Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Stone And Perma-Stone

There is something beautiful and amazing about many of this areas old stone homes.  The one at the right is a 20's vintage craftsman bungalow  here in Washington.  The wall are thick.  The house is solid.  The stone exterior is virtually maintenance free.

Nearby, in the same neighborhood is a house I listed many years ago that I called the Perma Stone Palace.   It is covered with a product that was popular during the 1930's.  The original patent was issued in 1929 for Perma Stone, and for a long time, I thought their top salesman lived in Baltimore.  

But there were several companies around the country that manufactured the polyester of stone, and one of them, the Lasting Products Company in Baltimore, manufactured a synthetic stone product called Formstone.

This stuff is all over Baltimore, especially on row houses, and it was sold as a permanent solution for maintenance free exteriors.  It was used to cover homes that had problems with wood siding that was weathered or bricks that needed a bit of re-pointing.  It was thick, and it was supposed to insulate pretty well.

There's only one problem.  This stuff looks tacky.  And people who own homes with this stuff on the exterior take a sizable risk should they want to remove it.  It's not called Perma Stone for nothing!

In Baltimore, the Formstone salesmen were so good that their product is seen in neighborhoods across the city, often on row houses that had problematic facades.  And the fake stone covered more than just the funky bricks.  It hides many of the original architectural details of these turn of the last century tract housing.  

Not that they were gorgeous to begin with.  

The product is found in homes around the country and under a bunch of different trade names.   

It's difficult to remove.  You can try to bury it in stucco or paint it red, as one of the owners did in this row of homes in Baltimore's Little Italy. 

And, believe it or not, there are some historic preservation folks who actually want the stuff preserved!   

Go figure! 

Comment balloon 17 commentsPatricia Kennedy • January 26 2008 09:19PM


Looks like stamped concrete.   Durable but a pain to change.
Posted by Adam Brett, The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest (The Adam and Eric Group) over 12 years ago

Patricia, The thing to do is make ugly Permastone in vogue again..LOL! Speaking of that have you seen the spring fashion... Who'd have thunk PUCCI prints would be back only REALLY Ugly this time!!


Posted by Ginger S, Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~ (Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC) over 12 years ago
Why would anyone want to preserve this stuff? It looks like you have just walked onto a movie set, there's nothing attractive about it! Reminds me of the fake brick facades...oh, I'm fooled into thinking that's real brick...NOT.
Posted by Cris Burlew, Broker ~ St Pete Beach FL Real Estate (Beach & Luxury Realty, Inc.) over 12 years ago
There's a big difference in using the REAL stuff. The imitation just doesn't do the same job and doesn't have the same authentic look.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 12 years ago
Better perma-stone than asphalt shingles.  I've never figured that style out!
Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 12 years ago
Yes - I have seen this - lots of it.  Changing it I think would be a huge risk/expense. 
Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 12 years ago
I lived in Baltimore City for four years (the longest I've lived in one house) and saw a lot of Form Stone removal.   I figure at some point when most of it has been removed, it'll become desirable again.  UGH!
Posted by Gregory Maley, REALTOR, GRI, CBR, SHS, e-PRO, ABR (Sold Buy the Sea Realty & R.E.N.T.) over 12 years ago
Patricia- Heck, down here we don't even know what real stone or brick much less permastone! :) How about some stucko? Katerina
Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 12 years ago

Patricia - wow - that was a lesson! I did not know about this stuff! I would probably pass on a home that had it if I was the buyer, but different people have different tastes - thanks for the lesson!

By the way, I forward many of your posts on to my son, who lives up in DC and he loves reading your blogs!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 12 years ago

Are you sure that is Little Italy? Looks like Chestnut Avenue in Hampden to me. And tacky is now cool in Hampden, Hon.

I didn't know that Brick went up as a facade on top of concrete until I passed John Hopkins Hospital the other day. Learn something new everyday.

Thanks for your article.



Posted by Bob over 12 years ago

I bought a house with permastone siding recently. I hate it. Thinking of covering with stucco. Anyone have experience painting or stucco'ing their permastone?

Posted by Marlena almost 12 years ago

We have permastone on our home and we like it, Our problem is that it is cracking in one area and would like to find someplace that sells it and does repairs here in the Harrisburg  PA. area.

Posted by grace almost 12 years ago

Im a contractor in harrisburg pa. and I have repaired permastone for 35yrs .I still have most of the original colors and shapes . will travel   717 6083651

Posted by lou over 9 years ago

For Lou - are you still repairing permastone? Most of the permastone on our Cape Cod home is in good condition but there are a few sections in dire need of repair. We are just outside Harrisbirg in Progress. My email is

Posted by Kathleen over 9 years ago

I have a permastone house in Vermont and want to have additional permastone  applied to the house.  Does anyone know of a local contractor that specializes in permastone?

Posted by Fred about 9 years ago

Fred, why don't you Google Permastone and Vermont?  That might be a way to find a contractor.  I haven't seen any new permastone lately, though.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Check out PermastineRepair .com for all your permastone repair questions!

Posted by LouV about 6 years ago