Stone Veneer, or a more proper name would be Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer. One of the newer exterior cladding being installed in the area over the last decade on mid to higher end homes. This material should be treated like stucco due to the potential problems of water damage to the home and structure.
The stone veneer must drain any moisture away from the structure. This is true with any exterior cladding, but it’s especially true with stone veneer since all that masonry holds a lot of water. If the water can’t drain away, it will most likely get sucked into the framing of the home then evaporate through the stone veneer along the outside of the home.
There should be a minimum of 1-inch air space behind the veneer to allow moisture/water to drain at the bottom. Allowing water to be trapped behind the veneer can accelerate the water damage due to the concentration of moisture at the base of the walls.
One of the must important details on the exterior cladding is flashing. Flashing will divert water/moisture from entering behind the cladding causing the water damage to the structure. Roof-wall intersections, windows and doors, inside corners, top of walls and rake returns all need some type of flashing or deterrent to stop water from entering behind the veneer cladding.
Your getting a good idea that stone veneer needs to drain, horizontal transitions need to allow water to exit the wall assembly and all vertical transitions need a small gap to create a flexible joint to stope water penetration. Some of these details can be difficult to see during the home inspection process but with knowledge and a good eye, some can be spotted before to much damage is done.
The best way to avoid the expensive repairs is to have a qualified contractor install the material to the manufacturer’s specs. If you have any questions or concerns about your exterior cladding feel free to contact Midlands Home Inspections.