Step-by-Step Guide: Installing and Maintaining a Real Stone House Exterior

Step-by-Step Guide: Installing and Maintaining a Real Stone House Exterior

Imagine the curb appeal of your home skyrocketing with the installation of real stone. It’s not just a dream, but a DIY project that can transform the look of your house. This article will guide you through the process, making it as easy as possible.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a novice, you’ll find this guide helpful. We’ve broken down the process into simple, manageable steps. From selecting the right stone to the final touches, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Real stone installation significantly enhances the curb appeal and durability of a home. This project, while achievable for DIY enthusiasts, requires careful planning, the right tools, and understanding the fundamental steps involved in the process.
  • The basics of real stone installation include choosing quality stones, setting up equipment such as stone cutters and trowels, and using materials like stone veneers and mortar mix. The sequential steps involve taking measurements, installing a metal lath, applying a scratch coat, setting the stones, and applying mortar joints.
  • The base foundation for real stone installation is crucial. Critical preparation steps include inspecting and addressing any wall surface irregularities, applying a weather-resistant barrier, installing a metal lath, applying a scratch coat, and mapping out your stone layout.
  • The actual installation involves a dry-stone fitting process, applying mortar to the back of the stone, pressing it against the wall and repeating the process. Smaller stones or fieldstones are inserted between larger stones to create a natural look, followed by the grout application and final cleanup.
  • Tips for a successful installation include selecting premium, natural stones, mastering the mortar mix, planning the stone placement to avoid clustering, experimenting with patterns, carefully checking stone positioning before finalizing, maintaining consistent grout lines, and properly cleaning the facade post-installation.
  • Maintenance for a real stone exterior involves regular cleaning to keep the stones gleaming, applying a protective sealer if necessary to preserve the stone’s natural beauty, quickly repairing any damage to prevent further deterioration, and conducting a regular inspection to ensure the structural condition of the stone exterior.

Installing a real stone exterior enhances the durability and aesthetic appeal of your home. For a detailed step-by-step guide on the installation process, NH Thinstone provides valuable insights into preparing the surface, installing weather-resistant barriers, and applying the stone veneer. Maintenance tips to ensure longevity and visual appeal of stone exteriors are comprehensively covered by This Old House, including routine cleaning and inspection recommendations.

Understanding the Basics of Installing Real Stone

Engaging in a real stone installation project implies knowledge of certain basics. These basics include understanding the unique properties of real stone, the necessary tools and materials, and the key steps of installation.

Real stone possesses distinct characteristics, making it different from other types of faux stone or brick. It’s a naturally occurring material that offers durability and an unmatched aesthetic appeal. It not only stands up against extreme weather but also adds a sense of authenticity and timelessness to your home’s exterior.

Starting a real stone installation project requires having the right tools and materials at your disposal. The essential equipment mainly comprises diamond blade stone cutters, a trowel, a leveling tool, a wire brush, and safety gear. Materials, on the other hand, include real stone veneers, mortar mix, metal lath, and a weather-resistant barrier.

Once you’ve got the right tools and materials, you can commence the real stone installation. The process involves a series of steps comprising initial measurements, lath installation, applying a scratch coat, setting the stones, and finally, applying the mortar joints.

To start with, you’ll take measurements of your wall to estimate the amount of materials needed. You’ll then move onto lath installation, affixing a metal lath to the desired area using galvanized screws or nails. A weather resistant barrier is installed before the lath for added protection.

Next up, you’ll use the trowel to apply a scratch coat of mortar mix to the lath. Once the scratch coat has dried, it’s time to set the stones. Starting from the bottom and moving upwards, you apply a layer of mortar to the back of a stone and press it firmly onto the wall.

The final step is applying mortar joints by filling in the spaces between the stones. You can create these with a grouting bag and touch up with a trowel. The final look regales a rustic charm and almost immediate increase in your home’s curb appeal.

Remember, taking time to understand the underlying principles of real stone installation ensures a smoother implementation of the project, translating to an aesthetically appealing result that maximizes your home’s curb appeal. The process may seem daunting initially, but with some preparation and understanding, it’s an achievable mission –geared towards enhancing the countenance of your property.

