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How to Install Stone Facing

We'll show you how to install stone facing on your house. This do-it-yourself alternative to real brick and stone doesn't require a brick ledge. Unlike earlier versions of artificial stone that looked fake, newer faux stone looks almost identical to the real thing. This article explains how to install it.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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    The mortarless system shown here is easier to install than the systems that require grouting the mortar joints.

Installing a stone facing

Real bricks and stone are heavy and need solid support. When a house is  under construction and a natural stone or brick facing is planned, the builder usually builds the brick ledge into the foundation by extending the foundation past the house framing. Adding a brick ledge to an existing house is hard to do and very expensive.

The do-it-yourself alternative is to apply artificial stone products that don’t need brick ledges. Artificial stone used to look pretty bogus, but the new generation of thin, faux stone is nearly impossible to distinguish from real stone. New faux stone is composed of conventional cement with soft, lightweight, pumice-like fillers, making it easy to cut with a circular saw or a 4-1/2-in. angle grinder fitted with masonry blades.

Because faux stone is so light, it can be adhered to a specially prepared wall surface with conventional mortar. It’s easy to apply, and though you won’t save anything in material costs, you’ll save big in labor.

Some products, like imitation fieldstone, require grouting mortar joints between the stones or bricks. Others, like the one shown, are designed to be laid with tight-fitting, mortar-free joints to give the wall a “dry-stacked” look. Other materials can be done either way. Go to a local supplier (look under “Brick” and “Stone” in the Yellow Pages) and look at the display walls.

Depending on the stone or brick style, you may be able to get matching L-shaped corners, keystones for arches and sills to finish off the project with style. All the products you’ll need to prepare the surface and finish the project are available from your supplier.

In the photo, you’ll see the layers of “behind-the-scenes” materials that are necessary for a long-lasting, trouble-free wall.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Hammer
    • Tape measure
    • Cold chisel
    • Stapler
    • Utility knife
    • Trowel
    • Tin snips

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Wall sheathing
    • Water-resistant paper
    • Lath
    • Masonry mortar
    • Stone
    • Corner stone

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 5 of 5 comments
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January 15, 5:02 AM [GMT -5]

superb article


April 23, 2:53 PM [GMT -5]

I am very interested in this project, but a lot of the details were left out. There was only one step in the step-by-step instructions.

February 12, 9:12 PM [GMT -5]

I'd really like to get the step by step on this. I hope they fix this.

July 02, 12:46 AM [GMT -5]

Good call, KenH.

May 21, 12:44 AM [GMT -5]

Not much of a "step-by-step" project. In fact, what "project"? The only actual instruction was how to apply mortar with a trowel to a piece of faux rock, and this only through a photograph. This project was merely a commentary on possibilities, but no actual instruction was given. When a paragraph mentioned applying faux rock to a "specially prepared surface," it didn't even explain what that meant, what kind of surface it might be, or how it was prepared.

One photo and a few paragraphs of generalities does not a "step-by-step" instruction make.

By the way, why is it that there are plenty of hints to give a "thumbs-up" to projects, but no place to register a "thumbs-down"?

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How to Install Stone Facing

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