a hand using a striking tool to carve the grout when creating a stone veneer fireplace surround
Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Step 16: Strike the Grout

Let the grout cure until pressing it with a finger leaves a dent without breaking through the surface (about 60 minutes). Using the striking tool, carve the grout to the desired shape and depth. (You can use a store-bought striking tool, a chopstick, or the end of a 1x1 that's been rounded with sandpaper, depending on the size of the joints.) Achieve a classic look by carving a grout profile that sits below the face of the stones; for a rustic effect, like the one we used, shape the grout to sit flush with the stones (known as an overgrout technique), then go over the grout lines with a whisk broom to create a natural-looking finish. Let the grout cure for at least 48 hours before using the fireplace.
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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).