Preparing Your House for Stone Installation

Preparing Your House for Stone Installation

Preparation holds the key to the foundation of your real stone installation. Knowing the terrain before starting can save you from future headaches. Here’s what’s essential in preparing your property for stone installation.

  1. Start by Inspecting Your Wall Surface: Look out for irregularities on the surface – damaged wood, peeling paint, efflorescence, or mildew growth. Address these issues right away. For example, replace any rotten wood with new material, scrub down the growth with bleach and water solution, and scrape away peeling paint.
  2. Another important task is to Apply Weather Resistant Barrier (WRB): The exterior grade WRB acts as an additional protection layer for your walls, shielding them from moisture. Typically, the WRB can be a tar paper or a house wrap, overlaid in horizontal courses, beginning at the base of the wall.
  3. Following the WRB, you’d Install Metal Lath: Metal lath, about 2.5 pounds per square yard, works excellently as a base layer for stone installation. Affix it over your WRB, ensuring the cups of the lath face upwards.
  4. After securing the lath, Apply a Scratch Coat: This thin layer of mortar (one part cement, four parts sand), when spread over the lath, creates a strong, rough surface for your stones to adhere to. Once applied, simply let it cure for 48 hours.
  5. Lastly, Mark Your Stone Layout: Have a precise plan for your stone layout. For instance, for symmetrical installation, start marking from the center of the wall outward. Put chalk lines where stones will be glued.

By following these steps, you ensure a firm foundation, enhancing the longevity and durability of your stone installation. Avoid rushing this process, as this foundation is critical for a successful job. Remember, a rock-solid preparation translates to a rock-solid installation.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Real Stone

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Real Stone

Embark on the real stone installation experience by following this comprehensive guide. Remember, precision is key, ensuring an excellent and solid outcome.

  1. Begin with Dry-Stone Fitting Process: Start this step by arranging stones on the ground before gluing them to the wall. This dry-fitting process offers a better perspective for stone arrangement, avoiding an uneven finish.
  2. Apply Mortar Mix on Back of Stone: Spread a thick layer of mortar mix, about half to one inch, on the back of the stone using a trowel. Make sure each stone’s back surface is entirely covered, providing secure adhesion.
  3. Press the Stone against the Wall: Take the mortar-coated stone and press it firmly against the wall. Move your hand in a twisting motion to secure it further, leaving no chance of a drop-off.
  4. Repeat the Process: Continue the process while maintaining a 1/2-inch gap between the stones for grout, until the entire wall is covered in stone.
  5. Insert Smaller Stones: Tuck in smaller stones, known as fieldstones, between the larger stones to give the pattern a more natural and appealing look.
  6. Apply Grout: After the stones have been set, fill the gaps between stones with grout. Use a grout bag to inject the mixture into the cavities, then use a pointing tool to press, seal, and smoothen it.
  7. Clean Surfaces: One day after the grout application, use a clean, dry, soft brush to wipe away any excess mortar or grout from the stone surfaces, ensuring a clean and refined finish.

Remember, careful pacing plays a critical role in quality outcomes. As the process might be time-consuming, patience is necessary. Following these steps diligently, rest assured your house will boast a robust and enduring real stone facade.

Tips for Installing Real Stone Like a Pro

Executing a real stone DIY project isn’t just about following steps. It’s about proficiency, refining techniques, and mitigating errors. So, here are some technical yet simplified tips to bolster your installation process:

