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Real Stone Veneer Installation

Natural stone veneer can be applied to any structurally sound wall. The four most common installations are: framed open stud wall, cement board, poured concrete wall, and cement block. Below are surface preparations for each type of installation.

Framed Open Stud Wall (Exterior)

To apply natural thin stone veneer to an exterior open stud wall, exterior sheathing (which meets local building codes) needs to be attached to the studs. 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.

After the weather resistant barrier, the next step is to apply an expanded metal lath (wire mesh). It is important that galvanized nails are used when applying this mesh. The metal lath should completely wrap around each corner with a minimum of six inches of overlap on the adjacent walls. 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 natural stone veneer to poured concrete walls. The first option is to apply and overlap a metal lath with a half inch scratch coat before applying natural thin stone veneer. The second option is to apply thin stone veneer directly to the wall. When applying thin stone veneer directly to the wall, it is essential the wall is clean. There are different methods for cleaning the concrete including: hydrochloric acid, scoring the concrete, and sandblasting.

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

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

3) Sandblasting the concrete wall is done to clean existing surfaces. It is important to check the structural integrity of the wall before sandblasting.

Once the surface has been cleaned, the next step is to thoroughly rinse the surface and allow time to dry completely before applying natural thin stone veneer.

Cement Block (Exterior or Interior)

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

Regardless of the interior/exterior wall surface, installation of natural stone veneer is relatively consistent. Once the surface has been prepped, the installation steps are:

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 will ensure a good bond with the mortar and wall.

2) At each row of installation, the corner pieces are installed before the flats. Each corner piece has a long and short end. Install the corner pieces with alternating patterns. This will help develop the basic outline for the pattern of the flats.

3) Coat the back of each piece of stone with mortar and press firmly in place. Make sure to apply enough mortar and press firmly enough to create a solid bond. You should see mortar coming out on the sides of the stone. Either use the excess mortar to create the mortar joints or wipe away the excess and fill the mortar joints separately.

4) 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.

Conclusion

Regardless of the installation surface, natural stone veneer will give your project a custom, quality appearance. Feel free to contact us with any questions or send us photos showing off your finished project.

Check out this detailed video showing the installation process from Quikrete, a mortar manufacturer. Although, the video shows manufactured stone, the installation process is the same for the Quarry Mill’s real thin stone veneer.