One of the most timeless designs for the exterior of a house is stone. Its charm makes it an option that many homeowners looking to add curb appeal to their homes will consider. Unfortunately, the expense will make many of them change their minds. For others, the difficulties associated with installing the stones will be a deterrent to them following through with the project. But the cheaper and easier option of stone siding can help to make this look possible. Many people wonder how to install stone siding. It is a project that can be completed by the average homeowner in a few simple steps. The lightweight stones install easily and can last for years.
Preparing the Your Walls
The first step to installing stone siding is to install a moisture barrier. This will safeguard against water permeating the interior wood and causing mold. There are many brand names and different types to use depending on the type of weather where you live. Your local home improvement store can help you determine which one you will need. You will then want to install waterproofing around your windows and doors. This could be caulking or metal flashing. Next, install either a metal or wooden lath. This does not have to be thick. Thin plywood or sheet metal will work well. Make sure that it is secured over the entirety of the area you plan to install your siding. Once it is installed, you will want to prepare your mortar and siding.
Deciding on Your Layout and Mixing Your Mortar
You will need to decide how you want to layout the stones. This is important, as you will need to make sure that the stones that cap the ends are not too long. You can chose to purchase cap stones to end the design or you can cut the stones. If you choose to cut your stones, make sure to use a wet or mason’s saw. Once you have decided how you want your stone laid out, you can move on to mixing the mortar. You will want to put a thin layer of the mortar, called a scratch layer, over the lath you have set up. This will give the mortar you apply to the back of your stones a better surface to grip on to. According to DIY Network, you only need to make this layer approximately 1/16” to 1/8” thick. A thicker layer does not mean that the stones will stick better. In fact, if you use too thick of a layer, it can have the opposite effect. Once that layer is applied, you will want to work quickly to apply the stones.
Applying the Stones to the Wall
When you are ready to start applying the stone, you will want to work quickly. It is best to start with the row that is closest to the ground. You will also want to work in small sections to make sure your mortar does not dry out. You will want to put a layer of mortar on the back of each stone. The layer does not need to be any thicker than 1/2” to 3/4” thick. Place the stone against the wall and hold it tight for a few seconds. Five seconds should be long enough to ensure that it is well bonded to the wall. If the stone still seems loose once you move your hand, hold it for a few more seconds. Wiggle it slightly to make sure it has bonded. As you work, make sure to leave a gap in your stones so that you can add mortar as grout later. Home Guides suggests 3/8” to 1/2” between the stones.
Finishing up the Project
After you have finished installing the stones, it is important to give them at least 24 hours to set before adding your grout. You can choose to use the same color mortar you used to adhere the stones to the wall or you can choose to use a different color. Either way, you will want to mix a fresh batch. Use a grout piping bag to apply the grout into the gaps you left when you laid the stones. Once it dries, you will have a beautiful exterior to enjoy for years to come.
Related Resource: Installing a Skylight
Since learning how to install stone siding is fairly simple, the project is something you can proudly say you accomplished yourself. While a project like this can be time consuming, following through with it will give your home more curb appeal. It can also help the value of your home go up. With the lightness of the stone and it being an inexpensive option it is worth the time it takes to install it. Making this your next do it yourself project will be well worth the energy.