How To Fit, Cut And Install Stone Veneer Siding On Your Home

If you are interested in adding stone siding to your home's exterior, but the cost or amount of labor needed is prohibitive, then you should consider installing stone veneer. Stone veneer consists of thin slices of natural or an artificial stone-like material. These pieces are attached using adhesive, and the process can be easily done by an avid do-it-yourselfer. Below is how you can fit and install stone veneer James Hardie siding:

Tools and materials needed

  • Stone veneer pieces – buy pieces that either precut to size or wish to trim and fit yourself.
  • Adhesive cartridge – choose a strong, exterior-approved product designed for construction.
  • Cartridge/caulk gun – a standard gun for use with cartridge-applied adhesives.
  • Masonry saw – choose a tile-cutting saw or other "wet" power saw designed for cutting stone, rock, and concrete.
  • Masonry sealer – a glossy, general-purpose sealer designed for masonry and concrete will protect the veneer from water intrusion and provide an attractive sheen.
  • Paint brushes and rollers
  • Line level, string and stakes
  • Eye protection
  • Tack cloth
  • Clean newspaper sheets

The installation

1. Before you begin– the first step in installing your stone veneer is making sure your substrate, the wall behind the veneer, is suitable for installation. Stone veneer should be mounted to hard, durable surfaces such as concrete fiberboard, brick or other suitable materials. Wood isn't recommended due to its propensity to expand and shrink with exposure to moisture.

2. Make your initial measurements – once you have determined the substrate is sufficient, make a mark at one corner of the wall at least one-half inch up from the ground. Pound two stakes at each corner of the wall, and stretch a length of strength between them; attach the line level and adjust the string until it shows level. Align the string horizontally with the mark you made; this will form the bottom of the first row of your stone veneer pieces.

3. Fit and cut pieces to size – beginning in one corner at the bottom, fit pieces together to check their fit and alignment. If necessary, use the masonry saw to cut the pieces to size. When cutting, be careful to cut with the front side on top so that any chips will be confined to the back of the piece. Be sure to wear your eye protection to avoid injury from flying bits of material.

If you need to cut pieces, check them for cleanliness and dryness before attempting installation. Use the tack cloth to remove cutting dust or foreign particles, and lay out wet pieces on clean newspaper until fully dry.

4. Attach the pieces to the substrate – apply two parallel beads of adhesive across each piece of stone veneer, and firmly push them into place on the substrate. Continue to apply pressure to the piece and hold it in place for as long as the directions for the adhesive specify.

5. Continue fitting and cutting – as you proceed, continue fitting and cutting each piece as necessary. Monitor the alignment with your level line so that the pieces do not become uneven as the row builds. After finishing the first row, begin a new row immediately above and adjacent; adjust the line level upward with each row to maintain a perfectly horizontal installation.

6. Seal the stone veneer – after completing the stone veneer siding and allowing the adhesive to dry at least 24 hours, you will need to apply an exterior waterproof coating. Apply a coat of a high-quality masonry sealer to the stone veneer pieces following the manufacturer's directions. Use rollers to apply the bulk of the sealer and brushes for working sealer into cracks and crevices.

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