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  1. #1
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    Default new construction stone facing

    I walked by this new construction near my home this morning. The stones are less than two inches thick and many of them seem to only be stuck onto the mortar behind them, with very little mortar between stones.

    This does not seem like a good idea. In fact, one of them has already come loose.

    With this kind of facing, what is the minimum depth of mortar the stones should be embedded in?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I walked by this new construction near my home this morning. The stones are less than two inches thick and many of them seem to only be stuck onto the mortar behind them, with very little mortar between stones.

    This does not seem like a good idea. In fact, one of them has already come loose.

    With this kind of facing, what is the minimum depth of mortar the stones should be embedded in?
    That is "lick-n-stick" stone. It is man made stone. One key element of the installation is that the stone back needs to be wet when the back is "buttered" and placed in the mortar bed. If not the stone will suck the moisture out of the mortar base and it does exactly what you have found. Also if the mix is too dry or it was really a hot or really cold day when it was installed you will see this.

    I see this type of stone all the time and it is seldom done correctly. As for the mortar between the stones, it is not needed. It looks like they were going for what is called a "Dry" stack look.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    Scott - Thanks. Don't see much of it around here.


  4. #4
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
    Jim Zborowski Guest

    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    Typically called " cultured stone " or Cultured brick " it is installed by first puting on felt to prevent moisture against wood sheathing. Then it's covered with wire lathe and a base coat of mortar applied. This is followed by a scratch coat. The stones or bricks are then " buttered " and applied. To finish, a mortar bag is used to fill in betweeen the stones or bricks, with the amount varying depending on the look you want. I'm about 100 miles west of Chicago, so here it's a good idea to apply a clear water barrier to help prevent damage in our climate, which seems to change by the minute.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    John,

    We have a lot of that around here. Using the "dry stack" look that Scott referred to. However, it does not freeze around here. I would be concerned in your area about water getting behind the stone, freezing and lifting it off. Since this is new construction, that may not be the case.

    The newer stuff looks more like real stone than the old stuff did. I remember in the '70s when I first saw this. Looked like driftwood. We called it "stucco stone" or "Disneyland stone" because it looked so bad.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    Gunnar - Thanks.
    I would be pretty nervous about having this stuff on my house, especially up three stories. It may not be "real" stone, but a chunk falling from that height could be "real" nasty.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    ...I would be concerned in your area about water getting behind the stone, freezing and lifting it off. Since this is new construction, that may not be the case. ..
    How about snow filling in the gaps, partially melting, and then freezing and expanding. I can see it popping those suckers right off.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    That is "adhered masonry veneer" versus the "anchored masonry veneer" you are used to seeing.

    Yes, it can fall off when it comes loose, and it does not even take water and freeze/thaw cycles, I found "loose" "adhered" masonry veneer in South Florida.

    It is a matter of installing it properly ... or, should I say ... it is a matter of it *NOT* being installed properly.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    Around here, we steam it off.

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  10. #10
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
    Kevin Barre Guest

    Default Re: new construction stone facing

    John--
    You have to be real careful with man-made stone. The installation details are frequently done incorrectly. Around here, at least, it is often installed without proper flashings, and often installed directly onto the lath WITHOUT a scratch coat. I always look carefully between the stones as the "dry stack" look is popular. It's not unusual to see metal lath and plastic house wrap behind it. Obviously, this means that there was no solid scratch coat applied. The installers get lazy and butter the back of the pieces and stick them directly to the lath. Sometimes I see it stuck to lath directly on OSB without any weather barrier at all.
    I suspect that this type of product will be a big source of lawsuits/repairs in the coming years.

    BTW: Cultured Stone is a trademark for a product made by Owens Corning.


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