My partners and I were recently hired to apply a manufactured-stone veneer to the above-grade face of a drive-in basement foundation. Though we had previously worked with other, geometric veneers under the same brand name, Cultured Stone (Owens Corning, 800/255-1727,, this job was different — for a couple of reasons. First, the foundation tucked diagonally into a hillside, with the grade retained on one side by natural stone boulders. The veneer selected by the designer was made up of irregular, "natural" shapes that would match the boulders in the retaining wall. Second, whereas in the past we had applied manufactured stone to poured concrete and masonry walls — which provide ideal backing for masonry veneers — this foundation was built with Reddiform ICFs (insulating concrete forms). I was confident that the foam facing would provide adequate support for the veneer, because integral webs inside the blocks tie the interior and exterior faces together. But I wasn't sure whether the standard cement mortar typically used to install manufactured stone would bond directly to the polystyrene foam.

However, the project's builder, Todd LaBarge, had extensive experience with ICF construction and had already researched direct-applied concrete coating options with various industry consultants. He was confident we could proceed without worry. For reference, I checked the Cultured Stone product literature for specific installation guidelines.

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