How to Stone Veneer a House

The natural, rustic look of stone provides warmth and elegance. Creating a fireplace or accent wall or even remodeling your home's exterior with stone veneer can update your style and set a mood. Today, natural stone veneers are light enough to install simply, and artificial stone veneers look just as real as authentic stone. Sturdy, easy to maintain and attractive, a stone veneer wall might be the best renovation you ever make.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Paint scraper
  • Chemical stripper
  • Asphalt felt paper, plastic sheeting or other weather/vapor barrier
  • Seam tape
  • 2-inch nails
  • 18-gauge wire lath
  • Washed sand
  • Portland cement
  • Notched trowel
  • Rag or sponge
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Mortar bag
  • Joint tool
  • Soft-bristle brush
  1. Wall Preparation

    • 1

      Sand or scrape your wall to remove any paint, if your wall has paint on it. You can use chemical strippers if you prefer.

    • 2

      Spread a weather-resistant vapor barrier over the wall if you are installing stone veneer on an exterior surface. Use asphalt felt paper, plastic sheeting or a similar product. Make sure the surface is dry first, then unroll the barrier and cover the wall completely, nailing it in place every 2 feet.

    • 3

      Seal the seams where the vapor barrier joins another piece, taping them with seam tape. Do not use any other tape, or your barrier may fail.

    • 4

      Nail 18-gauge wire lath to any wall upon which you plan to install your stone veneer, except interior masonry walls. On interior masonry walls, install your stone veneer directly to the masonry surface. Overlap the lath slightly at any joints. Secure it with 2-inch nails, placed every 16 inches horizontally and 6 inches vertically.

    • 5

      Mix mortar to use for your scratch coat. Use 2 parts washed sand to 1 part Portland cement. Stir for at least five minutes, making sure the mortar is similar in appearance to creamy mashed potatoes.

    • 6

      Spread the mortar on the wall surface, using a notched trowel, leaving it between 1/2- and 3/4-inch thick. Allow the scratch coat to dry until set, providing a hard masonry surface.


    • 1

      Moisten the back of a stone, using a rag or sponge dipped in water. Failure to do so might allow moisture to absorb the mortar into the stone, leading to mortar crumbling and failing.

    • 2

      Spread a thin coat of mortar onto the back of each stone, similar to buttering bread. Leave about a 1/4-inch-thick layer -- too much, and it will squeeze out around each stone; too little, and it will not adhere correctly to the wall.

    • 3

      Start at a corner of the wall, pressing the buttered stone to your wall. Press firmly and hold the stone to the wall a second until it is secure. Note that some mortar will squish out around the stone and partially fill the joints surround the stone. Leave 1/2 inch between the stones for mortar, if you desire a grout between your stones.

    • 4

      Cut any stone as needed to fit your design, using pliers, a hammer or any convenient method that works for you. Do not worry about precise breaks, as stone is naturally somewhat uneven. Place cut pieces above eye level or near the very bottom of the wall, with the cut edge away from eyesight, for best appearance. Butter and place all the stones until the wall is completely covered.

    • 5

      Fill a mortar bag with the same grout you used to set the stones. Fill the all joints with mortar, squeezing it out to fill the grooves completely. Wait about an hour, letting the joints become firm, and then use a joint tool to round off the grout. Brush any excess grout off the entire wall with a dry, soft-bristle brush.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stone veneer will install on brick, concrete and other masonry walls without a mortar bed.
  • Seal your stone veneer with a sealer approximately four weeks after installation to prevent stains and to help protect your stone veneer's appearance. Reapply the sealer periodically.
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  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

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