what you need out of a stone wall. Where is the wall going? What’s your purpose for it? You might also want to consider needs such as staying within your budget.
For instance, a stone veneer is much better for the homeowner on a tight budget than an option like sandstone.
Then, think about what you want. Do you want a highly decorated wall that serves as a focal point? Mosaic walls are great for this!
Do you prefer something more uniform, concrete blocks are wonderful for creating a uniform design!
Most of all, you’ll want to make sure to do your research and choose a material that fits the design of your home.
While you consider your next home renovation you can see more related content in our article about board and batten exterior walls here.