Stone Veneer Installation Guides

If you have any questions in regards to stone veneer installation, please consult our step-by-step guide below. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact us.

Typical Installation

QR Stone is a versatile product which can be used on the interior or exterior of residential and commercial buildings. QR Stone can easily be installed on virtually any surface and is ideal for both new construction and remodeling projects. The following instructions will address the two basic variations of stone installation, estimating quantities, surface preparation, mortar preparation and stone application.

The two variations of stone installation procedures are the “Standard” procedure and the “Jointless or Dry-Stacked” procedure. Though these procedures are very similar, the differences will be addressed as we proceed through the instructions.

The “Standard” procedure will show the grouted joints between each piece of stone. You can use standard grey mortar or further enhance the wall by adding a mortar colorant.

The “Jointless or Dry-Stacked” procedure does not show any grouted joints, the stones are fitted tight together. To insure the grout is not visible, you can use a matching mortar colorant.

Estimate Stone Quantities

  1. To determine the total square footage of stone needed (flats and corners), simply multiply the length x the height of each surface to be covered with stone and add those together. Be sure to subtract out any openings such as doors and windows if they were included in your initial measurements.
  2. To determine the linear footage of outside corners, simply measure the length of each corner which will be covered in stone. These could include the outside corner(s) of the building, doorways, window openings, and columns.
  3. If your project requires the use of both flats and corners, the following formula will help you determine the accurate quantities of each.

To determine square footage of flat stones needed follow these steps:

Multiply the lineal footage of corners by 3/4. (One lineal foot of corner is equal to 3/4’s of a square foot of flats.)

Deduct this quantity from the “total” square footage to determine how many square feet of flat stone is required.

Total area to be covered in stone, including flats and corners, equals 100 square feet (length x height).

Total lineal footage of corners needed equals 20 lineal feet.

Multiply the 20 lineal feet of corners by 3/4 (or .75 on your calculator), 20 lf x 3/4 (or .75) = 15 square feet.

Deduct the 15 square feet from the total square footage: 100 – 15 = 85.

Your order of stone would be: 85 square feet of flat stone, 20 lineal feet of corner stone

It is recommended to order a little extra flat stone for fitting, cutting and trimming.

Preparing the Surface

Surface preparation is probably the most important step of stone installation. A job is only as good as the base your installing the stone on. Listed below are the recommended installation techniques for many of the common conditions encountered.

Interior or exterior installation over plywood, paneling, sheetrock, wallboard, or other rigid wood-related sheathings:

For certain specific applications, QR Stone Incorporated requires a ventilation device be installed after applying moisture barrier and before applying wire lathe and mortar scratch coat; Mortairvent brand or similar. This is only a requirement where building code requires, and for commercial applications. We also recommend it for residential applications, however, it is not required unless local or state building code requires.

Cover the surface with two layers of a weather-resistant barrier such as waterproof kraft building paper or asphalt felt paper. Start at the bottom of the wall and apply the barrier horizontally. Be sure the upper layer overlaps the lower layer by at least two (2”) inches. Any vertical joint should over lap at least six(6”) inches.

Next, attach galvanized diamond mesh (expanded metal lath) with galvanized staples or nails every six (6”) inches vertically and sixteen (16”) inches horizontally. Be sure the fastener penetrates the wood stud as least one (1”) inch. Overlap the sides of the mesh at least one-half (1/2”) inch and the ends of the mesh at least one (1”) inch.

For inside and outside corners, use two (2) layers of galvanized diamond mesh and be sure to overlap each side of the corner sixteen (16”) inches.

Apply your scratch-coat of mortar over the diamond mesh, be sure to force the mortar into the mesh and allow to set.

Over open studs – wood or metal:

For wood studs, apply a paper-backed galvanized 3/8” or 1/2” rib expanded metal lath over the studs and attach using galvanized staples or nails. Overlap the sides by at least one-half (1/2”) inch and the ends by one (1”) inch. Again, be sure the fasteners penetrate at least one (1”) into the wood studs on center. Staple or nail every four (4”) inches vertically and sixteen (16”) horizontally.

