Enhancing the Stone

Stone veneer panels on aluminum honeycomb combine the beauty of natural stone with the design freedom, strength, and lightness of metal panels
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Sponsored by StonePly
By Robyn M. Feller
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Backing Options

The designer can also select from various backing options. Depending on the manufacturer, these can include aluminum honeycomb, aluminum composite material (ACM), and even glass.

Aluminum honeycomb backing (which we are focusing on in this article), typically ranges from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. This is the most common type for exterior cladding, bathroom partitions, or areas where high strength is needed.

Honeycomb backing on stone.

Honeycomb backing on stone

Another backing option is aluminum composite material (ACM), which is typically used on flooring or areas where a thinner material is required. The backing is just 5/16 inch thick. The stone on ACM applies with adhesive directly to a smooth surface and relies on the substrate for support.

ACM backing.

ACM backing

Translucent backing is a glass panel. This is used with certain translucent marbles and onyx; it is generally used for lighted bars, backlit walls, or feature panels and ranges from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch thick.

Translucent backing.

Translucent backing


For most applications, the panels attach with Z -clips or interlocking aluminum channels. The Z-clip or channel is attached to the wall, and a matching Z-clip or channel is on the back of the panel. The panels are then simply hung. Joints can be either caulked with a selected sealant or left open in an open-joint rainscreen. Thanks to the lightness of the panels, they can be installed from a variety of platforms, including scaffolding, boom lifts, scissor lifts, or swing stage scaffolding.

Interlocking channel attachment, used to attach panels to the substrate.

Interlocking channel attachment, used to attach panels to the substrate

Technical Specifications and Performance

When choosing a stone veneer on aluminum honeycomb panel, specifiers should look for a product that has been ASTM tested and where the panels meet or exceed the testing.

Panel installation techniques are designed to improve the safety, durability, and long-term performance. As noted, typical installation for these types of panels is usually with a Z-clip or concealed screw. With the Z-clips, they lock into place on a substrate, which locks them into place easily. With the concealed screw, they are screwed to the substrate for a little more secure attachment.

Z-clip attachment, used to attach panels to the substrate.

Z-clip attachment, used to attach panels to the substrate


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Originally published in Architectural Record