man securing metal lath over the felt of a fireplace to create a stone veneer surround
Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Step 2: Secure metal Lath Over the Felt

One side of metal lath has cuplike protrusions that keep mortar in place. When installed, this side should face forward, with the "cups" facing up; it will feel rough to the touch when you run your hand down the wall but smooth in the opposite direction. Nail horizontal lengths of lath directly into the wall's framing on the front of the fireplace, overlapping each piece 2 inches or more and spacing the nails 6 inches apart. Then bend the lath around the sides of the fireplace, using a scrap piece of wood to help if needed, and nail it to the framing on the front and side walls to keep it in place and prevent the mortar from cracking.
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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • staple gun
      Staple gun
    • hammer
    • flat finishing trowel
      Finishing trowel
    • notched trowel
      Tiling trowel with 3/8-inch notch
    • angle grinder
      Grinder fitted with a diamond masonry blade
    • brick trowel
      Brick trowel
    • brick hammer
      Brick hammer
    • grout sponge
      Grout sponge or spray bottle
    • grout bag
      Grout bag
    • masonry striking tool
      Masonry striking tool
    • Whisk Broom
      Whisk broom

    Shopping List

    1. Stone veneer. Get about 20 percent more than you need to cover your fireplace, to accommodate fit and breakage.

    2. Builder's felt. It acts as a moisture barrier between the mortar and your walls to prevent water damage.

    3. Metal lath to install over the felt. It keeps the mortar in place, creating a base for the stone veneer.

    4. 3/8- or ½-inch staples.

    5. 15/8 -inch galvanized roofing nails.6. Veneer mortar. It contains special additives to create a strong bond between the stone veneer and the surface to which it's attached.

    7. Plastic sheeting. Tape it to your walls, floor, and hearth to protect them while you work.

    8. Painter's tape.

    9. Old drop cloth (optional).