Real Stone Veneer Installation

Natural stone veneer can be applied to any structurally sound wall.  Below are the four most common installations and surface preparations for each.

Framed Open Stud Wall (Exterior)

Once the studs are in place, exterior sheathing that meets local building codes needs to be applied. Types of sheathing include: treated plywood, rigid composite board or flush metal siding. A weather resistance barrier is then applied to the sheathing. At The Quarry Mill, we recommend overlapping the weather resistance barrier by a minimum of six inches at each joint.

The next step after the weather resistant barrier is to apply an expanded metal lath (wire mesh). It is important that galvanized nails are used when applying this mesh. Of equal importance is to make sure that when the metal lath is installed, it completely wraps around each corner with a minimum of six inches of overlap on the adjacent wall.  The final step before installing the stone is to apply approximately a half inch of scratch coat to the wall.

Cement Board (Interior Only)

For interior walls or fireplaces, cement board is the easiest and most efficient application.  The cement board is attached to the studs and then the natural stone veneer is applied directly to the cement board.  This is the only application of stone veneer where it is acceptable to use a construction adhesive to attach the stone to the wall.

Poured Concrete Wall (Exterior or Interior)

There are two options for applying the natural stone veneer to a poured concrete wall.  The first option is applying and overlapping the expanded metal lath followed by a half inch scratch coat.  The other option is to apply the stone veneer directly to the wall.  Regardless of whether it is new construction or an existing surface, the most important thing you need to do is make sure that the concrete is clean. There are different methods for cleaning the concrete. These include:

1)      Hydrochloric acid can be used to remove oils and release agents from newly-poured concrete walls.

2)      Scoring the concrete wall by using a wire brush to clean the surface.

3)      Sandblasting the concrete walls on existing surfaces. It is important to note that the structural integrity needs to be checked before any sandblasting is done.

Once the surface has been cleaned, the next step is to thoroughly rinse the surface and then allow time for it to completely dry.

Cement Block (Exterior or Interior)

The natural stone veneer can be applied directly to a CMU/Masonry wall without any special preparations.  There is no need for a wire mesh or scratch coat on this type of application. The stone can be applied directly to the block with the mortar.

Installing the Stone

Once the surface has been prepped, you are now ready to install the natural stone veneer.  Steps:

1)      Remove any dust that may be on the back of the stone from the sawing process with a clean cloth. This is important as it ensures a good bond with the mortar and wall.

2)      At each level, the corner pieces are installed before the flats. Each corner piece has a long and short end. They need to be installed with alternating patterns. This will help develop the basic outline for the pattern for the flats.

3)      Coat the back of each piece of stone with mortar and press firmly in place. Make sure you have applied enough mortar and also that you press firmly enough to create a solid bond.  You should see mortar coming out on the sides of the stone.

4)      Next, you have to decide if the excess mortar will be used to create the mortar joints or if you will be wiping this away and filling the mortar joints separately

5)      Allow the mortar to cure for 2 -3 days.  Use a clean, soft-bristle brush to wipe away any excess mortar from the stone.  Never wash the stone with any type of acid.

As with anything, a project like this takes time. However, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a job well done.  Feel free to call us with any questions or send us photos showing off your finished project.

Quikrete, a mortar manufacturer also has a detailed video showing the installation process: