How to Rock an Interior Wall
A stone interior wall produces a rustic look and ambiance in any home. Interior stone or rock walls can also incorporate fixtures such as fireplaces and shelves. Most builders use stone veneers to accomplish the rock wall look. The veneer stones are cast usually of natural materials in forms shaped from natural stone. The advantage of veneer stones is the flat backs that allows for installation to the wall.
Prepare the wall by covering the insulation and studs with plywood or drywall. These materials serve as the flat surface to which the wall is attached. Cover the wall with a tarpaper vapor barrier before attaching 2 1/2 pound galvanized metal lath. Use 1 1/2 galvanized roofing nails, nailed every 6 inches into the wall studs, to hold the lath in place.
Mix a mortar according to manufacturer's instructions. Premixed mortars that include the sand and Portland cement are commonly used. Mix with water to produce a sticky cement mix. Add colors to the mortar, if desired, to change the mortar colors.
Work from the bottom of the wall to the top one stone at a time. Apply several 1 1/2-inch round dollops of mortar to the back of the veneer stone and press it into the metal lath, holding it in place for at least 10 seconds. If the excess mortar squeezed out from behind the stone and drips onto lower stones, you are using too much mortar.
Apply mortar between the stones, using a grout bag. Work the mortar into the gaps, using pointed tools. Avoid excess mortar that may drop onto lower stones and discolor them. Produce a fine finish to the mortar joints by brushing with a stiff paintbrush.
- Cut any necessary veneer stones, following manufacturer's instructions. Some veneer stones are cut using hand tools like nippers or saws, while others are cut with masonry saws.
- Maintain joints of about 1/2 inch between stones. Place small stones next to large ones and vary the color of the stones across the wall for a pleasing look. Lay out groups of stones on the floor to visualize the look of the stone or rock work on the wall.
- Work slowly and carefully to get the look of the wall you want. Changing a rock wall will not be as easy as applying a new color of paint.
Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.
- Pitcher and stone wall image by Alex Rozhenyuk from Fotolia.com