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Color is an important part of the sculpting process and helps create the natural stone appearance of concrete. Concrete Stone Facing can be done using a concrete stain or a colored wash technique.
Concrete block, brick, and concrete masonry are engineered to meet structural properties that can be controlled and confirmed with testing. On the other hand, natural stone is Mother Nature’s work, and its structural properties vary.
A color wash is a popular way to create a rustic stone appearance on concrete stone veneer. The process is simple and can be done on new construction or existing structures such as retaining walls, patios and driveways. The concrete is stained after the mortar is cured, and the results are a beautiful, weathered appearance that looks like natural rock. This technique can also be used with masonry units such as stacked stone to add interest and texture to a wall or surface.
Before staining, the surface should be free of dust, dirt, and debris. This is particularly important for a color wash, as the nooks and crannies of the stones will be exposed. A clean surface will make sure the color is evenly distributed and looks good.
It is also a good idea to lightly tamp the mortar down with a hand trowel, removing any ridges or bumps in the surface. If the tamping is too heavy, it can cause the surface to crack. After tamping, the masonry should be allowed to cure for a few hours before scratching off excess mortar with a small pointing trowel. Scratching too soon can smear cement on the edges of the stones and compromise the integrity of the hidden mortar bed.
Once the masonry is ready, the joints will be filled with grout. It is a good idea to use a grout that is specifically designed for manufactured stone, as it will be less aggressive and will not etch the surface. If the grout is not yet stiff enough to be brushed or struck, it can be sprayed down with water to help it stiffen up. Once the grout is brushed, it will be ready to be sealed.
If the stone will be installed in a moisture-prone environment, such as near a pool or hot tub, it is a good idea to apply a silane-based, non-film forming, breather type masonry sealer. This will increase the durability of the stone and protect it from the chemicals in pool water, such as chlorine, that can discolor it.
A penetrating sealer is a must for any concrete surface to keep moisture out, extend the life of the material and protect against staining. Unlike topical sealers that only cover the top of the stone, actually penetrates into the substrate to bind and solidify it. This makes it resistant to water, oil and many chemicals. It also helps to densify pavers and brick, which increases their strength and future durability.
When applied, the sealer will fill in the pores of the stone and form a protective coating inside the stone that will help to prevent stains from water, oil and chemicals. It will also increase the longevity of the stone and help to keep it looking fresher longer. A good quality sealer will also help to resist the formation of efflorescence and help with spalling.
There are many different types of stone sealers on the market. Some are penetrating while others are film forming. Depending on the type of stone you have and your climate, you will need to determine which type of sealer is best for you. Most natural stone will require a penetrating sealer while manufactured stone like pavers and bricks can be sealed with a film-forming sealer.
Enhancer Shield is a one of a kind breathable, deep penetrating silane / siloxane water repellent for all types of masonry including concrete, pavers, brick, block, natural stone, manufactured stone and faux stone. It is VOC compliant, easy to use and will not change the sheen or texture of the material. It will not flake or peel and offers a permanent water, salt, oil, and stain protection. It enhances color and is available in both a water based (WB) and solvent based (SB) formula.
Prior to application, the surface must be completely dry. This can be verified with a moisture meter or by a simple moisture test using a shop vac. It is highly recommended that you allow the new surface to air dry before applying any product. Newly installed surfaces may take up to two days during warm weather to completely air dry and up to three days during cooler weather.
Manufactured stone is a strong, versatile, and visually appealing alternative to traditional brick and natural stone. It is created by pouring a concrete mix into a mold and often cast from real stones for a hyper-realistic look that can mimic the texture of natural stone. It is then hand-painted after the cement has set to achieve a polished look that can add color and dimension. It is a relatively light option that can be installed on top of concrete or CMU/Poured-in-Place walls, or as a dry-stack cladding over wood lath on studs. Like any wall, it will require maintenance to keep it looking good.
A major factor in maintaining the look of your manufactured stone veneer is to follow all instructions that come with it, both during installation and for cleaning. Following these instructions will help prevent damage to your wall and ensure that the cleaning process goes as smoothly as possible.
According to Hohmann and Barnard’s Regional Technical Sales Manager, Jayson Kellos, it is important to test any cleanser you are using on an extra piece of the material before applying it to your masonry project. This is because there are many different cleansers on the market with a variety of features including power, heat, and other additives that can cause damage to the surface of your wall. It is best to use the least aggressive cleanser possible so that your stone does not become damaged.
Kellos notes that another important factor in the maintenance of your manufactured stone is to make sure that any mortar that may sully the face of the masonry units is not wiped off. When this occurs, it is better to wait for the mortar to dry a bit and then remove it with a hammer or a scraper. If you choose to wipe the mortar away, it will smear and be difficult to remove once it has dried.
In the case of damaged or eroded areas of your stone veneer, repointing the grout with a new mortar bag and vinyl-infused patching mortar will help restore your wall. The mortar should be damp when applying, and a pointing tool should be used to work the material into the cracks of your stone veneer siding.
Concrete stone facing can be installed over a variety of substrates such as poured walls, concrete block, cinder block, wood frame, or ICFs. Installation procedures vary depending on the surface to be covered and whether a mortar joint will be used or not.
If you’re using mortar joints, begin by determining how much stone you will need to cover the wall (length x height). In addition, calculate the square footage needed for corner stones by multiplying the number of corners in your project by the length of each corner. Typically, corner stones are installed first followed by the flats.
Before installing, prepare the stone by sweeping the back side to remove any dirt and dust that may have built up. You can use a dry, stiff brush or a broom. If necessary, you can also lightly sand the surface with 120-grit sandpaper. If you’re using mortar joints, a mason’s chisel can be helpful to cut the edges of the stone and to make minor alternations.
When ready to install, lay out the stone pieces on the ground to check for sizing and colors, how they will be placed and if any trimming is needed. You can trim stone with a saw or masonry blade, but it is generally not recommended as this can change the appearance of the product. If you do need to cut stone, try to keep joint widths the same. This will help maintain a more natural appearance and minimize the visual distraction of long, unbroken joints.
Using the trowel, spread a thin coat of mortar on the back of the stone, or “back butter” it, approximately a half inch thick. This is important because it creates a bond between the stone and the mortar. Often, this step is neglected, even by seasoned installers. The key is to make sure the entire back of the stone is coated with mortar, even if you will not be seeing it.
Once the back butter is applied, place the stone on the wall and press firmly. You may need to wiggle the stone slightly to get a good initial bond. Do not wipe the stone as it will smear the mortar. Allow the mortar to set for 30 to 60 minutes or until it’s “thumb-print dry”.