The success of your stone cladding installation isn’t all about aesthetics. It greatly depends on the quality of your installation methods.
Before you order your stone, engage a professional and get installing, take a look at these top stone cladding installation tips.
Expert stone cladding installation tips
The following tips are helpful for when installing natural stone cladding, however, they do not replace the manufacturer’s advice and professional installers recommendations.
Refine your order
To ensure your stone cladding installation runs as smoothly as possible, it is important you refine your order with the supplier. Beyond confirming the stone you’d like to order, it may be advisable to purchase 5-10% more stone pieces than actually required. This can cover any cuts or breakage that occurs during transport or installation.
You’ll also want to ensure you order corner pieces or capping if relevant to your stone cladding project. These pieces can make a significant difference to the overall look and finish of your stone wall.
Making sure you refine your order will assist in bringing your project on time and enhancing the aesthetics of your wall.
Engage the right people
Engaging a professional and experienced team to carry out your stone cladding installation can mean the difference between an average and an impressive result. Taking the time to research your contractors including their experience, past projects and references will be well worth it.
If you’re unsure of who the right people are to undertake your stone cladding project, speak to the stone supplier or your design team.
Build a solid foundation
One of the major elements of any stone cladding installation is the foundation, especially when using a natural stone material.
Whether you’re stone cladding the façade of a building or a garden retaining wall, a solid footing is necessary to support the wall. Equally important is the substrate the cladding is adhered to.
For natural stone cladding, it is imperative you build a structural substrate from materials such as concrete, blockwork or brick. It needs to be even and true with a variance of no more than 2mm every 4m. In some instances, this substrate may require engineering to ensure it is structural sound and appropriate for the application.
If you are building a new concrete wall, you need to allow the concrete to cure for 6 weeks before installation. This wall should have a wood float finish and be free of any laitance, such as cement or aggregate.
If you are using an existing concrete wall, be sure it clean it thoroughly of all laitance and confirm it has a keyable surface.
Prepare the surface
Regardless of your substrate construction, the surface must be clean and free of any contaminating materials such as oils, waxes, paint, curing compounds or loose debris. This is essential for the stone cladding to adhere optimally to the surface.
Lay out your stone
It pays to take your time when commencing a stone cladding installation project. When working with a Free Form stone or a Linear pattern it may be worthwhile laying out your stone pieces on the ground before you start adhering the cladding to the substrate.
As the markings, texture and colour tones of natural stone have been formed over thousands of years, they vary in appearance from piece to piece. No two pieces of natural stone cladding will be exactly alike. This variation is not a flaw. The natural imperfections and variations are the point.
Laying out the stone cladding can help you arrange the pieces based on the size, colour and textural variation to create the most visually pleasing configuration.
We also suggest blending the stone pieces from all the pallets delivered.
Use a quality adhesive
To ensure a successful cladding installation and longevity, proper natural stone adhesive needs to be used. There are many reputable companies with a wide range of adhesive products available to suit your stone cladding type and individual application.
The stone supplier and installer will be able to provide recommendations for quality adhesive manufacturers.
When working with adhesives, ensure the back of each stone piece is clean and free of dust. It should be applied onto your substrate with a notched trowel and be of at least a 2mm bed thickness. Each stone should also be fully back buttered before adhering to the surface.
Working in controlled, manageable areas will help ensure the adhesive isn’t allowed to skin over prior to bedding the stone. Once applied, any residual adhesive should be sponged off immediately and the stone cladding should be left undisturbed for at least 24 hours.
Protect your stone
Cleaning and sealing the surface is recommended after you’ve completed the stone cladding installation. This is best done by a professional using high quality penetrating sealers.
Sealing is an essential step in protecting the beauty of natural stone cladding and ensuring its longevity. It is particularly important in external applications or those in a wet environment such as a pool or bathroom.
The supplier can provide recommendations for suitable sealing products for your individual project and chosen material.