For metal studs, apply the same 3/8” or 1/2” expanded lath as used for wood studs. Use a corrosion resistant self-tapping screw with minimum of a 3/8” head. The screw must penetrate through the metal stud a least 1/2”.

For both wood and metal studs, apply at least a one-half (1/2”) inch mortar scratch coat over the metal lath. Be sure to force the mortar into the mesh for full coverage. Wait for at least 48 hours for the mortar to set.

Over “clean” masonry such as concrete, cement block, brick, stucco or other masonry surfaces:

“Clean” masonry surfaces are unpainted, unsealed and untreated. The surfaces are free from dirt or any other contaminants. There is no cracking, peeling, spalling or deterioration.

No surface preparation is necessary.

Over painted, sealed, treated, dirty or contaminated surfaces such as concrete, cement blocks, brick and stucco:

There are two ways to treat these conditions. First, clean back to the original surface by sandblasting, acid washing/etching or wire brushing. Be sure to remove “ALL”coatings.

Or second, attach galvanized wire mesh to the surface using galvanized or corrosion-resistant masonry nails or fasteners.

Apply a mortar scratch coat and allow to dry.

Over rigid foam insulation:

The surface preparation procedure is the same as the plywood, paneling, sheetrock and wallboard preparation “except” the nails or staples should be every four (4”) inches on center vertically, sixteen (16”) inches horizontally and penetrate wood or metal studs at least one (1”) inch.

Preparing the Mortar

Mortar mix for “Standard Installation” (grouted joints).

It is recommended to use Type-S mortar or ready mix CSC-4 mortar for both the scratch coat and for setting/adhering each piece of stone. This can be purchased as ready-mix mortar (mortar and sand pre-mixed in the bag) or you can purchase the Type-S mortar and sand, and mix your own. Either way will achieve the desired results.

A. For ready-mixed mortar, add water and mix to a firm and workable consistency. Be sure the mortar is not too wet and running off the trowel and stone or to dry where it is difficult to spread.

B. If mixing your own mortar, use the following formula:

  • 3-parts Masonry Cement
  • 5 to 7 parts Masonry Sand
  • Water
  • Mix to a Workable Consistency

C. If mixing mortar for jointless or drystack instillation.

  • Use the ready-mixed mortar or mix your own as described in the “Standard Installation” for the Scratch-coat.
  • To set the stone, use a “Pre-cast Stone Mortar Mix” which meets “AC51-Bond Strength”.
  • The pre-cast stone mortar mix is recommended for both interior and exterior installations.
  • For best results you can add color the setting mortar to match the base color of the stone to hide any exposed joints.

Applying the Stone

Lay out 20 to 30 square feet of stone on the ground or floor near your work area. Be sure to work out of several boxes to give you a selection to work from. For best results, try to balance the colors, textures, thickness and sizes equally throughout the wall.

Wet the dried scratch-coat and the piece of stone your about to set just prior to installation. This can be done with a sponge, brush or sprayer as you proceed with installation. Wetting the scratch-coat and stone will eliminate excessive absorption of moisture from the setting mortar and ensuring a good initial bond. Allow the water to soak in for a few moments to eliminate excess surface water. Wetting the stone and scratch-coat is very important when weather conditions are hot, dry or windy.

Set you corners first. Most corners have a long return and a short return. Be sure to alternate the long and short returns every coarse.

For the “Standard Installation”, work from the top down. This will allow any loose mortar to drop on the ground or floor and minimize any clean-up.

For “Jointless or Dry-Stacked Installation” work from the bottom up.

Fitting the Stones: tight joints is the key to desirable looking job. Keep your joints down to 1/2 inch or less and avoid long, straight unbroken joint lines.

When laying QR Stone’s “Ledgestone” “Rustic Ledgestone” and “Cobblestone” be sure to keep the work level.

Snap chalk lines or use a level. Avoid long vertical and horizontal joint lines, be sure to stagger the joints.

Installing at Ground Level: If the stone will be installed at ground level, keep the stone at least 4” above grade. A simply way to do this is use a 2” x 4” staked into the ground as a straight edge. When finished, remove the 2” x 4” and the stakes. This will give you a nice clean edge and a finished look.

Keeping the stone 4” above grade helps avoid the possibility of staining from alkali or other minerals and contaminants in the soil.

