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It is rare that beauty can come out of something that most people don’t consider as useful.  The trend in construction is cost effective but esthetically pleasing.  Both Natural and Manufactured Stone can fill both of these needs and wants with the right combination of profile and color.  Never before has there been such a broad spectrum of beautiful Stone products at a reasonable price.

Although Natural Stone is heavier than manufactured stone it is a great alternative. Many people think that Natural Stone is much heavier than the alternatives; but now with thin cut Veneer stone from suppliers such as Kodiak Mountain Stone; weights are much less than traditionally thought.  It used to be that solid full bed stone was the only thing you could install to give you a natural look; but with advances in stone technology; Natural Stone has been cut thinner and thinner and can be installed in the same manor as manufactured stone with it being actual Stone.

Stone demand has gone way up for Kodiak Mountain manufactured stone as well. With the varied selection, different sectors have also jumped on board including landscaping, general construction, residences, interior decorating and of course masons. All enjoy using custom stone in a variety of ways both commercially and residentially. With the lower costs of manufactured stone, and it being more user friendly; new customers are using stone in projects never conceived of before. Basically, people can find the stone that fits their particular need and style.

In choosing Kodiak Mountain Stone; we have innovative materials, coloring pigments and concrete that is molded and manufactured to make it look real and natural. Only people with an intimate knowledge of stone work and a great eye for detail can tell the subtle differences between natural and Kodiak Mountain Stone; which creates more of an appeal with prices being significantly less. Our stone also allows us to use technology; incorporating things like longer durability, stain resistance than some natural stone. The actual molding process is inspired by nature; which makes Kodiak Mountain Stone look so real.

          

Stone: Ready Stack  Color: Alpine    

Kodiak Mountain Stone produces a high quality Manufactured Stone and has a working relationship with many quarries throughout North America and we can make your next fireplace or exterior project look amazing with a broad range of stone colors and styles to fit your taste or your budget.  Feel free to contact us online at  www.kodiakmountain.com

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Question: I am planning on putting Kodiak Mountain Stone manufactured stone on the exterior of my house and on my fireplace.  How is it installed?  Can I do it myself?

Kodiak Mountain Stone manufactured stone can be installed by a professional mason or the do-it-yourself (DIY) home owner.  Properly installing our manufactured stone products is the most important part of ensuring a long-lasting, beautiful project.  There are definite advantages of using a professional mason and we would be happy to try to help you find one if you wish.  But if you want to instal your stone on your own, we are here to help.

Visit our website at www.KodiakMountain.com if you would like to download our Installation Guide in .pdf format.

Estimating Material Needed:

Whether you are putting stone on your fireplace, a feature wall or on the exterior of your home, the first step is to estimate the amount of stone that you will need for the job.

  1. Measure the square footage of the area to be covered with your Kodiak Mountain Stone veneer.  For example, the surface you are covering may be 12 feet long at the base and 12 feet high.  You would calculate this as 12 x 12 = 144 square feet (SF).  The stone used on these surfaces are referred to as “flats.”  The flats are on the flat surface of the project while the other option is “corners” which obviously are used on the corners of the project (they come in 90 degree pieces)
  2. Next you would determine the area of any large openings such as windows and doors where the stone is not going to be applied.  When you calculate this square footage, subtract it from the square footage you calculated in step 1.
  3. The next step is to determine the amount of corner pieces that you will need.  Our stone comes with 90 degree corners in all of our styles (Some of our natural stone products do not have 90 degree corners).  While our flats are measured in square footage, corners are measured in linear feet.  So to determine the amount you need for corners, measure the linear footage of the corners you will be putting stone around.  For example, if you are going around two different corners and they are each four feet tall, you would need eight linear feet of corners (2 corners x 4′ = 8 linear feet)
  4. Because the corner pieces do cover some of the area that we have previously measured for the square footage of flats, for each linear foot of corners subtract 1/2 foot off of the total square footage of flats you previously calculated.  In our example, if you need 8 linear feet of corner pieces, subtract 4 square feet of the needed flats calculated in steps 1 & 2.
  5. When installing your manufactured stone there will be times that you need to cut and fit the stone.  At times there may even be some broken stones that come in the boxes.  During shipping some breakage may occur.  These stones can be used when cutting and fitting is needed.  For this reason plus the possibility of errors in measuring, we suggest when you order your stone you order about 10% more than you anticipate needing.

Tools Needed:

Many of the tools you will need to instal your stone are available from us at our stores in Calgary and Lethbridge AB.  If you do not live near either of these locations they should be available at your local hardware stores.  The tools you will need may include:

  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Grinder &/or saw, complete with masonry cutting blade
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust Mask
  • Grout Bag
  • Soft Bristled Brush
  • 1 3/4 Roofing Nails
  • Tin Snips
  • Wheel Barrow
  • Hoe
  • Masonry Trowel
  • Hawk
  • Spacers or shims
  • Hammer Tacker complete with staples
  • Stiff Bristle Brush

Preparing the Surface

We have a very informative surface preparation video online at the following link: Preparing Surface for Stone

