How to Build Veneer Stone Walls


A stone wall adds interesting depth and texture to your home's exterior or interior. Setting individual stones in mortar to create a wall takes patience and skill. New veneer stone products make it much easier to create a stone wall for a do-it-yourselfer. Veneer stone comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and may cost 60% less to build than a traditional stone wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashing
  • Veneer stone
  • Mortar mix
  • Moisture barrier
  • Staple
  • 18-guage metal lath
  • Nails
  • Washed sand
  • Portland cement
  • Metal scraper
  • Trowel
  • Grout
  • Grout bag
  • Install flashing along the foundation of your wall to prevent water from seeping up behind the stone veneer wall. Install flashing on window and door sills and caps as well.

  • Cover the wall with a moisture barrier. Tarpaper or asphalt felt paper are popular choices but there are other options on the market as well. Place the moisture barrier in horizontal strips on the wall. Overlap seams as you staple the moisture barrier to the wall.

  • Attach 18-guage metal lath to the wall to provide support for the weight of the mortar. To ensure adequate support, nail the lath to studs rather than to the sheathing for extra support. To apply stone veneer to masonry walls, you can skip this step.

  • Mix a scratch coat of two parts washed sand and one part Portland cement with enough water to hold it together. Apply this to the metal lath. Work it deep into the openings on the lath. The coating should be ½ to ¾ inch thick. With a metal scraper, mark horizontal grooves into the scratch coat before it dries completely.

  • Set your stone veneer material out so you can begin to arrange a pattern for it. Mix pieces from different boxes to allow for slight variations in colors.

  • Prepare the masonry mix by putting two parts washed sand with one part Portland cement. Add enough water to make the mix look like mashed potatoes. Stir the masonry mix at least five minutes to get all the sand and Portland cement mixed.

  • Put ½ inch thickness masonry mix on the wall. Dampen the first piece of stone veneer to clean it. Dampening the stone also keeps the masonry mix from drying too quickly. Butter the back side of the cleaned piece of veneer stone with masonry mix and set the stone in place. Wipe off any masonry mix that gets on the veneer stone. Continue setting the rest of the stones in place. Allow the masonry mix to dry.

  • When you finish, mix the grout and add it to a grout bag. Squeeze grout between the stones. Wipe excess off the face of the stones.

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  • Photo Credit stone wall image by Greg Pickens from
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