How to Rock an Interior Wall with Cultured Stone
An interior wall of drywall or plywood can with a few tools, some material and about a weekend(depending on job size), be turned into a conversational masterpiece. You can make a dramatic back splash in your kitchen or rock your entry way...just use your own imagination.
Materials: You will need...your choice of rock, sand, mortar "Type S", galvanized mesh wire, 1 1/4" roofing tacks, tarp or plastic to cover floor...you may need a grout bag(if you are going to have a mortar joint between the rocks), mortar "Type N" for grout and trim.Tools: You will need a wheel barrow, mixing hoe, shovel, trowel, mud board, gloves, level and broom.First cover floor with tarp or plastic to protect floor from splatter. Apply galvanized mesh wire with roofing tacks from stud to stud to ensure that wire is securely attached to the wall.Now it is time to make the mortar.
The recipe for mortar mix is 200lbs of sand (14 square shovels) per bag of mortar mix, 4 or 5 gallons of water. You can purchase sand in 100lb bags, which actually works out good when you are doing a small job mixing in a wheel barrow. It is recommended when using a wheel barrow to cut the recipe in half and only mix 1/2 of a bag of mortar mix at a time. Your mortar mix should be the consistency of cake batter.Scatter rocks and get a pattern in mind. Spread mortar with trowel over mesh wire a couple of feet at a time. Unless you are laying stackstone
, you can start at either the top or the bottom.Pick the rock that you want to place, spread mortar on back of the rock, not too much, about 3/8" to 1/2" bead of mortar. Too much adds more weight and rock wont stay on wall. Place in on the wall and apply pressure. Give a slight wiggle after pressure has been applied.
Allow 3 to 5 seconds for good contact and repeat. The reason for only applying the mortar a couple feet at a time is that the mortar on the wall needs to be fresh so that the mortar on the back of the rock will mesh with it.River Rock, Castle Stone and other kinds of rock require a 3/8" or 1/2" spacing between rocks for a mortar joint. Stack Stone stacks on top of each other and requires no mortar joint.
After wall has been layed. Wet grout bag, trowel bag 1/2 full of mortar. Twist like a cake decorator, bring point to wall and squeeze. Follow joint around rock getting it completely full, stopping to retwist grout bag as you go. Grout entire wall and give mortar about 1 hour(depending on temperature) to set up. Put on a pair of gloves and use your finger to wipe down all mortar joints. You want your mortar to be just below the rock. This will leave it smooth and give it a cleaned finished look. Sweep wall to remove any leftover dust. If needed you can add a piece of trim at the edge.