How to Install Stone Exterior Walls

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Stone walls give your home a solid, elegant exterior appearance but are rarely used in the actual structure of the walls. Since you will be mixing concrete mortar, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to finish the project in one session, or divide it into manageable blocks. For example, if you want to install stone veneer to the entire exterior of your home, you might decide to do one wall every weekend.

Things You'll Need

  • Scaffolding or ladder
  • Level
  • Grade D waterproof paper
  • Hammer
  • 1 1/2-inch or 2-inch nails
  • 18 gauge galvanized metal lath
  • Portland cement
  • Washed sand
  • Drum cement mixer
  • Trowel
  • Metal scraper
  • Tarp
  • Stone facing
  • Joint tool
  • Stiff brush
  • Grout bag
  • Stone sealant

Prepare the Walls

  • Assemble scaffolding around the wall you have chosen to cover in stone veneer. If you are not using scaffolding, set up your ladder. Be sure the ground is solid and level and can support your weight without sinking or shifting.

  • Remove the existing siding from the section of wall you want to cover with stone veneer.

  • Follow the manufacturer's directions to apply waterproof paper to the walls.

  • Cover the entire wall with metal lath, placing a nail every 6 inches and in every stud. Be sure to overlap the lath at the seams, especially if you are wrapping it around a corner. Give yourself a 6-inch overlap at vertical seams and at least a 2-inch overlap at horizontal seams.

  • Mix one part Portland cement with two parts washed sand in the drum cement mixer.

  • Use a trowel to apply an even 1/2-inch layer of the cement mixture to the wall. Be sure to cover the lath completely.

  • Use a metal scraper to create horizontal grooves in the cement to help the mortar adhere. Give the cement at least 48 hours to set up.

Install Stone Veneer

  • Spread the tarp near your work site. Lay out the stones and arrange them in the order you will apply them to the wall. This gives you a chance to preview the wall and make sure the stones fit together well and have an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

  • Mix concrete mortar. Put one part Portland cement and two parts washed sand in the drum mixer. Mix for at least five minutes, until the mortar has a fluffy, creamy appearance.

  • Apply a half-inch layer of mortar to the wall. Smooth and level the mortar.

  • Install the stones, beginning at the top of the wall. Apply a thin layer of mortar to the back of the stone, filling in any gaps. Firmly press the stone into the mortar on the wall, squeezing out a small amount of mortar around the sides. Repeat with the remaining stones until the entire wall or section of the wall is covered.

Finishing and Clean Up

  • Use a stiff brush and hot water to clean off any mortar on the front face of the stones.

  • Use a grout bag filled with mortar to fill in gaps between the stones.

  • Allow the mortar to cure for four weeks before applying stone sealant.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your home is built of concrete, adobe, brick or another masonry material, you can skip Section 1, "Prepare the Walls," and start with Section 2.
  • Never let mortar dry on the face of the stones. It will be very difficult to remove once it is dry.

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References

  • How To Install Stone Veneer To A Wall
  • "Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Masonry & Stonework"; Editors of Creative Publishing; 2010
  • "Step-by-Step Masonry & Concrete"; Ben Allen; 1997
  • Photo Credit stone workers image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
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