How do I Put Stone on the Exterior of an Older Home?

Update the look of an older home's exterior with a stone veneer.

Freshen the curb appeal of an older home with an application of exterior stone.
Molded stone is either manufactured or a composite of natural stone formed into fairly uniform shapes and applied to the exterior of a home with modified thin set mortar. Stone veneer requires a smooth, oil-free surface to adhere and may require removal of old siding and the installation of a cement fiberboard siding before applying the stone. Molded stone is either stacked close together eliminating the need for grout or is set farther apart and grouted with the same mortar used on the back of the stone. .

Prepare the surface of the outside of the older home to receive the stone veneer. Remove, if necessary, the existing siding or cover it with cement fiberboard siding or backer board to provide a clean, oil-free surface on which to install the stone.

Measure the project surface area to determine how much stone to buy. Measure the vertical length of the corners and determine how much corner-shaped stone to buy.

Lay the stone out near the work site. Mix colors and sizes to suit and plan the stacking of the corner stones.

Trowel modified thin-set mortar on the project area beginning with the corners.

Set the corner stones first, starting at the bottom of each corner and alternating the long and short legs of the corner stones as the stones are placed around the corner. Spread mortar on the back of each stone with a mason's trowel before pressing the corner stones into the troweled-on mortar.

Spread mortar on the back of each surface stone and press it into the troweled-on mortar. Adjust the size of the stones as needed with stone nippers by using the end of the nippers to nip away the stone until the stone fits into place. Stack stones close together if you don't want to use grout.

Let the mortar dry completely according to manufacturer's instructions.

Put more modified thin-set mortar in a grout bag if you want to use grout and point the bag's tip into the joints between the stones. Squeeze the bag and fill the joints with mortar. Wipe off any excess with a damp towel.

Things You Will Need

  • Molded stones
  • Modified thin-set mortar
  • Measuring tape
  • Grout bag
  • Mason's trowel
  • Mortar trowel
  • Nippers
  • Damp towel

About the Author

An attorney for more than 18 years, Jennifer Williams has served the Florida Judiciary as supervising attorney for research and drafting, and as appointed special master. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Jacksonville University, law degree from NSU's Shepard-Broad Law Center and certificates in environmental law and Native American rights from Tulsa University Law.