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Unread 03-20-2008, 07:15 AM   #1
astrojeff
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exterior facade tile?

We have a log cabin that sits on top of a garage with a block foundation and block walls. I've been trying to figure out how to make it look nicer on a budget. A full stone facade looks to be a bit pricey and, I'm not exactly sure, but I think you need to have support clips in the blocks to hold onto the stone? I can't find a lot of info on how to do it. So I was thinking, wouldn't it be easy to just tile right onto the blocks. I'd like to do slate to match our hearth on the inside, but there might be freeze/thaw issues in KY? How about a slate-looking porcelain? Would it be easy to just thinset right onto the block wall? Would I need to worry about water getting into the blocks and freezing and the whole shebang spalling off? Is there some requirement for support clips on outdoor facades, or is tile thin enough so that it doesn't really matter? It's only really worth doing if I can do it cheaply and easily.

thanks, Jeff
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Unread 03-20-2008, 07:31 AM   #2
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Contact a concrete overlay guy, one who does thin stamped overlays...he may be able to give you suggestions on how to beautify your concrete wall. IMO a sprayed-on splatter-texture, coloured to your wish, would be economical. He'll know what I mean...
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Unread 03-20-2008, 07:34 AM   #3
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Have you considered manufactured stone? Looks good, with less cost than real stone. It attaches to the wall using a metal lath nailed to the wall, then covered in a scratch coat of mason's mortar, followed by setting the stone onto the scratch coat with more mason's mortar. You finish by tuck-pointing the joints.
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Unread 03-20-2008, 08:33 AM   #4
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Actually I had considered doing engineered stone. It was always in the millwork section at Lowes, which is perpetually absent of helpers (they run when they see you approach), and I always wondered how it was installed. That would be very pretty, and is a consideration.

BUT... my understanding is that even the engineered stuff runs at least $10sf. After I did my slate hearth and fireplace surround inside (see picture), I thought how easy it was and how nice it would look outside, and was only $2/sf at Home Depot. Slate-looking porcelain should be similarly priced. And easier to cut than a thick facade? Or flagstone or something that might hold up to the elements more? I have downspouts and electrical boxes that I'd have to cut around or slide the facade underneath, which would be easier with tile. I'm in coalfield Kentucky country, so I can't expect to get a lot of return out of my investment, and I have to do everything myself because it's so hard to find decent contractors here (and I don't have lots of cash anymore with my wife going back to school).

Do you think one would install tile with a nailed-down lath, just like facade stone, or would thinset be enough because tile weighs less? Has anyone ever done this before? If not, maybe there is some good reason why nobody does this...
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Unread 03-20-2008, 10:01 AM   #5
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Jeff, my current house has blue slate on a porch (on a mudbed on plywood subfloor on wood joists) that has been there for forty years and looks great despite Michigan freeze/thaw. It's mostly protected by roof overhang but gets some blown rain/snow. Yours is similarly deck-protected. Based on the parallels, I doubt you have anything to worry about from Ky. freeze/thaw.
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Unread 03-20-2008, 07:17 PM   #6
ceramictec
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I would do a natural stone veneer. it would look really good on that house.

you can add wall ties onto the block.

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Unread 08-11-2009, 05:41 PM   #7
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I'm back!

OK, I'm back on this project after a long hiatus. Took me a while to find decent stone around here at a decent price. I have acquired 200 square feet of thin veneer sandstone (first picture below). This stuff is 1/2" to 1" thick, so I'd like to just stick it straight to the block like tile. So I see that there is Laticrete 254, which supposedly can be used to stick tile directly to smooth block and concrete walls in an outdoor environment (second picture shows my garage area). Also, the Laticrete website shows using #9235 waterproofing membrane on the base--when is that necessary? The garage is just bare block inside, uninsulated, half-underground, and very moist inside from the underground portion.

