Step 6: Score the Mortar

score the mortar
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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When the scratch coat is firm to the touch, score the surface horizontally using a ½-inch notched trowel. Start at one of the island's short ends and position the trowel vertically and on edge. Tilting the trowel 45 degrees, score all the way across the short side and continue around to the front. Make one pass all the way around the island; keep the lines as straight and parallel to the ground as you can, so you can use them later as guides for setting the stone.

Continue scoring the scratch coat in single passes that wrap all the way around until all the mortar is grooved.

Let the mortar cure for at least 24 hours.

Set the cabinet boxes into the openings, pushing each back until the flange butts against the mortared face of the island. Secure the box through the bottom and into the base framing with 2-inch deck screws.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular Saw for cutting the framing lumber and plywood

    • drill
      Drill Driver

    • metal cutting snips
      Tin Snips for cutting the wire lath

    • hammer
      Hammer

    • staple gun
      Staple Gun

    • masonry hoe
      Mixing Trough and Masonry Hoe

    • flat finishing trowel
      Hawk and Finishing Trowel

    • notched trowel
      1/2-Inch Notched Trowel

    • mason's trowel
      Pointing Trowel

    • miter saw
      Miter Saw fitted with diamond blade

    • angle grinder
      Grinder fitted with diamond blade

    Shopping List

    1. Cultured stone to veneer the kitchen box. Available at home centers and stone yards. You will need a few boxes of corner pieces, as well as flat face pieces, sold by the square foot. Get about 10 percent more than you need to account for trims, cuts, and broken pieces.

    2. Pressure-treated 2x4s to build the frame for the box. You will need 15 to 20 10-foot pieces.

    3. 3/4-inch pressure-treated plywood to sheathe the frame. Get four 8-by-4-foot sheets.

    4. 2½-inch ceramic-coated deck screws to hold the frame together.

    5. 2-inch ceramic coated deck screws to attach the plywood to the frame.

    1¼-inch ceramic coated deck screws to build plywood boxes for the cabinets.

    6. Construction adhesive.7. Metal post standoffs to act as feet and raise the frame off the ground, preventing moisture from wicking up into the wood. You will need a total of 12.

    8. 15-pound builder's felt to provide a moisture barrier between the mortar and the wood.

    9. ½-inch staples

    10. Wire lath to create a base on which the mortar hangs.

    11. Stainless-steel roofing nails to attach the lath to the plywood.

    12. Type S mortar (or one labeled "for veneer stone") to affix the stone to the box. Get four or five 80-pound bags.

    13. Stainless-steel doors (optional) to finish cabinets. Make sure they come on a face frame.