How to Install Stone Veneer over Concrete Porch Steps

You can install stone veneer over the concrete porch steps to give a porch an aesthetic look. Stone veneer is one of the most commonly used materials in building. It is often used as a cladding or decorative material. Brickwalls and concrete steps can have stone veneers as a facing. There are many types of stones that can be used as veneer, and among these are slates, granite or marble. They come is different sizes, color combinations and shapes. They will compliment almost any type of design. With regards to concrete steps, stone veneer is placed on the risers on the steps. The risers are the vertical edges of the steps. Installing stone veneer on concrete is easy because cement mortar is used to join the stones.

Materials and Tools

  • Stone veneer
  • Brick trowel
  • Concrete float towel
  • Square-tip or round trowel
  • Wheel barrow
  • Mortar mix
  • Metal cutting shears
  • Galvanized iron washers
  • Galvanized concrete nails (1 inch)
  • Semi-automatic powder fastener (0.27 caliber with powder cartridges)
  • Galvanized metal lath
  • Large sponge – optional
  • Masonry brush 6 inch – optional
  • Wire brush – optional
  • Grout bag – optional
  • Grout mix – optional
  • Ear plugs - optional

Step 1 - Prepare Powder Cartridges

Buy a semi-automatic powder fastener and cartridges from a shop. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual. Load the cartridges into the powder fastener. There are many types of powder fasteners and cartridges, so one manual may not apply to all.

Step 2 – Attach Metal Lath to Step Risers.

Using the powder fastener, attach the metal lath to the porch step risers. The nails as well as washers should be spaced at 16 inches center-to-center. To fit the metal lath on the step risers, you should cut it if necessary with metal shears. Wear ear plugs to protect your ears.

Step 3 – Prepare Cement Mortar

Prepare cement mortar by mixing cement, sand and water to the required ratios. You can mix the mortar inside a wheel barrow with a shovel.

Step 4 – Prepare the “Scratch Coat”

Using a steel trowel, apply a layer of mortar 1/8 inches thick on the metal lath. Make sure that the thickness of the mortar layer matches the metal lath. Allow the cement mortar to cure for a few days. The required time for curing is specified on the cement packaging. The mortar and metal lath layer is known as a ‘scratch coat’. This coat allows the stone veneer to bond stably on the surface.

Step 5 – Fit the Stone Veneer

Take the stone veneer and using a steel trowel, spread the mortar at the back of the stone veneer. Gently and firmly press the stone veneer to the “scratch coat” on the porch step risers. Press the veneer stone and close the space between the scratch coat and back of stone to about ½ inches.

Repeat this step for other stones, starting from one end of the step width to the other. Grout the joints between adjacent stones, leaving about ¼ to ½ inches of space between the stones. Allow the mortar to cure according to the specifications. Note that grouting the joints is an optional procedure. Some stones do not require grouting.