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Full Bed Vs. Thin Stone Veneer Products

There are a few major choices you'll be making when taking part in any kind of natural stone veneer installation project, and one of the most important is the choice between full bed or thin stone veneer products. These product types differ in thickness, but also in weight and typical application -- there are some cases where contractor preference will determine which is used, but others where the client making the order will get to decide.

At Harristone, we're proud to provide a wide range of the best stone veneers around, including a variety of product options for you to choose from in coordination with our pros. What are full bed and thin stone veneer options, how do they differ, and what are some important areas to know about as you choose between them? Here's a basic primer.

Full Bed Stone Veneer

Also referred to as building stone veneer in some circles, full bed stone veneer is a full-profile stone veneer that will range anywhere from 3-5 inches in thickness. It's the densest, heaviest form of veneer stone around.

In certain cases, the weight of full bed stone may be too great for an installation site to bear without supports or reinforcement, meaning that you'll need special measures to get your job done. In other situations, however, this thickness means that full bed stone veneer will have a strong, stable look and feel that works well with many natural stone installations.

Due to the weight load, things like wall ties and sturdy backings will typically be required for a full bed stone installation. You'll also need special equipment and training to get the job done safely and securely, which is why working with top professionals like ours is important.

In addition, building stone veneers require a foundation footing to ensure that the installation will be as strong and secure as possible. The foundation footing should be installed before any other work is done to ensure that everything goes as expected.

Thin Stone Veneer

Alternatively, thin stone veneers, also known as thin-cut veneers, refer to those with a thickness between roughly 1 and 1.5 inches. This type is far thinner and lighter than full bed stone, though it still boasts the same look and feel as its thicker counterpart. Generally speaking, this form of stone veneer will weigh roughly 13 pounds per square foot.

Thin-cut veneers require far less support than their heavy counterparts; in most cases, they can be installed over existing concrete substrates with no issues or complications. Due to their thinner size (and lighter weight), thin stones also don't require any special footings, which saves you money on installation costs.

Compared to full bed stone veneers, thin stone veneers are much easier to install. They're easier to lift, for one, and they can be installed by one person rather than a crew. Thinner stone is also designed with an engineered interlock, which means that it won't require mortar to install reliably. In addition, thin stone veneer is much cheaper and easier to transport to any job site.

Though their thinness can be beneficial, thin stone veneers aren't recommended for every project. If the natural stone installation isn't directly related to exterior walls or other large surfaces that can take a fair amount of weight, then using full bed stone may be your best bet.

Our next few sections will go over important areas where full bed and thin stone veneer are either similar or different, plus how to choose between them based on those factors.


Cost is a curious area here, and one you need to read the details on to understand. From a raw product standpoint, full bed stone veneer is actually cheaper than thin stone veneer -- but because so much more material has to be used for full bed projects than for thin projects, final costs for full bed projects tend to be a bit higher once everything has been laid out.

Generally speaking, full bed stone veneer projects will cost around 30-50% more than thin projects unless you're doing some special work on the installation. If your home or project is larger, it's possible that this price difference may be offset by reductions in materials costs over the long run.


Due to its lightweight and ease of use, thin stone veneers are much easier to install than full bed stone. The lighter weight means that your crew is less likely to get injured when they're lifting or doing other related tasks, and it also means that you can transport the flat stones more easily.

In many cases, this also results in lower installation costs in the long run. Though materials for thin stone veneers are more expensive than full bed stone, this price gap is often offset by the ease with which it is installed (and by its lighter weight).


Both these options can look fantastic and create amazing curb appeal for your property. There's technically no right or wrong choice here; if you like the look of full bed products and your crew is at least somewhat familiar with them, then you should go with those.

On the other hand, if you have a tight budget or are working on a project where weight would be an issue, thin stone veneer may be the right choice for you. Either way, you won't be disappointed with the final result and will get a seamless and natural look that's sure to impress everyone who visits your home or business.

For more on how to choose between full bed and thin stone veneer for your needs, or to learn about any of our stone veneer products or stone accessories, speak to the team at Harristone today.



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