How to Mortar Stone

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A natural stone wall is an attractive addition to any landscape. Stones can be dry stacked, but mortar adds strength and durability to the wall. If the stones are not mortared correctly, the mortar will quickly crack and stones will loosen. Follow these steps to mortar the stone in your garden wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Work Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Dust Mask
  • Stones
  • Dry Mortar Mix
  • Water
  • Mixing Bucket
  • Trowel
  • Purchase a dry mortar mix designed for masonry or stone.

  • Mix the dry mortar mix with water according to package directions. The mortar should be the consistency of brownie mix. It should be thick enough to stay on the trowel without dripping. Wear goggles to protect your eyes, gloves to protect your hands, and a dust mask to reduce inhalation of dry mortar mix.

  • Trowel a layer of mortar on the surface where the next stone will lay. If laying a stone next to another stone, trowel some mortar between the two stones.

  • Trowel a layer of mortar on the underside of the stone that will be laid next. This is called buttering the stone.

  • Place the stone on the bed of mortar and rock the stone gently into place. Excess mortar should ooze from the joints. If mortar does not ooze from the joints, there is not enough mortar under the stone.

  • Remove excess mortar from the joints and smooth the joints using the trowel and a wet finger.

Tips & Warnings

  • For a more manicured look, try using manufactured stones to build your wall. They look more alike and congruent than natural stone.
  • As you lay more stones in your wall, you will most likely need to periodically smooth the mortar joints. As the mortar dries, a wet finger is a great tool for smoothing the mortar joints.
  • Always read the mortar mix directions before mixing mortar. Do not mix more than you can use before it dries.
  • Do not mix mortar without wearing goggles and a dust mask.
  • Do not handle mortar without wearing gloves.

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