Fieldstone, limestone, river rock, split rock, red rock, or ledgestone?it doesn't matter what style, region, or theme you're trying to emulate?there's most likely a manufactured stone product line to match it. The components of manufactured stone include Portland cement, mineral oxide colors, and lightweight aggregates. You can fill the joints with grout or create a dry-laid look without grout joints between the stones. You can even find fieldstone with simulated moss on it. It's no wonder the trend toward stone facing has been revived nationwide.

Quick and Easy Installation

You can install manufactured stone on interior and exterior applications over most types of construction surfaces, and you don't need wall-ties, footings, or special structural support to hold the stone -- even in earthquake regions. You can install manufactured stone over clean and untreated concrete or masonry surfaces without any special wall preparations, but on building surfaces such as wood studs, plywood, and drywall, you have to construct a rigid mud-base subsurface similar to that needed for installing split brick or ceramic tile.

Prepare the Surface. To install manufactured stone on open studs, apply paper-backed, galvanized, 3/4-pound rib, expanded-metal lath nailed to your studs with galvanized nails or staples. Nail the lath every 6 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally with nails that penetrate at least 1 inch into the studs. Then apply a 1/2-inch-thick scratch coat of mortar over the lath and allow it to cure for 48 hours before installing the stone.

Over wallboard, plywood, or rigid insulation board, start by covering the wall with a weather-resistant barrier, such as Kraft waterproof building paper or asphalt-saturated rag felt. Apply the weather barrier horizontally, and install 2.5-pound or heavier diamond mesh, expanded galvanized metal lath over this barrier with galvanized nails or staples. Apply a 1/2-inch scratch coat of mortar over the lath and allow it to set.

Lay Out the Stone. Before you start mortaring stones onto the wall, lay out about 25 square feet of stone on the floor near your work area. This allows you to play with the fit and color patterns before you set the stones in place. You'll want to achieve a balanced pattern of shapes, sizes, and colors on the wall. It's easier to do this when you have a pre-arranged area of stone to choose from, instead of just grabbing whatever stone comes next from the box. When working with several crates of stone, mix and select pieces from different boxes to ensure a better blend and a balanced appearance.