How to Finish Inside Basement Walls With Stone


There are some amazing stone veneers out there that are very easy to install and look fabulous. They are real stone, but cut thin (about 1 to 1½ inches). Putting stone over any treated surface requires a couple more steps than starting with a bare cement surface, but don’t let the additional steps deter you.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Earplugs
  • Metal lath (if covering anything but untreated cement or concrete)
  • Staple gun (a construction staple gun is recommended)
  • 2 buckets
  • S-type mortar
  • Masonry trowel
  • Notched trowel
  • Stone veneers
  • Level
  • Circular saw (or grinder with a diamond blade)
  • Grout bag
  • ½-inch tuck pointer
  • Paintbrush or whiskbroom
  • Penetrating sealer
  • Prepare the surface by cleaning off any paint, dust, dirt or debris.

  • For treated surfaces, expand the metal lath tightly over the surface and staple it down at 4- to 6-inch intervals.

  • Mix the mortar in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once you've achieved the proper consistency, it will look like pudding.

  • For treated surfaces, apply a “scratch coat” of mortar over the lath with the masonry trowel, completely covering the mesh. Comb with the notched trowel, creating grooves on the scratch coat to ensure good adhesion.

  • Arrange 10 to 20 square feet of the stone material on the floor, like a jigsaw puzzle, in the desired pattern. Make sure you are happy with the arrangement before you proceed.

  • Use the level to make a guideline on the surface to ensure that the stones will be straight.

  • Apply mortar to the back of a stone using the trowel. Mortar should be evenly applied and about ½ inch thick.

  • Place the tile on the wall with a slight wiggling motion. Do not lift the stone or attempt to remove and reapply it. Hold the stone in place for a few seconds before continuing on the next stone.

  • Cut the bottom stones to fit, as required, for the bottom row. Put on your ear plugs, dust mask and goggles. Cutting stone creates a lot of noise and dust.

  • Prepare grout in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to the joints a few at a time, using the mortar bag. Take care not to get mortar on the face of the stone.

  • Remove excess grout with a pointing tool and smooth it between the joints as you go.

  • Smooth the grout joints with a paintbrush when the mortar dries (after about 30 to 60 minutes).

  • Seal the wall with a penetrating sealer after it has set for 4 weeks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare your work area with everything you’ll need before you begin so that the job will go smoothly.
  • If you have a wall of cement or concrete blocks, you can apply the stone directly, but if the wall has been treated in any way, you’ll need to attach the wire lath and scratch coat.
  • Start with the corner pieces at the top of the wall to avoid dripping mortar on already installed stones.
  • Always use safety gear. It is dangerous to breathe in stone dust or get any in your eyes.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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