  1. Pick quality stones: Opt for premium, natural stones for longevity. For example, granite, limestone, and quartzite are sturdy choices due to their resistance to weather and pressure.
  2. Master the Mortar Mix: A rightly mixed mortar holds the key to a solid stone installation. Ideally, the mix comprises one part cement to three parts sand. An excess of sand makes the mix weak, whereas an excess of cement can cause cracking.
  3. Distribute stones evenly: Plan your stone placement to avoid clustering similar colored or sized stones together. A random layout empowers the wall with a more natural look.
  4. Experiment with patterns: Instead of following a rigid pattern, bring in variations in stone sizes and shapes. Nature doesn’t follow a perfect line, and your stones shouldn’t either.
  5. Recheck stone positioning before finalizing: Dry-fit first, then alter your stones until you achieve an appealing layout. Only then, apply the mortar for final fitting.
  6. Consistent Grout lines: Try to keep grout lines in a consistently irregular pattern if that’s the approach you’re taking, or keep them uniform if you favor a more polished look.
  7. Properly Clean: Post-installation, clean the facade using a soft sponge and mild solution. Avoid harsh chemicals, as they may discolor or damage the stones.

Incorporating these tips can ensure a result that is not just aesthetically pleasing but enduring over the years. This knowledge doesn’t replace your creativity and willingness to innovate, but it supplements them with a professional touch.

Maintaining Your Stone Exterior

Delight in your freshly installed stone exterior—it’s got an appeal that’s both timeless and sturdy. Yet, keeping that charm intact requires a bit of upkeep. With proper maintenance, your real stone exterior manifests enduring allure and offers robust protection to your home.

Regular Cleaning Keeps Stones Gleaming

At least once a year, give your stone exterior a thoughtful cleaning. Remove dust, dirt, and grime using a mild detergent and a soft bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly using low-pressure water, ensuring you avoid strong streams that could potentially damage the mortar.

Sealing Preserves Stone’s Natural Beauty

Depending on the type of stone, a protective sealer offers an extra layer of defense. Ask your stone supplier about the need for sealing your specific stone type. In cases that warrant it, sealants safeguard the stone’s natural color and reduce moisture penetration, thus increasing stone longevity.

Fast Repairing Prevents Further Damage

Over time, erosion or external factors may cause slight damage to the stones or the mortar. Immediately address these issues by repairing or replacing the damaged parts. Acting fast circumvents further deterioration that might affect the overall look and stability of your stone facade.

Regular Inspection Ascertain Stone’s Structural Condition

Remember to conduct a regular inspection of your entire stone exterior. Pay attention to areas like doors and windows where water seepage might occur. If you notice any cracks or shifts, seek professional help promptly.

Maintenance is equally crucial as installation to retain the stunning look of your stone exterior. Regular cleaning, timely repair, suitable sealing, and comprehensive inspection form the pillars of effective stone exterior maintenance. Incorporate these practices into your home care routine, and your stone facade remains a testament to both aesthetics and stoutness.


You’ve now got the knowledge to install real stone on your house. Remember, it’s not just about the installation process but also about maintaining the stone’s longevity. With the right approach to dry-stone fitting, mortar application, and surface cleaning, you’ll create an exterior that’s both beautiful and durable. But don’t forget the importance of maintenance. Regular cleaning, using mild detergent, and applying sealants can protect your stone facade. Stay on top of any damage and repair it promptly. Regular inspections will help you catch any issues early on. Armed with these insights, you’re ready to transform your home with real stone. It’s a project that requires precision and patience, but the results are worth it. Enjoy the process and the stunning outcome. You’ve got this!

What does the article discuss?

The article provides a guide on how to install real stone as a DIY project. It includes steps like dry-stone fitting, mortar application, and surface cleaning.

Why is precision and patience important in stone installation?

Precision and patience are crucial in stone installation as they ensure the correct fitting, mortar application, and surface cleaning, resulting in a durable and aesthetically pleasing stone facade.

What are the article’s tips on maintaining a stone exterior?

The article recommends regular cleaning with a mild detergent, using sealants for protection, promptly repairing any damage, and conducting regular inspections for structural integrity to maintain a stone exterior.

Why is regular maintenance important for a stone facade?

Regular maintenance such as cleaning, repairing, sealing and conducting inspections are vital for preserving the beauty and durability of a real stone facade.

What are some potential benefits of DIY stone installation?

DIY stone installation allows you to work at your own pace and customize the project based on your preferences. Additionally, it could be more cost-effective compared to professional installation.