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How to Reface a Concrete Wall

Mark McCullough and Jenn Nawada work together to reface an ugly concrete wall with a thin stone veneer to better match the rest of the patio that surrounds it.

In this video, Mark McCullough and Jenn Nawada dress up a drab concrete wall with a stylish thin stone veneer.

Since the wall is in good condition, veneer is a great choice to make it look much nicer at a smaller price than just replacing the whole wall. Mark and Jenn work together to prep the wall, apply the stone veneer, and lay a stone cap.

Steps for Refacing a Concrete Wall:

  1. Clean up the wall. Grind the top down to the raw concrete to ensure good adhesion for the cap. Repeat down the wall for both sides. Do not grind down all the way flat. The low spots will help with adhesion.
  2. Spray down with water and brush clean.
  3. Use a notched trowel to spread modified thin-set mortar on a small section of the wall.
  4. Take a margin trowel to back-butter the stone and stick onto the wall where the mortar has been placed.
  5. Use chips of stone to place in between the stones. This will prevent sagging and let the stones set the way you intended. Once the stones are set you can pull them out.
  6. Use a flat jointer to add the joints.
  7. Spread mortar on the top. Pitch the mortar bed slightly towards the patio or backyard, this will prevent rainwater from pooling near the stair landing below.
  8. Add the stone cap.


Mark and Jenn refaced the concrete using a thin stone veneer. The material is Connecticut Fieldstone and was cut in a mosaic pattern for installation. The stone cap was made of 2” thick bluestone treads. Both were sourced by Plymouth Quarries.

To secure the thin stone to the wall and the bluestone to the top, Mark used a modified mortar. The mortar has an adhesive in it that helps the stone to stick to the wall.

The other tools Mark and Jenn used to reface the wall, including trowels, mallets, and the level, can all be found at home centers.