StonePanels International LLC

Natural Disaster Preparation With StoneLite®

StoneLite® panels are the best choice for builders because of their exceptional flexural strength, which is ideal for areas susceptible to natural disasters unlike brittle, dimensional stone. Every season brings its own variety of inclement weather. This month has already seen significant flooding in England, tornadoes in Maryland and strong storms in Missouri. Stone Panels, Inc. has constructed buildings in all of these areas that, despite the devastating effects of these storms, still stand today with no significant damage.

After strong winds and hail hit Missouri in the beginning of June, it was reported that Diehlstadt village in Scott County, Missouri, which is about 100 miles south of St. Louis, saw the worst of it.  Stone Panels, Inc. has five projects in the St. Louis area, all of which remain standing and unscathed.

Maryland, which has the third highest tornado density in the U.S., had 12 tornadoes touch down on June 1. Two of the areas hit were Simpsonville in Howard County and Poolesville in Montgomery County. Both of these areas are 30 miles or less from Gaithersburg, where Stone Panels, Inc. built a two-story Lord & Taylor, which is well-designed to endure the violent, rotating winds.

StoneLite® panels have been tested for wind loads and missile impact in accordance with Florida building codes TAS 201-94, TAS 202-94, TAS 203-94 and ASTM E 330. The panels resisted numerous large missile impacts from 8 foot long 2 X 4 wood studs traveling in excess of 50 ft per second. The panels deflected to absorb the load, but were neither penetrated or chipped. The StoneLite® panels also successfully withstood more than 1,300 repetitions of 90 PSF design wind loading, followed by 135 PSF (150% of design wind pressure) and all test criteria was met for Florida Code acceptance.

Torrential rain swept across the south of England just last week causing unexpected flooding, which called for immediate action. West Sussex, about 50 miles from London, had to close roads and even set up an evacuee center. Stone Panels, Inc. has several completed projects in the United Kingdom area including the London Weather Center and the Southampton Operational Command Unit in Hampshire that are designed to handle these types of torrential storms.

In order to be fully prepared for a disastrous storm or flood, StoneLite® underwent air and water infiltration testing where both travertine and marble panels were attached to steel stud framed assemblies. These assemblies successfully passed air infiltration and water penetration tests before and after thermal cycling temperatures between +180 F and -20 F. After passing the 30-psf-design load and 45-psf overload, the simulated negative wind load was taken to 180 psf (equal to 265 miles per hr). In addition, StoneLite® has a complete, impervious moisture barrier between the stone veneer and the aluminum honeycomb substrate. Independent testing, combined with on-the-wall performance, has proven this several times.

At Stone Panels Inc., we put our products through these rigorous testing methods to ensure their strength and each test has had the same conclusion: no panel failure. We have proven performance in all climates but our testing is never complete because we test our product again and again to ensure its strength and durability continue to be up to date.

To get more information about our testing methods, visit our website or call our Technical Services Staff: (800) 328-6275 or (469) 635-5000