Question: I am planning on putting Kodiak Mountain Stone manufactured stone on the exterior of my house and on my fireplace. How is it installed? Can I do it myself?
Kodiak Mountain Stone manufactured stone can be installed by a professional mason or the do-it-yourself (DIY) home owner. Properly installing our manufactured stone products is the most important part of ensuring a long-lasting, beautiful project. There are definite advantages of using a professional mason and we would be happy to try to help you find one if you wish. But if you want to instal your stone on your own, we are here to help.
Visit our website at www.KodiakMountain.com if you would like to download our Installation Guide in .pdf format.
Estimating Material Needed:
Whether you are putting stone on your fireplace, a feature wall or on the exterior of your home, the first step is to estimate the amount of stone that you will need for the job.
- Measure the square footage of the area to be covered with your Kodiak Mountain Stone veneer. For example, the surface you are covering may be 12 feet long at the base and 12 feet high. You would calculate this as 12 x 12 = 144 square feet (SF). The stone used on these surfaces are referred to as “flats.” The flats are on the flat surface of the project while the other option is “corners” which obviously are used on the corners of the project (they come in 90 degree pieces)
- Next you would determine the area of any large openings such as windows and doors where the stone is not going to be applied. When you calculate this square footage, subtract it from the square footage you calculated in step 1.
- The next step is to determine the amount of corner pieces that you will need. Our stone comes with 90 degree corners in all of our styles (Some of our natural stone products do not have 90 degree corners). While our flats are measured in square footage, corners are measured in linear feet. So to determine the amount you need for corners, measure the linear footage of the corners you will be putting stone around. For example, if you are going around two different corners and they are each four feet tall, you would need eight linear feet of corners (2 corners x 4′ = 8 linear feet)
- Because the corner pieces do cover some of the area that we have previously measured for the square footage of flats, for each linear foot of corners subtract 1/2 foot off of the total square footage of flats you previously calculated. In our example, if you need 8 linear feet of corner pieces, subtract 4 square feet of the needed flats calculated in steps 1 & 2.
- When installing your manufactured stone there will be times that you need to cut and fit the stone. At times there may even be some broken stones that come in the boxes. During shipping some breakage may occur. These stones can be used when cutting and fitting is needed. For this reason plus the possibility of errors in measuring, we suggest when you order your stone you order about 10% more than you anticipate needing.
Many of the tools you will need to instal your stone are available from us at our stores in Calgary and Lethbridge AB. If you do not live near either of these locations they should be available at your local hardware stores. The tools you will need may include:
- Grinder &/or saw, complete with masonry cutting blade
- Safety glasses
- Dust Mask
- Grout Bag
- Soft Bristled Brush
- 1 3/4 Roofing Nails
- Tin Snips
- Wheel Barrow
- Masonry Trowel
- Spacers or shims
- Hammer Tacker complete with staples
- Stiff Bristle Brush
Preparing the Surface
We have a very informative surface preparation video online at the following link: Preparing Surface for Stone
- Moisture Barrier
- The moisture barrier is an extremely important part of the installation. Without a proper moisture barrier you can run into significant problems down the road. This is one area of concern with not having a professional installing your Kodiak Mountain Stone products. If you ensure you follow the provided guidelines, you won’t have a problem. Please watch the video above to learn more about surface preparation.
- If you are installing your stone over wallboard, paneling, plywood, or other rigid wood related sheathing, it is necessary to cover the wall surface with a moisture barrier. In most cases, building codes are satisfied by using two (2) layers of tar paper or two-ply 60 minute grade D paper. Make sure to check your local building code requirements. Be sure that the sheets overlap from the bottom up. Overlap two inches on the horizontal seems and six inches on the vertical seams. Flashing, weep screed, and appropriate drainage means are required at stoppage points of stone veneer and at any places of potential penetration.
- When stone is to be installed over clean brick, block, cement board or other masonry surfaces, no moisture barrier is necessary.
- Check your local building codes for required flashing specifics and to ensure these instructions meet specific moisture barrier requirements.
