Tips to Building a Stone House from a Fortress Home Expert

Stone is one of the oldest and most valued materials used in construction. Prized for its durability, sustainability, and of course timeless looks, natural stone continues to be as popular as ever as a material from which to build a house.

In this guide, the experts at Fortress Home run through the advantages to building with natural stone, some common types of stone wall, and tips to consider when planning how to build a house out of stone.

Reasons to build with stone

There are many advantages to building a stone home.

Stone looks attractive: No doubt the primary attraction for many seeking to build a stone house is how nice natural stone and rock walls look. Stone comes in all kinds of shapes, colors, and textures. Using local materials such as rock, slate, or granite brings an element of character and beauty to any living home.

Durable and fireproof: Stone houses last longer than many other types of construction. Unlike other materials such as wood, natural stone is also impervious to various invaders such as bugs, rodents, or dry rot.

So when you set about building a solid stone house, you can be sure the structure will stand the test of time — as long as the building work is carried out properly.

Insulation: Stone has a high thermal mass, meaning it can absorb, store and release more heat than many other materials. Used correctly, materials with high thermal mass such as building stone can reduce energy bills for heating or cooling your home.

Versatile: Contrary to what many people think, stone is actually a versatile construction material that is easy to build with if you have the right skills and equipment. If you are an experienced mason armed with the right skill set, tools, and traditional techniques, even building a stone house by hand is possible if you know how to build a stone house yourself.

For all the rest of us - for whom building a stone house DIY is a bit out of reach — the best bet is to locate an experienced stone masonry outfit in your local area that knows the ins and outs of how to build a rock house and can get your stone wall house built for a decent price.

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Types of stone wall

When we picture a stone house, one usually imagines a traditional structure with walls made from stones stacked on top of each, either dry-stack natural stone walls (as seen in old houses in places like Ireland) or mortared natural stone walls where the stones are joined together with Portland cement.

Nowadays, many stone houses actually consist of a stone veneer on a structural wall made of some other material such as concrete. In this type of construction, flat stones are attached to the face of a structural wall using cement.

Slipform stone masonry lies somewhere in between these two methods. Slipform stone masonry mixes stone masonry and concrete work to create a wall that combines the positive attributes of both.

Tips for building a stone house

If building a house out of stone seems like a daunting prospect, you might find these quick tips on building a house with stone useful to familiarize yourself with the basics of how to build a stone home.

Pick the right design and location

Stone is a natural material and it is best to design a house that will fit in harmony with the surrounding environment.

It is also important to build on ground that is firm and drained well to avoid the masonry cracking later in the event of settling occurring.

Know your stone

Different types of building stone have different properties. It is worth spending time to understand the different available types of stone for building a house before you choose which type to use.

From slate and marble to granite and limestone, stones come in all shapes and sizes — so it pays to choose the building stone carefully to get the right look and properties for your new home.

General contractor: contract draft is always a must to inquire from your potential contractor!

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Plan carefully and think about future needs

One downside to stone is that it is relatively difficult to modify if you later decide that you want to change something. So, think carefully about your design as it is fairly difficult to change course or make alterations once you've started.

Lay strong foundations

Any structure, whether it be made of stone masonry or other material, is only as strong as its foundations. Concrete is poured on the suitable ground in a wood frame to provide a stable base on which to build.

Build up the stone walls

Once the foundations are dry and ready, you can begin to build up the stone walls using the chosen method such as slipform stone masonry. The inside of the wall can be made with a stone face (called a sandwich-type wall) which looks attractive and stores heat well. To install wiring, shelves, and plumping, paneled stud walls can be installed to provide the necessary space.

Cost of building a stone house

To estimate the cost to build a stone house, you will need to consider various factors such as the floor area, height, and layout of your home; the type and amount of stone and other construction materials needed to build the stone walls; and any other special considerations related to the site of the house or special design features.

If you are wondering about stone houses, stone walls, or have a particular stone wall house project in mind, we can run you through the various variables involved and help you get a picture of how much to build a stone house.

At Fortress Home, our careful project management and deep network of relationships with local tradesmen and suppliers allow us to control costs so that you can realize your dream stone home for a reasonable price.

Trusted stone house builders in Chicago

With over two decades of experience, we have become one of the leading outfits when it comes to building a house with stone and mortar in the Chicago area.

So if you are thinking of building a beautiful inexpensive stone house, a stone cottage, building a small stone house, or simply want to know more about stone houses, why not pick up the phone and speak to us today. We will be happy to answer any questions you have and run you through the process of how to build a stone house step by step so you know what to expect as you progress towards building your dream natural stone masonry house.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are stone houses cheaper to build?

No, actually building from stone is more expensive than the brick or cinder blocks. But in the long term, (look at those Medieval castles!) buildings made of stone are one of the most solid ones imaginable. This material will last centuries — and it is a very reasonable solution to choose stone for the house of your dreams.

Why don't we build stone houses?

Maybe because the stone is not such a common building material nowadays — and there is less and less knowledge about building from it on the market. If you are considering getting a stone house, give us a call at Fortress Home at 773-770-8607. We have more than 2o years of experience building stone houses and we will be happy to give you a free consultation and an estimate.

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