The addition of veneer stone can turn an ordinary wall, column or fireplace into an elegant and distinctive home feature. Natural stone or lightweight manufactured stone veneers can be applied over a wide range of substrates including masonry block, poured concrete walls and plywood sheeting. With a little careful planning, creativity, and puzzle-solving skills, stone veneer projects can be successfully achieved.
Once you have selected the stone veneer style for your project, the first step is to determine the quantity of stone you will need. To determine the total square feet of veneer stone that you will need, simply multiply the length of the area by the height, then subtract the square footage of any window or door openings and corner pieces.
It is always best to increase your estimate by five to ten percent to allow for cutting and trimming. Before starting your project, check local building codes for wall assembly and moisture barrier requirements in your area. Weather resistant exterior walls require the use of two layers of grade D waterproof building paper over the rigid wall sheathing including plywood, OSB, exterior gypsum board and concrete board.
When attaching the waterproof building paper, vertical seams should be overlapped by 6 inches or more and horizontal seams should be overlapped by 4 inches, in shingle fashion. The building paper should also extend 16 inches around all corners. Once the water resistant building paper is in place, galvanized expanded metal lath is installed over the entire surface using galvanized nails or staples every six inches, both vertically and horizontally.
Make sure that the nails or staples penetrate the studs a minimum one-inch. Lath should also extend 16 inches around all corners. If the veneer stone is being applied to a clean unpainted concrete or masonry, surface waterproof building paper and metal lath are not required spread out your veneer stone on the ground so that you can begin to lay out your stone pattern select pieces of varying sizes, shapes and colors.
Large stone should be placed next to smaller stones; thick stone should be placed next to thinner ones. This process will help you design a wall that includes a variety in contrast and will give the finished wall a natural appearance. Once your layout is completed, you’re ready to move forward with the application of a mortar scratch coat, which will be the foundation of your wall.
QUIKRETE Veneer Stone Mortars can be successfully mixed by hand or machine mixed. The size of your project will often determine which method you choose. QUIKRETE Veneer Stone Mortars are recommended for use as the scratch coat, bond coat and the jointing mortar in the construction process. QUIKRETE manufactures three different veneer stone mortars, each designed for specific types of veneer stone and application methods.
QUIKRETE Polymer-Modified Veneer Stone Mortar is formulated with a special water resistant polymer resin that provides twice the bond strength of standard mortar. Polymer-modified veneer stone mortar is perfect for use in dry-stack stone applications where the stone is bonded to the wall on only one edge. It is also designed for applications that will be subjected to wet conditions.
QUIKRETE Natural Stone Veneer Mortar is formulated specifically for use with natural stone. Its low-lying formula helps prevent heavy, non-porous stone from sagging. To get started, mix a batch of veneer stone mortar to a firm, workable consistency. Properly prepared mortar will hang on a trowel, held at a 90 degree angle. Gloves and safety glasses should always be worn when working with cement-based products.
Using a square trowel, apply 1/2 inch of mortar to about a 5 square foot area at the prepared surface, pressing the more firmly into the lath. Then, using a metal rake, scratch or score the surface in a horizontal direction. This process is called the scratch coat. Continue applying the scratch coat until the work area is completed. Allow the mortar to set hard, usually in about 24 hours, before moving to the next step.
Now you are ready to begin applying the veneer stone. Thoroughly dampen the back of each stone. Then, apply about a half inch of mortar to the entire back of the stone. Dampening will help prevent the water from being drawn out of the mortar. Maintaining proper water content in the mortar is essential to achieving a strong bond.
Next, press the stone firmly against the scratch coat, rotating the stone slightly into position, until mortar squeezes out. Working from the base of the wall position each stone so that the joints are no wider than about a half inch and keep the joint width consistent throughout the wall. As you’re building your wall, try to avoid smearing excess mortar on the stone.
To remove the mortar, simply allow it to begin to dry and brush away the droppings with a dry whisk brush. A wet sponge or brush should never be used to remove the excess mortar because it will cause staining that will be difficult to remove. If you need to trim a stone to fit your pattern, use a mason’s hammer or wide mouth nipper to reshape the edges of the stone.
