How to Install Artificial Rocks on a Cement Wall


Plain concrete structures often have a cold, industrial feel. Imbue an unattractive concrete wall with the rustic look of natural stone construction, using artificial rock facing. Made to imitate the look and durability of real stones, artificial facing comes in a wide variety of styles, including field stone, slate and river rock. Install lightweight sections of flat-backed facing to concrete easily with mortar and grout. Use mortar and grout recommended by the manufacturer of the rock facing.

Things You'll Need

  • Concrete cleaner
  • Scrub brush
  • Mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Grout
  • Grouting bag
  • Jointer
  • Grout sealer
  • Paintbrush
  • Clean the concrete thoroughly with concrete cleaner, scrubbing with a scrub brush, if it is not new construction. Surfaces must be free of dirt, grime and grease for the mortar to properly adhere. Rinse the concrete with fresh water.

  • Moisten the flat backs of the artificial rocks and the concrete with water before applying mortar. Working from the top of the wall down, apply mortar to the wall and to the back of the rocks, using a notched trowel. Apply mortar in approximately 1/2- to 3/4-inch thicknesses. Press the rocks firmly onto the wall and tap them with a rubber mallet to set them in place. Allow the mortar to dry for one day before grouting.

  • Fill the seams between rocks with grout, extruding the grout from a grout bag, which works much like an icing bag. Pack and smooth down the grout by running the tip of a jointer tool along the grout lines. Quickly wipe away any grout that smears on the stone with a damp rag. Grouting is not necessary if the rocks lock perfectly together or when facing an interior wall.

  • Seal the grout with a grout sealer once the grout has fully cured, using a paintbrush.

Tips & Warnings

  • If a concrete wall is sealed or painted, strip the finish or line the wall with metal lath to ensure that the rocks and mortar are able to "grip" the surface.

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