So the guy at the stone yard that I got the stone from said to forget all that Laticrete thinset and just use a rich mortar made from sand and portland cement. They had a bunch of examples in their yard that they had done that way. It seems like when I hear of simple mortar/mud being used, there's always lath involved. Is it sticky enough to do without lath, and if not, can I use the 254 like a simple tile job? I'm aiming for a balance between cheap and easy. Can all of the possible mortars be left in the spaces like grout, since I'll be pointing, not floating the grout, as I go along.

The stone is pretty flat, but I'm assuming there will be more backbuttering involved? 1/2"x1/2" trowel? I've also never done a pattern with broken randomly sized pieces--do you put the big ones down first and then fill in with smaller ones?

I also figured the outside corners would be staggered with alternating stones sticking out, but I'll need to cut a straightish line on the edge pieces--how best to cut? I have a small wet saw but I don't want to kill it--I could make a jig to make a shallow score cut and use the score and snap method.

Expansion joints: I'm thinking maybe on the long run over the garage door and also over the side door (on the far wall not shown in picture)? Or do I need them at all if I'm going directly onto masonry, which should have similar expansion to the stone? Most of the major areas other than above the doors are less than 6 or 7' in any direction. You can see that I have blocked off the uphill wedge of the garage wall with wood and wood lath to hide the shallow part of the wall and make less stone work for me to do under the deck.

By the way, I will only be putting stone to the top of the block--I'll do some sort of wood siding on the wood space between the wall and the deck above. The rest of the house has log facade siding.

Any other advice or ideas on this job? I've done lots of tile, but not like this. I'm sure I can figure it out, but any advice and help with the above questions would be much appreciated!
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Unread 08-11-2009, 06:04 PM   #8
ceramictec
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Welcome back Jeff,

I would plan on nailing up some diamond lath or plan on doing some type of "wall ties" to anchor and hold the stone to the CBU.
if you don't there's a chance the stone might come down if it breaks bond or who knows.

my plan for your wall would be:

1) attach diamond wire
2) brown coat/scratch coat
3) set stones with a sand/portland mix
Quote:
the guy at the stone yard that I got the stone from
said just use a rich mortar made from sand and portland cement
4) point joints.
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Unread 08-12-2009, 12:06 PM   #9
astrojeff
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Thanks Brian! I've seen wall ties when they were built into the block wall. I'm assuming you can use a powder actuated fastener to apply them as well? Are ties used in addition to lath and scratch coat, or in lieu of doing that? I can't see how you'd do a lath and scratch coat with ties in place... Seems like ties and direct-stick thinset with no scratch coat would be a lot easier. Is a thin stone falling off an 8' wall really that likely or dangerous? I'm more worried about getting struck by lightning...


I'm trying to find the easiest way of doing this , obviously. Also, the houses in my area are mostly junk--I'm trying to improve mine a bit above the competition, but I don't want to price myself out of the market here with super posh construction that nobody here will care about or be willing to pay extra for. It's the unfortunate truth of living in this area. I'd still like to see how the lath or wall tie method compares with the direct method using a stickier, manufactured thinset like I'm used to with floor tiling, but I'm willing to try something new especially if mixing my own mortar with sand/portland can save some money despite the extra expense of ties or lath.
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Unread 08-12-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
ceramictec
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yes do one or the other.
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Unread 08-12-2009, 08:03 PM   #11
matman
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Hi Jeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
I'm trying to find the easiest way of doing this , obviously.
Jeff I'm gonna pass on some info to you that was just given me the other day at my local Daltile. This was a conversation I had with the manager and I personally haven't verified it. Daltile has a new line of engineered stone and the installation procedure is Hydroban over cbu exterior thinset namely Laticrete 254 or 255 set the stone directly to that and done. I believe your block wall could be considered cbu quality.It is intended for exteriors and the stones do have finished end pieces. Porcelain tile is gonna be cheaper.

Like I said I haven't checked it out personally but since you're so close to installing, if you have a Dal within range it might be worthwhile to check it out.

