How to Install Fake Stone

Fake stone has become a popular and widely used alternative to the real stuff for many builders and house owners.

Is it real or fake stone?Is it real or fake stone?
It looks just like real stone, even close up, and the colors and shapes are natural looking as well. Fake stone can be used wherever builders and landscapers normally use real stone. For the mason, the fake stone is comparatively lighter, which makes it easier on the back to work with, and it is easier to cut. Even the process for installing the fake stone is very similar to installing real stone.

Lay down drop cloths or heavy plastic in the work area. Install a rust-resistant, galvanized mesh directly to any masonry surface like poured concrete, cinder block or brick. Make sure the mesh is strong enough to hold the mortar into which the stone will be set, usually a 2.5 or higher weight mesh is sufficient. Install vapor wrap, felt; then, galvanized mesh onto wood or steel before installing fake stone.

The trowel is an indisposable tool for this job.

Use a trowel, and spread a thin coat of mortar to the mesh surface. Give the mortar enough time to set completely before installing the stone.

Lay out the stone you plan to put on the wall before beginning. Take the time to lay out the stone in the order you plan to install them to get an idea ahead of time which stones will go where. Select and mix sizes, shapes and thicknesses of the stones for the best visual appeal.

Do not soak the dried surface, but wet it sufficiently.

Dampen the dried wall slightly if the weather is hot and dry, so the mortar will retain enough moisture longer for a solid set. Start at the top and work down to keep the stone clean and minimize cleanup.

Use a masonry trowel to spread a thick, one-inch layer of mortar onto the back of the first, top, corner stone. Install all corner stones first to give yourself a starting point for the other stones. Press it into place on the prepared wall. Push it hard enough to squeeze out the mortar slightly all around the stone, wiggling it gently but firmly into place.

Cornerstones give you a point of reference for fitting the other stones into place.

Select and install the next corner stone. Keep the joints between the stones tight, roughly a half to three quarters of an inch, and consistent. Continue building the wall using a brick hammer, the edge of your masonry trowel or a pair of snips to cut and shape the fake stone as needed along the way.

Fill an empty grout bag about half-full with prepared mortar. Snip one corner of the bag, like cake decorators do. Squeeze the mortar out into the joints, covering any undesirable stone cuts still visible.

Wisk brooms are the ideal joint sweeping tool.

Give the mortar time to firm up slightly. Take a masonry striking tool, and strike/smooth the joints you just filled. Use a wisk broom to sweep away the mortar you just removed with the striking tool.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Drop cloth or plastic
  • Fake stone
  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Masonry hammer
  • Stone snips
  • Striking tool
  • Wisk broom

Tip

  • Look into different colors of mortar and even gravel dust to add color to the joints.

Warning

  • Do not let the mortar set up too long before striking and sweeping it.

About the Author

Chuck Brown is a freelance writer and former teacher and athletic coach. He has held professional stints as a business owner, personal fitness trainer, curriculum designer, website designer, market trader and real estate investor. Brown holds a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in Christian counseling.