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Natural Thin Stone Veneer Surface Preparation

Preparing the exterior of your home for installation of natural stone veneer starts with prepping the surface over which the stone will be installed. Any installation must begin with a solid, clean wall capable of bearing the load, or weight, of the stone and materials.


A new home installation typically involves installing the stone over wood or metal studs that have been covered with sheathing, moisture barrier, wire mesh, and a scratch coat of mortar. Existing structures with vinyl or wood siding may require the siding to be removed before installation. Sheathing materials include cement board or plywood and provide a durable surface to which all other layers will attach. Moisture barriers can be made of plastic or a composite material, but the most popular is felt paper, similar to what is used under roofing shingles. The requirement and specifications for a moisture barrier are typically defined by local or national building code. Installing wire mesh with a scratch coat of mortar creates the next layer. After drying, another layer of mortar will be laid and then the stone veneer will be installed.


Most interior installations require, at a minimum, a wire mesh layer with a scratch coat over drywall, plywood, or cement board. Moisture prone areas, such as a shower or bathroom may require a moisture barrier one or two layers thick.