As far as the lath install is concerned, I haven't done one yet but have seen them. To be perfectly candid I'm not impressed with the lath idea unless you wanna hang some mud to flatten the wall. I think the lath/mud substrate you build isn't as good as the block wall that is already in place. Waterproof the block and bond directly to that why don't you?
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Unread 08-12-2009, 10:25 PM   #12
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Matt: I'm not familiar with a Daltile in the area, but what you're describing sounds like the info on the Latricrete site here. I think the #9235 membrane is basically the same idea as Hydroban. I already have my stone though. I looked into cultured stone but it wasn't exactly cheap, and shipping to my house is quite difficult since I live in the middle of walmartland nowhere, so when I found the local sandstone at $435/ton or approx $2/sf, I jumped on the opportunity and bought it. it's thin enough (again, <1") and from a local enough source that I can do multiple trips with it in my station wagon. And it's thin enough so that I feel like I'll be placing tile, not laying stone. I bought 1 ton. Finding a source I could afford and ship myself was also part of what took me so long to get started on this project.

The block wall is flat, and there are two 2-story downspouts that run down it with a couple inches to spare, so the thinner I can keep this job, the better. Doing a lath & scratch coat without much clearance and without experience in doing so makes me a little nervous. I definitely don't mind putting down some ties, though, if it will help keep the tile more secure. I'll have some time to think it over while I'm shipping the stone and finishing my current project. I may try to contact a Laticrete tech support person and ask some folks around here for some insight on the comparison of methods.
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Unread 08-12-2009, 11:01 PM   #13
matman
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Jeff
I saw the thread yesterday and I missed the part where you already bought.I think the lath is good if you want to flatten or if you were tacking it to wood sheathing of course, but that isn't your situation. I talked to a man at a local masonry yard and he talked of nailing up lath also, but I think that was assuming the substrate was wood. A builder and friend of mine installed some on his own garage, wood substrate, and I was over to check it out. Looked like an exterior Jersey mud job to me.

To me if you nail lath to a cement wall you're building a thin cement facade on an already very thick cement wall and then thinsetting to the thin facade. What's the point? For the job to stand the test of time its all about the bond maintaining its integrity and I can't see how the lath is gonna help in any significant way in this case. I could be wrong.

When it comes to bonding with a thin bed of mortar I'd be more inclined to speak with thin bed guys like Laticrete rather than going with sand and cement as suggested. Call Laticrete they 'll set you straight.

Come back and put up some pics.
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Unread 08-13-2009, 09:02 AM   #14
astrojeff
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I agree, it does seem like adding diamond lath and scratch coat to the block wall is redundant if you already have a block wall--of course it's completely necessary for wood, or to flatten a surface though. The only other reason for it that I can imagine is if you are using a pure sand/portland mix to set stone, then you might get better bonding to a fresh scratchcoat--first of all because concrete bonds better to green concrete, and second because the scratch coat literally has scratches etched into the surface that physically hold the next layer of concrete mortar. I'd be afraid to use sand/portland mortar alone to bond vertically to block. But if you're using a specialty thinset product, it outta have the stickiness built in to bond directly to block, just like it would bond to CBU.
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Unread 08-13-2009, 03:26 PM   #15
matman
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First off Jeff the info that Brian (ceramictec) passed to you is the same info I got from the masonry yard on these thin stone installs. The info is accurate and I wanna say that I'm not disagreeing with Brian, its the method that I think leaves something to be desired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
I can imagine is if you are using a pure sand/portland mix to set stone, then you might get better bonding to a fresh scratchcoat--first of all because concrete bonds better to green concrete, and second because the scratch coat literally has scratches etched into the surface that physically hold the next layer of concrete mortar.
True enough Jeff but you're still not home yet.The scratch coat isn't gonna want to bond to the block wall according to that logic and then you've got an install that's hanging from the lath alone. Could be done, its done that way over wood, but I still don't think that hanging lath is as good as the block itself. Also, I don't think the install is gonna make it on sand/portland alone. Its a very thin application for sand and portland without at least an additive. Maybe one of the mud men on site could cast an opinion on that.

Thinsets are exterior rated for a reason Jeff. Call Laticrete, see what they have to say, they can tell you a whole lot more than I can. I'm just giving you a few thoughts to iron out before the install.
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