Step 10: Install the Header Stones

man installing the header stones to create a stone veneer fireplace surround
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Press the stone firmly into place on the top-left part of the header. Wiggle it back and forth slightly, and stop pressing when you can feel the stone touch the top of the scratch coat. Mortar should ooze from all sides of the stone as you do this. Repeat with the remaining header stones.

Tip: Don't try to wipe wet mortar off the face of cast stone—you'll end up pushing it deep into the stone's surface pores, where it will cure and create blotches and stains that are impossible to remove. Instead, let the mortar dry and brush it off with a whisk broom.
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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).