How to Install Stone Veneer Siding
Stone veneer siding gives you the same look as natural stone, but it costs less and is easier for a homeowner to install on their own. This article assumes that you have already prepared your walls with a metal lath. Here is what you will need to continue the project.
Step 1–Apply Mortar
First you need to apply a special coat of mortar over the metal lath called the scratch coat. As thinly as possible spread an even coat of mortar and completely cover the metal lath. Then take a rake and gently drag it across the still wet mortar to create “scratches” so the stone veneer siding will stick to the wall when you install it. Wait about 48 hours for the scratch coat to dry before you continue.
Step 2–Installing the Stone
Lay out all the stone on the ground near where you are working. Butter the back of your first stone with a mortar/thinset mix (the thinset will help it stick better) using a trowel. You want the entire back of the stone to be covered with about ½ inch of the mortar. Starting with one of the corners, press the stone firmly to the wall and wiggle it around a little to set the bond. Press hard enough so the mortar squeezes out around the stone's edge. Place the large stones first, then fill in the rest of the wall.
As you install the stone veneer siding, take your time to choose stones that vary in size, shape and color. If you have a gap and none of your stones will fit, then take a stone and mark in pencil the outline of the gap that needs to be filled. Use a cut-off grinder or other masonry tools to shape the stone.
About an hour after you finish placing the stones–when the mortar is no longer wet–take a rounded stick and press the mortar deeper into the joints while raking out any excess mortar at the same time. Then take a stiff brush and clean away any excess mortar on the front of the stone veneer siding. At the same time clean up the joints.
Next, take a grout bag with a 5/8 inch wide opening and fill it half full. Then roll the bag as tightly as you can with one hand and use your other hand to squeeze the bag. This will force the mortar deeply into the joints. Give the joints about 60 minutes to set and then use a mortar strike to scrape out excess mortar and compress the mortar along the joint seams for a better seal.
If you got any mortar on the face of the stone veneer siding, do not use an acid wash to clean it up. Wait 30 to 45 minutes for the mortar to dry and then brush it away with a stiff brush or a whisk broom. After giving the mortar at least 48 hours to dry, it is recommended that you seal the stone veneer siding if you live in an area with extreme temperatures or a lot of snow (follow the manufacturer's directions).