Building Stone Fireplace Walls Building Stone Fireplace Walls

What You'll Need
Plumb bob
Grout bag
Shaping tool
Painters tape

Stone fireplace walls are ageless. Although building your own stone fireplace walls is labor intensive, the process is actually not so difficult. Choose your stone carefully. With so many different types and colors, it may seem confusing. Stone fireplace walls can create a dramatic, rustic look to your home. The important thing is to be sure the stone you use coordinates well with your home.

Step 1 - Choose Stone

Choose a stone that is flat on the back, or using a wet saw, cut the stone to have a flat back. This will reduce the weight of the stone fireplace walls and allow for ease of installation. Alternatively, choose to use natural stone veneers that are cut for wall placement. The stones are natural, just pre-cut.

Step 2 - Lay Out Wall and Set Lath

Determine the dimensions of the stone fireplace wall, mantel and hearth. Mark the area where the stones are to be applied. Mark the depth of the hearth on the floor. Nail the lath to the wall at the studs, attaching every 6 inches down wall. Set the lath so that the cups are facing up. Tip: when you run your hand up the wall, it should feel smooth.

Step 3 - Apply Scratch Coat

Mix the mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The mortar will be about the consistency of peanut butter. Apply the mortar to the wall, being sure to smooth all directions and making certain that the ‘cups’ in the lath are filled. Allow the mortar to set for 20 minutes. Use a small piece of lath or the notched edge of your trowel to scratch the surface of the mortar. This will allow for proper adhesion of the stone fireplace wall. Let the mortar cure for at least 24 hours.

Step 4 - Layout Stone Pattern

While the scratch coat is curing, take the time to lay out your stone pattern. Either lay a tarp on the ground or use a piece of plywood. Using painter’s tape, lay out the boundaries of the stone fireplace walls. Place your stones in a decorative manner on the pattern surface. This will allow you to see how the stones will look on the wall.

Step 5 - Place Stone on Wall

After the mortar has cured, mix together more mortar for setting the stones on the wall. Starting with the edges around the outside and surrounding the firebox, outline the area one stone at a time. Take a stone and trowel about 1/2 inch of mortar on the back of the stone. Run a groove down the center of the stone with the point of the trowel. Put the stone in place, and push until mortar squeezes out around the edges. With your finger, wipe any additional mortar from around the stone. Be careful to avoid getting mortar on the face of stones, as it will stain. After outlining is complete, working top to bottom, place remaining stones to fill in the area.

Step 6 - Grout Stones

After allowing the mortar to set for 24 hours, you are ready to grout. Mix the grout according to package instructions. Using a grout bag, fill in all the areas between the stones. When the grout has set for about 20 minutes, use the pointed end of a trowel to remove any excess. Use a shaping tool to round the grout to the desired shape. After all the grout has dried, use a whisk broom to brush dried excess off the wall. Seal all wall joints with silicone caulk. Now you can sit back and admire your new stone fireplace walls.

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