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. If your substrate is of poor quality, the end result will be compromised.

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 structurally 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. Remove any oils, waxes, paint, curing compounds or loose debris. This is essential for the stone cladding to adhere optimally to the surface.

Take a look at some stone feature wall inspiration here

Lay out your stone

Stone Wall Installation Tips 02
Stone cladding installation of a Crackenback feature wall by Ozsats

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.

The markings, texture and colour tones of natural stone have been formed over thousands of years. This means each piece will vary in appearance. 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. This will help 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, a proper natural stone adhesive needs to be used. There are many reputable companies with a wide range of adhesive products 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. A notched trowel should be used to apply the adhesive onto the substrate. The bed thickness should be of at least a 2mm. Fully back butter each stone 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. The stone cladding should then 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.

For more advice and inspiration regarding stone cladding, visit our Feature Wall section of the Learning Library