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Stone veneer brings character and elegance to our homes. Install it over an existing brick façade for a seamless transformation.
Stone veneers enhance a home’s overall desirability, ultimately increasing its property value. They are versatile and can be installed onto fireplaces, accent walls, garden walls, driveways, columns and other sections inside and outside our homes. Veneers are the perfect way to add sophistication to brightly coloured rooms or for a pop of colour and texture in neutral palettes.
Homeowners who love their brick walls but are keen on an upgrade or just want to switch things up should look to stone veneers, especially if the mission is to add a modern twist while maintaining the rustic look of a home. The best part? Stone veneers can be installed right over a brick façade. Here’s how to get the job done right.
Installing stone veneers over brick can be an exciting project for DIYers and professionals, but high-quality work begins with the right equipment. Required are a ½-inch notched trowel, a margin trowel, nails, a hammer, buckets, masonry fasteners, a drill, a tape measure, levels and a chalk line.
The first step is applying a scratch coat over the brick surface. A scratch coat consists of cement and sand (mortar), and it is what glues the stone veneer to the brick. While it is an effective adhesive, a scratch coat will not work on painted, smooth or crumbly bricks. Painted and smooth bricks aren’t porous enough, while crumbly bricks don’t have sufficient structural integrity to support the scratch coat. Correct low- or non-porosity issues by sandblasting or power-washing any paint, oils or dirt off of the brick surface.
Crumbly bricks can be corrected by applying corrosive-free metal lath to the bricks and attaching it with masonry fasteners. The wire fasteners look like they have openings or “cups” and these openings should be facing up towards the ceiling or sky, not down towards the ground. When you spread a scratch coat over it, the mortar gets caught in these “cups” or “mouths” and solidifies there.
The strips that connect the wire to the wall have two functions: to create an air/moisture barrier so moisture doesn’t compromise the wall behind, and to connect the wire to the wall.
Once you’ve achieved a compliant surface, you are ready to trowel the scratch coat. Be sure to provide adequate support for the stone veneer by ensuring that all gaps and holes are covered.
As an alternative to the methods mentioned above, cement boards are perfect for amateurs or anyone looking to complete the project at a fast pace. Simply install them over the bricks, then add the stone veneer.
Cement boards are already flat and hard, so there is no need to use a trowel to flatten them. Unlike with a scratch coat, you won’t need to wait until the surface is dry, so you can start applying the stone veneer right away.
To get started, you’ll need to add an adhesive to the board and nail it to the brick wall. This creates an instant layer that bridges over the bricks’ cracks, gaps and any other flaws. Then, you’ll add a layer of mortar to the board to allow the stone veneer to stick.
Stone veneers are available in a variety of designs and patterns. These patterns fall into three main categories: natural, manufactured and faux.
Natural stone veneer is the most realistic in appearance. It is also the most expensive. It is made from real stone quarried from the earth and features beautiful imperfections and elegant textures that take thousands of years to form. They can be quite heavy, but you have the choice of using thin-sliced veneers, which are more workable. The colour variations are rich, and no two pieces look exactly alike.
On the other hand, manufactured stone veneer is made from Portland cement, aggregates and iron oxide. To the untrained eye, it is difficult to tell it apart from natural stone veneer. It is lighter than natural stone veneer but heavier than faux stone. You’ll receive the veneer as individual stones, which allows you to apply each to the mortar as you would apply the natural stone veneer.
Faux stone veneer, meanwhile, contains no stone or natural products. It is made of polyurethane and can look quite realistic. This veneer is the most affordable, and it comes in panels rather than individual stones, allowing you to save time during the installation.
Once the veneer is complete, give it a day to set. If it is warm, it sets faster. Don’t do anything in subzero temperatures, or nothing will set correctly. Once it’s set, it can be grouted—fill the joints with mortar for a clean finish—and rake the joints for an attractive aesthetic. Consider using a water permeable sealer to seal the pores so water gets repelled off the stone—this will keep the stone looking in top shape for years to come.
Our experienced team at Pacific Art Stone in Surrey, BC, will help you choose a stone veneer that mirrors your personal style and suits your budget whether you are a beginner, amateur or expert. We offer a wide range of natural, manufactured cultured and faux stone veneers that feature a variety of designs, textures and patterns. Call us at (604) 590-5999 today and get started with your project.
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