August 11, 2015: Stonework

 

patioAfter the stone patio was installed, we were anxious to add a stone facade to the foundation walls. But we waited a month to let the budget recover before beginning the next phase of our curb appeal improvement. In the meantime we shopped around  for cultured stone and ended up ordering it from a home improvement/builders’ supply store in our town. Whenever possible we try to use local businesses.

The stone was delivered the last week of July and we started the project a few days later. We scrubbed the foundation walls and gave them two coats of a clear sealer. Next Mr. MT Nest added a scratch coat of mortar. Cultured stone is much lighter than natural stone, so it can be installed using mortar.

Mr. MT Nest was the stone mason and I was in charge of design…that is, picking the stones. I chose the stones so as to vary their color and size, while finding stones that fit well into the available space. The foundation walls we were covering with stone are separated by decks, so we took this project one section at a time. We started working on a less-visible part of the house since this was our first time installing this type of product.

This was the first section we worked on. I forgot to take pictures of the process, but this photo shows the finished work. We need to paint the yellow propane line to match the house color, but I am loving the improvement that the stone makes to the look of our house. We installed the stone partially under the decks but not all the way. We plan to install lattice at the bottom of the decks so the walls under the decks won’t be visible.

stone 1

We started working on the second section by taping metal flashing at the bottom of the siding using painters tape to hold it in place temporarily. The flashing will prevent water damage over time. This wasn’t necessary for the first section of wall that we completed because the siding there has adequate overhang.

Then we installed corner pieces of stone (by the steps in the photo below.) Next we installed the interior corner pieces where the two angled walls meet (This corner is NOT a right angle by the way. It’s closer to 120ₒ.)

)stone 2 stone 3

Mr. MT Nest placed a 2 x 4 at the bottom of the wall to keep the stone off of the ground and to give us a level base to work from. The wood was left in place overnight to allow the mortar to set completely.

When we landscape the area in front of the stone, we’ll be adding additional soil depth so the “empty” portion where the boards were sitting will be covered with soil.

stone 4

missing

stone 6

We left the walls beside the steps to be done last. We knew these areas would be the most challenging areas to work in.

 

stone 7

stone 8

What a difference the stone foundation walls make in the curb appeal of the house! Next we’ll be adding lattice under all the decks.
Before: 1 year ago the house looked like this

stone 9

After: (Please ignore the lattice panels leaning against the front deck awaiting staining and installation under the decks and the beginnings of our autumn exterior décor. Still I think the improvement is evident.)

stone 10

I am sooooo anxious to be finished with these improvements so we can focus on landscaping. I find the slow progress toward achieving our vision for the exterior of the house very frustrating.

Have you had a similar experience? Have you recently made any exterior improvements to your home?

 

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