Installing stone on the exterior of your home is a good way to improve and update your home's appearance. Using a lightweight or faux stone can give your home the look of real stone, but faux stone is easier to install. Here are some tips to help you prepare and install a stone decorative exterior on your home.
Determine Your Stone's Pattern
When you have selected the type of faux stone or rock that you will install on your home's exterior, you should decide the stone pattern and layout before you begin to install it. This consists of fitting together your rock so all the pieces align properly and create an attractive look. If you don't plan out the stone's alignment, you may be left with poorly fitting stones and large gaps between sections of stones.
Measure the area you will be covering in stone and make an equally-sized spot on your pavement or another surface. Now lay out all the stones, fitting them together like a puzzle. This will give you time to switch or move around certain stones until you come up with a perfect layout for your home's exterior.
Prepare the Installation Site
Before you can begin installation of your pre-arranged stone design, you will need to apply the proper layers onto your home to ensure the stones adhere successfully. First, you will need a layer of plywood, foam, or composite board on your home. If you are using an existing wall sheathing on your home's exterior, make sure it is flat and free of any rot or damage. Replace the sheathing with a new section if there is any damage.
Next, install a masonry water barrier paper over the sheathing. Make sure you overlap the edges of the water barrier as you install it so all areas are covered. Over the top of the water barrier, attach a metal lath that is galvanized to help prevent rusting and deterioration. This layer will help the stones adhere to an otherwise smooth surface on your home's exterior.
Press a layer of mortar into the lath to create the scratch coat. Use a trowel to press and smooth the mortar into and on the lath's surface, then create horizontal ridges across the mortar with the tooth-comb formed edges of your trowel or with a mortar scarifier tool.
Now you can begin applying the stone onto your surface with mortar. Work from the bottom to the top and use your trowel to smooth mortar to the back of each stone before you press it into the scratch coat. As you press the stone onto the scratch coat, wiggle the stone slightly into the mortar to make sure all the air bubbles are pressed out and that the stone adheres fully to the wall.
Use these tips during your installation process of stone on your home's exterior. For more information, talk to companies like Harristone Pre-Cast - Merrillstone Natural Stone Products - G. S. Harris Co., Inc.