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!