Cultured stones are widely used in interior and exterior home decoration. Building and decorating interiors and exteriors with stones gives a classic and elegant look to our home. Natural aggregates, cement, and iron pigments are used for making them. They are given the natural shapes using molds of different shapes and sizes.
The greatest advantage of using them is that their installation is fairly easy. In spite of the ease of installation, they give a timeless and rich look to the house. Further, they are available almost for one-fourth the price of real stones.
Cultured stones are used to embellish interiors, including fireplaces, bathroom walls, bedroom walls, and wine storage racks. The exteriors include terraces, corridors, verandas, and window sills. Also, there are various types of these stones that are available today for beautification of your house.
Let's take a look at the installation process and steps.
The basic step before you install cultured stone is the estimation of the amount of stone and mortar required, depending on the wall area that is to be covered with them.
If you are installing them on a wooden wall, it is necessary to apply a weather resistant barrier to the wall before the installation. However, you can directly install them on the walls made of cement.
The weather barrier is then covered with a metal lath using galvanized nails. The nails must penetrate at least 1 inch inside the wall.
When you are done with the installation of the metal lathe, make a preliminary plan to make a template (usually made of newspaper) of the style that you wish to use to install the cultured stones.
Remember that even if you prepare a newspaper template, it may not be possible to place them in the same manner as you have imagined. This is due to the abrupt variation in their sizes. Their colors, size, and texture must be varied from time to time when you make the template.
The entire metal lath is covered with a layer of mortar. Then, apply mortar to the flat side of the stone, and start placing the stones on the mortar.
Sometimes, the stones will not fit exactly as you have decided in the template. You may require a hammer to cut the corners of the stone so that it fits on the mortar as you had decided earlier. Each stone must be held in the mortar for a few minutes so that the mortar holds the stone with a much tighter bond.
Fill the remaining pieces with small pieces of stones. The grout is prepared for this purpose. The grout is made from mortar and water; however, it is somewhat thinner than the mortar mixture. You can apply the grout using a grout bag (which is just like the icing bag used to decorate cakes) to the spaces where the stones are not installed.
The excess grout must be cleaned, once it is dried (thumb print dry), with a dry whisk broom.
So, now you have a clear idea on how to install cultured stones. Go ahead and make a beautiful fireplace or pavement for your home. Remember, post installation the stones must not be cleaned with acidic cleaners.