Tips & tricks for the perfect stone veneer install

May 1, 2023

Stone veneer is a highly sought-after material in home design, whether as an exterior finish or a feature inside the home. It adds stone’s timeless and organic style, while being more affordable and practical than heavy, expensive quarried stone pieces.

Quality and method of installation vary depending on the stone veneer brand, but as always, proper installation is important for long-lasting, good-looking results. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need specialized skills or equipment.

Unlike stone veneer products that require highly-trained masons or purchasing and applying mortar – with the extra mess, ingredients and dry time that involves – Fusion Stone is a patented system of thin stone veneer that’s mechanically fastened. It’s installed using stainless-steel screws and starter strips.

Here are some tips and reminders to make install even more of a breeze.

Tools and materials:

There are just a few standard tools you need on hand for a Fusion Stone installation, namely a level, a tape measure and a drill. A circular saw or grinder with a masonry or diamond blade is also important to cut stones at the end of a course to the right size.

A few more helpful tips:

  • Remember, the wall surface must be covered in ½ inch plywood or 7/16 OSB substrate.
  • A code-approved, breathable vapour barrier must be used in exterior applications. Don’t forget flashing either.
  • Tin snips come in handy if you need to cut the starter strips down to size, such as if you’re covering a small column.
  • You DO NOT need to source screws or drill bits.

Quick trick to avoid extra math:

As every carpenter and contractor knows, “measure twice, cut once.” To know how much Fusion Stone you need, plug these numbers into the Project Planning Guide’s estimator:

  • Total height of the outside corners added together
  • Total width of the walls to be covered, plus the width above openings of doors and windows
  • Total surface area to be covered

Basic installation steps:

  1. Install OSB or substrate on any loadbearing surface.
  2. Install proper vapour barrier onto the surface.
  3. Screw in the first starter strip with stainless steel screws provided, place first corner pieces.
  4. Screw in stainless steel clips, then add the next piece of stone veneer and repeat.

Tips and tricks:

  • Where to begin: Start installing stones on all outside corners first, building each one up and then out as you proceed.

Ensure each starter strip is level before you begin and install the starter strip ¼ inch above grade to allow for drainage.

  • For a natural look: Mix stones from multiple packs, alternate stone lengths and avoid creating vertical joints of more than 8 inches and horizontal joints of more than 6 inches.
  • Ending a course: Stones in the middle of a course that end the row typically need to be cut down to size. Use a circular saw with a masonry blade or diamond blade.
  • Meeting soffits or other siding: If you don’t have room for a clip in the final row you may need to cut a groove in that stone.
  • Weather: As long as you can stand it, you can install Fusion Stone in any season or conditions. There’s no risk to the product in the cold or rain or heat.
  • Make use of resources:
    • Online installation guides have instructions. Print them out or pull them up on your phone for easy reference at the jobsite.
    • Don’t worry about stone placement, use the installation guide’s pattern for where to place clips and stones.
    • Use the visualizer to showcase the look to clients.
    • Review YouTube videos and FAQs for visual tips and tricks.
  • Perfect corners:
    • Alternate long and short corner pieces as you build up the outside corners.
    • For corners that are not 90 degrees, a mitre saw with a diamond or masonry blade is the way easiest to cut the stone to the appropriate angle.
    • For inside or inverted corners, ensure that there’s a consistent overlap of the stone from one wall over the other.

    If you’re not sure about something, get in touch.

    Fusion Stone is available at more than 1,500 dealers across Canada and the United States. Find a dealer here.