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How to Install a Stone-Veneer Fireplace Surround

Lightweight cast stones add rustic charm to any hearth, for a fraction of the cost of the real thing. In this video, senior technical editor Mark Powers shows how easy it is to dress up your fireplace

In this video, This Old House senior technical editor shows how to use stone veneer to get the cozy feel of a masonry fireplace without breaking the budget

Shown: Filedledge stone in Andante; Eldorado Stone.

1. Cover the fireplace surround with builder's felt. Work from the bottom up and overlap pieces by 2 inches.

2. Nail metal lath over the felt. Position it so the cups face up to catch the mortar.

3. Cover the wall with ½ inch of veneer mortar. After 20 minutes, comb the mortar with a notched trowel. Let the mortar dry overnight.

4. Create a design for the stones on a canvas, staggering shapes and sizes. Leave finger-width joints between stones.

5. Cut corner pieces by scoring the cut line with a grinder then striking them with a brick hammer.

6. Install the first pieces on the header above the fireplace opening. Then move to the sides of the fireplace opening, the sides of the surround, and finally the field. Work from the top down.

7. Spray the back of each stone with water, then butter it with mortar. Draw a furrow in the mortar with the tip of the trowel.

8. Press the piece in place and wiggle it to seal it to the scratch coat.

9. WIth all the pieces in place, clean the joints with a striking tool and a whisk broom. Let the mortar cure overnight.

10. Grout the joints with veneer mortar squeezed through a bag. Let the grout cure for an hour, then shape the joints and brush them for a natural look.