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Masonry - Covering concrete with REAL rocks

There is a lot of information on how to work with faux rocks.  I would like to learn how to put real rocks on a concrete wall.  We live in the woods with plenty of free rocks and our poured concrete foundation has left us with plenty of concrete walls.  If there is a mason out there who can give me the basics. I would love to try covering some of our concrete.


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Posted 2011-02-20T19:30:53+0000  by DIYmom DIYmom

Hello and welcome DIYmom this sounds like a pretty cool project you’re about to start here. One of the first steps you’ll take is preparing the work area. Light switches, plugs, etc should be covered and secured with plastic and tape, also covering the surrounding floor with a tarp will help protect it from stray mortar and debris.


Attaching metal lathe to the wall is your next step. Make sure the lathe goes to the wall “cup” up, think of the way cheese grater ridges are aligned and you’ll be set. Since your wall is concrete I would recommend the use of a hammer drill to make driving the lathe securing screws in easier. The lathe should also have a bit of overlap.


Once in place mix a portion of the mortar as per direction and apply a thin layer to the lathe. Use the side of your trowel and work horizontal groove into the layer when it starts to tack. When dry these ridges will help give some texture to aid with adhesion. Allow this layer to fully dry anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.


Now is a good time to mock up the layout of the stone on the wall (especially important if using stones with larger surface areas) so that you don’t waste time working on composition when you’ve got a tub of wet mortar waiting :robottongue:.


When you have your layout locked down it’s time to move back to the wall.


Working from bottom to top in rows, apply a coat of mortar to both the back of the stones and the wall and firmly press and work the stones into place. Repeat this process till complete. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours.


It may be necessary to grout between any gaps in the stone. This is done by filling a grout bag with mortar and working it into the voids.


So that’s essentially it. Keep in mind though that this process can vary depending on the size of the stones used. Thicker stone will require some alterations, so be sure and get back to us with the type of rock you’ll be using. Also remember to work at a pace you can handle. Tackling the wall in comfortably workable sections vs. going for it all can be the difference between a fun project and a nightmare project. Well those are the basics I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.




Posted 2011-02-20T21:23:03+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL

Hey DIYmom, Chris has got you some great advise there, I just wanted to add that you would might want to utilize a polymer modified mortar or put in poly AdMix so that the mortar will have a stronger immediate bond and it will be more able to hold the weight of the rocks. 



I hope we get to see pictures of the finished project, it sounds awesome!



Posted 2011-02-21T19:26:48+0000  by BlakeTheDiyGuy
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