Step 3: Apply the Scratch Coat: Cover the Lath with Mortar

man covering the lath of a fireplace with motar to create a stone veneer surround
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Mix veneer mortar to the consistency of creamy peanut butter. With a finishing trowel, spread it over the lath, first using a downward motion to "fill" the cups, then building the surface to a thickness of ½ inch by using a side-to-side or fanning motion to spread more mortar over the first layer.
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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • staple gun
      Staple gun
    • hammer
      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).