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How do I do my stone veneer correctly?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by cabinner, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    Hey all,

    My hearth walls will be quite small - in a corner of 3' x 5'.. yes - basically two sheets of hardie board (1/2") in a corner.

    I want to use natural blue stone form my land... I will ask the wife to pick some nice pieces from our land (we have a lot of quite thin pieces laying around in the forest).

    Questions -

    1. do I need a scratch coat?

    2. mortar or thinset? and can you recommend a brand/type?

    3. trowel type?

    4. do I wet the surface a bit before stick the stone on?

    5. some online videos show masons just taking a stone, putting some mortar/thinset on it directly, and sticking it on the wall while others show how they first lay a coat with a trowel on the wall and then attach the stone to it.... which one should I go with?

    Thank you so much!

    I promise photos!

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  2. Oregon aloha

    Oregon aloha Member

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    I'd butter both sides so you get good adhesion as the Blue stone is uneven.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  4. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    Watched both.... One is over plywood and the other is over concrete blocks.

    I am still unsure as how I should do this... Do I need this wire mesh and scratch coat?

    Thinset or mortar...?

    Trowel thickness?
  5. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    You will want to hang mesh on the wall, then put a scratch coat over it. And make sure not to make it smooth like so many people seem to do, it's a scratch coat it should be rough so the stone can grab it.

    I watched a lot of videos before I did mine. One company didn't use a scratch coat, instead they allowed the mortar to be squeezed in between the stone and into the mesh. This process seamed to have a great bond. I did mine that way and have had no problems.
    If you stone is thick enough it could just be set like traditional masonry. Is it all gonna be thin?

    Attached Files:

  6. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    My stone will range from 1/4" to 3/4" thick.... It will be random stone from my land.

    can you explain more about this 'no scratch coat' method? I would like to do it...

    Also, I am surprised to read that everyone here are saying to avoid hardi board and to go with the old (not next gen) boards.... As far as I know - only hardie board is non combustible...
  7. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    With stone that thin it should be set more like a tile would be set. Use polymer fortified thinset over backer board and you should be fine!
  8. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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  9. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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    Exactly as was said before.
    Mesh and rough scratch. Back butter the stone.
    Did my cultured stone like this and this is how we trained contractors that bought stone from us.
  10. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I did a "wet" coat, no scratch, no dry, and also buttered the back of the stone and set in place, a little wiggling back and forth to work it in, and done. The only scratch I left was about 6 or 8" around the perimeter of the stones that were installed and scratched. Then when restarting next day, wet the scratch and wet coat , butter and set more. I used the mesh to scratch with, and used several different mason trowels and a pointing trowel to get in the crevices and scoop the slop out. I used dry stack ledgestone so no real mortar joints.
    I used masons mix type S mortar. All bonded excellent and worked well.
    Depends what your going over whether you need mesh or not.
    Anything but bare stone, brick or concrete needs to have mesh installed first.

    Trowels I used were:
    1/2" tuck pointer trowel to clean the slop out & off and work in narrow places.
    2" Margin trowel for various small/tight spots
    10" Brick trowel top slap mortar onto the finish trowel
    14" Finish trowel I used to mud the wet coat on the mesh
    7" Gauging trowel to butter the backs of the stones.
    I also used a 5 gallon bucket to put the trowels in when not being used to keep them wet and clean so no mud set up on them.
    You'll also need a mud mixing box and a hoe if you use mortar.
    Maybe a bit overkill, but I have everything I could possibly need in any situation I needed it.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
  11. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    I labored over thinset/backer board versus mesh/scratch/mortar and eventually went with the mesh. It's been up for months and no issues.
  12. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    Thanks everyone! I just got back. Took me some time to get the hang of it but like I read - the consistency of the thin-set is the key. I let it sit and remixed it to make it really "peanut butter like"... This was the first time for me doing anything like this... never tiled or used a notch trowel before. I didn't use a scratch coat or mesh.

    I built an air wall to make it safer... My wife helped me find rocks from our land. Thoughts?

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  13. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    I used this silicon for the seams there - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000V4LTXC/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Also, I made the air intake there for my englander 17-VL... as you can see. I will connect it to the stove using this aluminum flex pipe: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BQWUJC/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    should be ok right?

    BTW - HOGWILDZ: I just placed an order for all my chimney parts. I will install it next weekend! Will post photos for your critique!
  14. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Did you use polymer fortified thin-set?
    How do you plan on mortaring all those joints?
  15. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    I did. Like you recommended.

    I'll use a grout bag for the joints.. won't be fun but will work.
  16. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Good, without the polymer the thin-set really struggles to bond to natural stone. Do yourself a big favor and try to find a grout bag that is high quality! Maybe from a masonry supply store or on-line somewhere. I used cheap ones from Menards and Lowes, the Kobalt one from Lowes was better for sure, but they were both junk. I had 2 from menards blow out in the first few minutes!
  17. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    damn.... I bought one from HD from $4.... I guess it is crap. I'll check Amazon. Also - any notes on the pipe I want to use? (link is in my earlier post)
  18. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    I will grab two more form HD just in case it fails on me.

    The first row I did I had to support with wood as it was all sliding off... Then I got better at making the mixture and notching. The second wall didn't take long at all
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That natural stone looks great.
  20. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    Thanks begreen!
  21. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Oh ya, I meant to say that too!
    Nice job, and it's so cool that it all came from your own property!
  22. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Looks great! Lots of small stones makes for tedious work.
    Do you have the 1" gap for air circulation on top & bottom of the face wall?
    How long did it take to set the stone?
    I don't envy you on grouting all that.
    That is why I went with dry stack ledgestone. No mortar joints to do.
    What size id that OAK pipe?
    What stack are you going with?
  23. CenterTree

    CenterTree Feeling the Heat

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    Wow, that's a lot of work. Looks good!. What do you have planned for the floor of the hearth? (the pad)
  24. cabinner

    cabinner Member

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    Thanks for the compliments.. We invested time and energy because we will be looking at this a lot.. It's across from where our sofa will be..

    Hogwildz - I do have it. It does have 1" thickness. I used metal furring channels to space it. Setting the stone, from the time I started until when I was finished - probably 4 hours but that includes mixing 4 batches of thinset and searching for rocks. My pipe is 5".. What does stack mean?

    Centertree- 2" blue stone. Single piece (3' x 3')
  25. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    You did well at 4 hours. Took me about 12 per every 5 to 8sf of cultured stone to install.
    By stack I mean your chimney system your ordering.
    Why so large on the OAK piping?

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