- Wire Lath
- Directly over the moisture barrier, cover the area with a wire lath. We recommend using at least a 2.5 lbs (1.71 kg) diamond mesh expanded wire lath meeting the requirements of ASTM C 847. Overlap lath sides and ends no less than one inch. Be sure that lath is attached with the small cups pointing upward. Attach the lath using galvanized nails or staples every 6 inches on center vertically, and 16 on center horizontally, ensuring to penetrate studs. Use staples or fasten any loose areas between the studs. Use tin snips to cut the lath.
- With corners, ensure that the lath is tightly folded. Never have a seam on the corner. Nail the lath on both faces of the corner
For detailed instructions on mixing your mortar from scratch, please visit our installation guide online at http://www.kodiakmountain.com/technical/installation.htm. If mixing your own mortar, ensure that all ingredients comply with, and are mixed to meet ASTM standards and/or local building codes.
You will have three different applications of mortar: The Scratch Coat, Mortar, and Grout
At our stores in Lethbridge and Calgary we sell a pre-mix mortar that just requires adding water and mixing thoroughly. Mortars and mixtures can vary, so please follow the directions on the bags of mortar that you purchase. The bags of mortar will also indicate the coverage amount of each bag.
- Cover the entire wire lath with an even layer of mortar with a cement trowel.
- While the cement is still wet, gently scrape it with a fine bristled brush or hair pick. The resulting grooves rough up the scratch coat, which creates a better bond when the stone is applied. Brush gentle enough that no mortar is removed from the wall.
- Let the scratch coat dry sufficiently. Depending on temperature, humidity, airflow, mix, etc this can take 8 to 24 hours.
Applying the Stone
- Before applying stone, ensure that proper measures are taken to divert water runoff away from the stone. Excess run-off and splashing can, over time, stain the stone.
- Mix a batch of mortar according to the instructions in our guide or on the bag of mortar mix
- Using a trowel, apply a 1/2″ layer of mortar on the back of the individual stones. Press the stone firmly into the scratch coat to ensure a good bond. Press hard enough to squeeze out a little mortar around the edges of the stone. Make sure you have complete coverage between the mortar bed and the surface of the stone.
- The corner pieces should be installed first alternating the long and short ends of the corner pieces in opposite directions.
- Next apply the flat pieces by starting at the outer edges and working towards the center of the wall.
- Cutting & Trimming: You may use nippers, the edge of your trowel, or a circular saw with a masonry blade to cut and shape the stone. If necessary, broken stones can be trimmed and shaped to fill in any gaps. Avoid having any cut edges of the stone visible.
- Grouting Joints: When a mortar joint is to be used, fill in the joints with a mortar bag, taking care to avoid getting mortar on the stones’ surface. Joints should be 1/2″ to get the most natural look. Any accidental smears can be removed with a whisk broom after the mortar is crumbly. Never use a wet brush, wire brush, acid or acid-based product to clean the stone.
- Finishing Joints: Proper jointing gives your project an appealing and professional finish. Allow mortar joints to become firm (approx. 30-60 min), then point them up with a jointing tool.
- Brush Joints: Remove excess mortar then firmly compress and seal the edges around the stones. Brush stones and joints with a dry whisk broom to finish and clean your project.
- Dry Stack (Mortarless) Application: In dry stack application where no mortar joints are used, a bonding agent may be added to the mortar mix for better bonding. It is also recommended to use a breathable (non-film-forming) sealer. (no gloss, low gloss and high gloss sealers are available). Install dry stack stone from the bottom up and keep joints as level as possible.
Cleaning and Sealing
Clean Kodiak Mountain Stone products with a soft bristle brush and water. If stained with mineral deposits or efflorescence, stone may be cleaned with a diluted household vinegar solution (7 parts water, 1 part vinegar). Rinse thoroughly with clean water after cleaning. Do not use wire brushes or acid to clean Kodiak Mountain Stone manufactured stone. Contact our office at 1-877-563-4252 or visit one of our stores or one of our dealers to explore our various sealing options.