  1. Moisture Barrier
  • The moisture barrier is an extremely important part of the installation.  Without a proper moisture barrier you can run into significant problems down the road.  This is one area of concern with not having a professional installing your Kodiak Mountain Stone products.  If you ensure you follow the provided guidelines, you won’t have a problem. Please watch the video above to learn more about surface preparation.
  • If you are installing your stone over wallboard, paneling, plywood, or other rigid wood related sheathing, it is necessary to cover the wall surface with a moisture barrier.  In most cases, building codes are satisfied by using two (2) layers of tar paper or two-ply 60 minute grade D paper.  Make sure to check your local building code requirements. Be sure that the sheets overlap from the bottom up.  Overlap two inches on the horizontal seems and six inches on the vertical seams.  Flashing, weep screed, and appropriate drainage means are required at stoppage points of stone veneer and at any places of potential penetration.
  • When stone is to be installed over clean brick, block, cement board or other masonry surfaces, no moisture barrier is necessary.
  • Check your local building codes for required flashing specifics and to ensure these instructions meet specific moisture barrier requirements.
  1. Wire Lath
  • Directly over the moisture barrier, cover the area with a wire lath.  We recommend using at least a 2.5 lbs (1.71 kg) diamond mesh expanded wire lath meeting the requirements of ASTM C 847.  Overlap lath sides and ends no less than one inch.  Be sure that lath is attached with the small cups pointing upward.  Attach the lath using galvanized nails or staples every 6 inches on center vertically, and 16 on center horizontally, ensuring to penetrate studs.  Use staples or fasten any loose areas between the studs.  Use tin snips to cut the lath.
  • With corners, ensure that the lath is tightly folded.  Never have a seam on the corner.  Nail the lath on both faces of the corner

Mixing  Mortars

For detailed instructions on mixing your mortar from scratch, please visit our installation guide online at http://www.kodiakmountain.com/technical/installation.htm.  If mixing your own mortar, ensure that all ingredients comply with, and are mixed to meet ASTM standards and/or local building codes.

You will have three different applications of mortar: The Scratch Coat, Mortar, and Grout

At our stores in Lethbridge and Calgary we sell a pre-mix mortar that just requires adding water and mixing thoroughly.  Mortars and mixtures can vary, so please follow the directions on the bags of mortar that you purchase.  The bags of mortar will also indicate the coverage amount of each bag.

Scratch Coat

  • Cover the entire wire lath with an even layer of mortar with a cement trowel.
  • While the cement is still wet, gently scrape it with a fine bristled brush or hair pick.  The resulting grooves rough up the scratch coat, which creates a better bond when the stone is applied.  Brush gentle enough that no mortar is removed from the wall.
  • Let the scratch coat dry sufficiently.  Depending on temperature, humidity, airflow, mix, etc this can take 8 to 24 hours.

Applying the Stone

  • Before applying stone, ensure that proper measures are taken to divert water runoff away from the stone.  Excess run-off and splashing can, over time, stain the stone.  
  • Mix a batch of mortar according to the instructions in our guide or on the bag of mortar mix
  • Using a trowel, apply a 1/2″ layer of mortar on the back of the individual stones.  Press the stone firmly into the scratch coat to ensure a good bond.  Press hard enough to squeeze out a little mortar around the edges of the stone.  Make sure you have complete coverage between the mortar bed and the surface of the stone.
  • The corner pieces should be installed first alternating the long and short ends of the corner pieces in opposite directions.
  • Next apply the flat pieces by starting at the outer edges and working towards the center of the wall.
  • Cutting & Trimming: You may use nippers, the edge of your trowel, or a circular saw with a masonry blade to cut and shape the stone.  If necessary, broken stones can be trimmed and shaped to fill in any gaps.  Avoid having any cut edges of the stone visible.
  • Grouting Joints: When a mortar joint is to be used, fill in the joints with a mortar bag, taking care to avoid getting mortar on the stones’ surface.  Joints should be 1/2″ to get the most natural look.  Any accidental smears can be removed with a whisk broom after the mortar is crumbly.  Never use a wet brush, wire brush, acid or acid-based product to clean the stone.
  • Finishing Joints: Proper jointing gives your project an appealing and professional finish.  Allow mortar joints to become firm (approx. 30-60 min), then point them up with a jointing tool.
  • Brush Joints: Remove excess mortar then firmly compress and seal the edges around the stones.  Brush stones and joints with a dry whisk broom to finish and clean your project.
  • Dry Stack (Mortarless) Application: In dry stack application where no mortar joints are used, a bonding agent may be added to the mortar mix for better bonding.  It is also recommended to use a breathable (non-film-forming) sealer.  (no gloss, low gloss and high gloss sealers are available).  Install dry stack stone from the bottom up and keep joints as level as possible.

Cleaning and Sealing

Clean Kodiak Mountain Stone products with a soft bristle brush and water.  If stained with mineral deposits or efflorescence, stone may be cleaned with a diluted household vinegar solution (7 parts water, 1 part vinegar).  Rinse thoroughly with clean water after cleaning.  Do not use wire brushes or acid to clean Kodiak Mountain Stone manufactured stone.  Contact our office at 1-877-563-4252 or visit one of our stores or one of our dealers to explore our various sealing options.

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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.

Improve the Look and Value of your home

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.

Prep Surface

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.

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