How to Install Rock Siding
Installing rock siding on your exterior wall will reinforce and add value to your home. Rock siding comes in natural and artificial or simulated rocks. Installing rock siding to add curb appeal on your front porch or portico can be done in one weekend.
Measure the size of your siding. Measure the height and the width. Draw in a piece of paper where you will place your sidings, then mark off the height and width to get the square footage. Calculate the total which you will use as your guide in purchasing rock siding.
Purchase rocks whether simulated rock siding or natural rock siding. Today, it is more popular to buy the simulated or artificial rock siding because it is easier to handle and install than the real rocks. Real rocks are heavy and bulgy, while artificial rock siding pieces are already prepared in sheets and have flat backing for easy installation. The natural rocks need to be cut in half to flatten the back, a process that can be tedious and time consuming. Buy extra pieces for replacing broken ones in future or to serve as allowance in case of inaccurate measurements.
Prepare the mortar. You can buy pre-mixed mortars from the home improvement store or from the manufacturers that you purchased your rock siding from. They have pre-mixed mortars that you can use for the type of stones you buy. For real rocks, a mixture of cement and sand to create a concrete consistency can be used.
Apply the mortar on the areas where you will place your rock siding. Use a trowel to apply mortar. You can apply the mortar directly to your exterior wall or post directly. You may need to reinforce the wall with chicken wires and then apply mortar in order for it to be more stable. Manufacturers may have some installation requirements, so be sure to read them carefully and follow.
Place the rocks either one by one for natural ones or by sheet for the simulated ones starting from the bottom. This way you will be able to use the first row as a foundation for the rocks to follow. Make sure to press them onto the mortar until they stick.
Trim or cut the size of the rocks or sheets using a chisel, pick or small axe to fit the location. This is is an important part especially if you reached a corner or top portion where you need to adjust the size or shape of the rocks or sheets.
Allow to dry for 8 hours or overnight.
Apply grout. You can use to fill spaces in between rocks or sheets with remaining mortar which will act as grout. or use grout recommended by the manufacturer of the simulated rocks. Make sure the grout has a similar color to that of the rocks or sheets. Do not apply grout that would be too much contrast.
Wipe excess grout with wet sponge. Remove the excess grout before it dries.
Let dry overnight.
Inspect the grout lines for cracks and them re-apply more grout to fill in the cracks. Then allow to dry again, then wash with water using the garden hose to clean the remaining dirt or dust.
Apply a sealer so water will not seep through or stain your grout.
Things You Will Need
- Rocks (natural or simulated)
- Mortar (Cement mixture or heavy thinset)
- Grout (pre-mixed)
- Grout Sealer
- Chicken wire
- Pick, chisel or axe ( to break rocks)
- Shovel for mixing concrete mix used as mortar
- Sponge (large)
- Garden hose
- work gloves
- eye goggles
- Choose assorted colored rocks or simulated rocks to make them look more interesting and natural.
- Use work gloves and eye goggles for protection especially when cutting rocks.