Most people think that installing Manufactured Stone is something they could never do. Don’t dismiss your ability, because it can dramatically transform the look of your home both inside and out and increase your property value.
While it may take some special tools, you probably already have the ability to do it yourself. Once you have your surface prepared and ready, installing the stone can actually be a lot of fun. Some smaller projects can be completed within a day or a weekend.
Installing stone can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary or even something that is unique and eye-catching to those around. A plain brick or stone wall might look boring and cold, but stone can transform it into a naturally beautiful, warm feature. With modern versions of manufactured stone, installation is easy and totally possible for the average home do-it-yourselfer(even me).
And if you’re concerned that the manufactured stuff might not look as good as real stone, think again we go to great lengths to make our product look authentic, even up close.
You may require some special tools. Most do-it-yourselfers have a pretty good selection of basic tools on hand. But you’ll need a few not-so-common tools for your manufactured stone installation.
Specifically, you will need a masonry blade for your saw. Most saws are capable of cutting manufactured stone as long as you attach a masonry blade. Depending on where you are installing, you may have to cut the pieces into different sizes or shapes. A chop/Miter or circular saw can be used with the proper blade. A lot of people use a wheelbarrow but I prefer to mix mortar in a bucket to get the mixture right and I don’t have as much waste.
You will also need a trowel to spread the mortar onto the back of the stone piece and for your scratch coat to apply mortar.
About the only part of the project that might seem like work is the surface preparation. The preparation to me is also the labour intensive part; I like to use a minimum of a 3/8″ plywood for support, but depending on the previous surface there are many options.
Before you start putting up the stone, you may need to add a thin “scratch” coat of mortar(just like a stucco Scratch) I prefer the surface to be level but not smooth. I like to use a grout notched trowel to create a better bonding surface. In exterior home areas, you may need to put up a moisture barrier(check local building codes) but definately a metal lathe in your scratch coat to support the weight of the surface. We should be able to help you make the decision of how to proceed.
Placing the stone on the wall is simple and a little like a go as you want jigsaw puzzle. I like to do 3 or 4 layers of corners then fill in between with flats. Mixing and matching the stone pieces is like playing with Lego as a kid. You don’t want vertical joints to line up and you want a nice flow to the pattern of the stone. Sometimes(mostly always) a woman’s eye can help pick out the right mix of colour and pattern. I like to put a nice healthy load of mortar on the back of the stone; just like buttering a piece of toast (I call it buttering the stone) but with more mortar… my doctor would kill me if I used that amount of butter! From there put the “buttered” stone onto the wall and give it a little twist and push to bond into the scratch.
Half the fun of working with manufactured stone is the picking the right profile and colour for your project. Some styles will require you to have a mortar bag to fill in joints and others will be simply a drystack that has no mortar to fill the gaps. Whatever your choice is; it can be a simple enjoyable process that allows you to express your taste while improving the look and price of your home.