Trimming and Cutting

Mortar mix for “Standard Installation” (grouted joints).

This can be done with a wet or dry saw, nippers, hammer and chisel, or the edge of a mason’s trowel. Straight edges are done best with the wet or dry saw.

When applying the cut or trimmed stones, try to set the stone so the cut edge is not visible. If the cut stone is set below eye level, turn the cut edge down, if the cut stone is set above eye level, turn the cut edge up. Sometimes you may not have a choice which way the cut edge is facing, so be sure to cover the cut edge with mortar when grouting.

Applying the Mortar

Applying the Mortar: spread an even layer of mortar across the back of the stone approximately 1/2 inch thick. Set the stone in it’s desired place and firmly press the stone until mortar squeezes out from the edges. As your pressing the stone into place, gently wiggle the stone back and forth to help insure a good initial bond.

When setting the Jointless/Dry-Stacked Stone, follow the same method as above. Use a margin trowel or tuck point to remove any excess mortar, then smooth and fill in any voids around the edges of the stone.

If you should get any mortar on the face of the stone do not try and wipe or rub off the mortar, it will only smear. Allow the mortar to dry and crumble off, brush the excess off with a stiff broom or brush.

Grouting the Joints

Grouting the Joints: after the stone has been applied to the wall, use a grout bag or baker’s bag to fill the joints with mortar. A tuck point or margin trowel can be use to help fill in the voids, smooth the joints and remove any excess mortar. Again, if you get mortar on the face of the stone, let it dry, then go back and brush it off.

If you installed the Jointless/Dry-Stacked Stone grouting is not necessary, however, it is a good idea to fill in any voids.

Finishing the Joints

Let the mortar set for 30 to 60 minutes or until “thumb-print dry”. Fill any voids and smooth the joints with a wood or metal striking tool, then with a soft brush, wipe the joints smooth.

Brush off any loose mortar or mortar spots from the face of the stone within two hours after you finish, mortar can easily be removed in this time frame. If left overnight, the mortar stains will be permanent.


If you find it necessary to clean the stone, use a granulated soap or detergent mixed with water and a bristle brush. Be sure to pre-wet the stone before cleaning and rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

Do not use wire brushes, acids, or cleaners containing acid to clean the stone.

Salts/De-icing/Wet Areas

Salts and De-icing: All masonry and concrete products can be damaged by these products. QR Stone is not warranted against damaged caused by salts and de-icing products.

Wet Areas: Do not use QR Stone below water lines in swimming pools, hot tubs, or ponds. Chemicals, such as chlorine, could damage or discolor the stone.


It is important to properly use flashing on all residential and commercial buildings whether it’s new construction or re-modeling. Consult your local building code for the proper flashing types and locations so your project is in accordance with their requirements.


You may need a variety of tools to install QR Stone. Here is a list of tools, some you may already have, some you may want to add:

  • Hammer and/or staple gun to attach wire mesh
  • Mason’s Trowel to apply mortar or cut stone
  • Wheelbarrow and mortar hoe to mix mortar and grout
  • Margin Trowel for applying mortar
  • Tuck Point for filling in voids and finishing edges
  • Jointing tools, metal or wood to smooth joints
  • Finish Trowel to apply mortar for scratch coat or spreading mortar on the back of the stone
  • Level
  • Masonry saw or grinder with dry cut or wet cut masonry blades for cutting and shaping stones
  • Safety Glasses/Goggles and Dust masks for protection
  • Grout Bag or bakers bag for grouting joints
  • Brush or broom for finishing/smoothing joints

Limited Warranty

QR Stone products are covered for the lifetime of the original purchaser when used on a structure which conforms to local building codes and when installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

QR Stone will repair or provide, free-of-charge, new materials to replace those which are determined to be defective. This warranty is limited to the original purchaser and may not be transferred to any subsequent owner.

This warranty does not cover damage resulting from:

  • Settlement of the building or other wall movement.
  • Contact with chemicals or paint.
  • Discoloration due to airborne contaminants.
  • Staining or oxidation.

This warranty covers only manufacturing defects in QR Stone manufactured stone products. QR Stone is not responsible for labor costs incurred in the removal and replacement of defective products.

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