To achieve a finished appearance, hide the cut edges by placing them well above or below eye level. Trimmed edges can also be coated with mortar to mask any color texture difference of the cut edge. Adding QUIKRETE Liquid Cement Color to standard gray veneer stone mortar can add a decorative accent to match or contrast the color of the stone.
One 10 ounce bottle of liquid cement color will color up to two 80 pound bags of veneer stone mortar. To achieve a consistent color, mix the liquid cement color into the mixing water before adding it to the mix. Using the same water to color ratio will help maintain color uniformity from batch to batch.
After the stone has been completely installed, use a grout bag to carefully fill in the joints with Veneer Stone Mortar. Avoid smearing mortar on the surface of the stones. Once the mortar joints have become thumb-print hard, use a joining tool to remove any excess mortar. Then, smooth and compact the mortar joints. Clean, smooth mortar joints will create a professional-looking result.
Gloves and safety glasses should always be worn when working with cement based products. QUIKRETE Veneer Stone Mortar, QUIKRETE Polymer Modified Veneer Stone Mortar or QUIKRETE Natural Stone Veneer Mortar may be used.
Determine the quantity of stone you will need.
NOTE: to find the total square feet of veneer stone you will need, multiply the length of the area by the height. Then subtract the square footage of any window and door openings and corner pieces. It is always best to increase your estimate by 5 to 10 percent to allow for cutting and trimming.
Attach two layers of Grade D, waterproof building paper using galvanized nails or staples in a shingled fashion over the wall sheathing extending 16 inches around all corners.
TIP: vertical seams should be overlapped by 6 inches and horizontal seams should be overlapped by 4 inches.
Install a galvanized, self-furring, expanded metal lath or 1” woven wire stucco netting over the entire surface also extending 16 inches around all corners. The lath or stucco netting should over-lap by 1” on the horizontal seams and 2” on the vertical seams.
NOTE: galvanized nails or staples should be used every 6 inches both vertically and horizontally and should penetrate the studs a minimum of 1 inch.
Spread out the veneer stone on the ground in order to layout your stone pattern.
NOTE: if you need to trim a stone to fit your pattern, use a mason’s hammer or a wide-mouth nipper to reshape the edges of the stone
Mix a batch of mortar to a firm, workable consistency – properly prepared mortar will hang on a trowel held at a 90 degree angle.
NOTE: QUIKRETE Veneer Stone Mortar (use for the application of all types of manufactured stone); QUIKRETE Polymer Modified Veneer Stone Mortar (use in dry-stack stone applications and wet conditions); QUIKRETE Natural Stone Veneer Mortar (use with natural stone)
Apply 1/2 inch of mortar to a 5 square foot area using a square trowel. Press the mortar firmly into the lath.
Scratch or score the surface in a horizontal direction using a steel bristle brush or metal rake. Continue applying the scratch coat until the work area is completed. Allow the mortar to set hard.
Dampen the back of each stone and apply about 1/2 inch of mortar to the entire back of the stone.
Press the stone firmly against the scratch coat, rotating the stone slightly into position until mortar squeezes out.
Work from the base of the wall, positioning each stone so that the joints are no wider than about a 1/2 inch and keep the joint width consistent throughout the wall.
TIP: try to avoid smearing excess mortar on the stone. Remove excess mortar by allowing it to dry and brushing away with a whisk brush. A wet sponge or brush should never be used to remove the excess mortar because it will cause staining that will be difficult to remove.
Fill in the joints with veneer stone mortar using a grout bag.
Remove any excess mortar using a jointing tool once the mortar joints have become thumb print hard.
Smooth and compact the mortar joints.
- QUIKRETE® Veneer Stone Mortar
QUIKRETE® Polymer Modified Veneer Stone Mortar
QUIKRETE® Natural Stone Veneer Mortar
- Veneer stone OR natural stone
- Grade D waterproof building paper
- Galvanized, self-furring, expanded metal lath (min. 2.5 lbs)
- Galvanized nails or staples
- Pneumatic staple gun
- Mason’s hammer OR wide-mouth nipper (optional)
- Square trowel
- Steel bristle brush OR metal rake
- Straight edge tool
- Whisk brush
- Grout bag
- Jointing tool
- Safety glasses
- QUIKRETE® Veneer Stone Mortar