How to Apply a Metal Lath

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When installing a heavy cover material such as cultured stone or stone veneer onto a vertical surface, an additional layer of support is often required for the associated weight. A layer of metal lath, attached to your walls, provide the support needed. Metal lath, made by perforating a steel sheet, is a semi-flexible sheathing material that you can lay across a wood or drywall surface to distribute the weight of the added mortar and stones across the surface. This distribution then allows you to place the heavier materials onto the surface without them falling off during or after the installation.

Things You'll Need

  • PH-neutral cleanser
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Tape measure
  • Metal mesh
  • Tin snips
  • Stud finder
  • Chalk
  • Non-corrosive 1 ½-inch galvanized nails
  • Hammer
  • Clean the surface where you intend to place the lath, using a sponge and a pH-neutral cleanser. Wipe away any dirt encountered on the surface, but don't saturate the surface with liquid as this could cause some warping. Rinse the cleaner off the surface with water, and then pat the surface dry with a cloth.

  • Use a tape measure to measure the surface where you intend to attach the lath. Cut the lath so it covers the surface completely with space added to the measurements to overlap the lath 6 inches along any horizontal seams, and 2 inches along vertical seams. Use a pair of tin snips to make your cuts along the lath.

  • Use a stud finder to locate any wall studs in the surface. Mark the location of the studs with a piece of chalk.

  • Attach the metal lath to the walls, beginning at a corner and extending to the opposite corner. Place the lath against the walls with the diamond pattern in the mesh positioned so that they point upwards. Nail the lath to the walls, using a hammer to drive noncorrosive 1 ½-inch galvanized nails through the mesh into the subsurface every 6 inches. Use wall studs for the placement of the nails as often as possible for additional security of the mesh attachment. Overlap the mesh before nailing through overlapping areas, and overlap the mesh 16 inches around corners before starting a new mesh piece on the new wall surface.

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