Basics Stone Veneer Installation
Manufactured stone veneer can be installed to any structurally sound material including wood, wallboard, masonry and metal. If the surface of where the stone is going to be installed has a residual coating such as paint, additional preparation is necessary. Either the coating needs to be removed or a wire lath needs to be secured into painted surface.
Installation over wood, wall board or similar surface needs a moisture barrier similar to a Tyvek Stucco Wrap installed with galvanized fasteners and the seams sealed with tape designed for the wrap. Some building codes also require an additional non perforated asphalt saturated organic felt installed for exterior stone installation. Over a masonry walls such as block or brick a moisture barrier is typically not necessary. Check your building codes for additional requirements.
A galvanized wire lath is secured over the moisture barrier for the non masonry surfaces (unless the masonry is painted) with appropriate sized fasteners usually nails or screws. A skim coat of mortar approximately 3/8” is applied to the wire lath surface and allowed to dry.
Corners are installed first and staggered. Typically starting at the bottom of the project, mortar is then applied to the backs of each piece of stone approximately 3/8”- ½” thick and the stone is then pushed on to the wall and gently wiggled to get a firm grip. Hold the stone for a short period of time. Try to avoid getting the mortar on the front of the stone.
Mortar joint thickness depends on the style of the stone, some stones look better without a mortar joint. After the stones have been installed you can go back with a masonry bag filled with mortar and fill in between the stones, using a trowel to strike the joint. A brush then should be used to remove excess mortar from the joint or the face of the stone.
Tips: Lay out the stone if you are new to this. Use a masonry hatchet or a grinder with a diamond blade for trimming stones to fit. Look at a masonry book to get an idea of the stone arrangement. You don’t want to have a straight line with the stones across your project. You also want to make sure that the sizes, shapes and color of stones are mixed well for variety and interest. Though you will be saving money by installing the stone yourself, you might want to consider hiring a professional mason for expert installation, their years of experience will make sure you project looks beautiful and authentic.