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Old 09-24-2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


I hired some masons to install stone veneer on either side of our garage. The idea is to create two columns 33"x22"x12' high. Last week, when they laid the scratch coat, I began to have some concerns. They asked a lot of questions they should have known the answer to. I worked construction all my life. I was not comfortable with their questions.

The side they started setting the stone on was begun two days ago. I went out today to check on how it looked and I saw one stone loose. It came right off. Then I started checking other stones in that area. And several popped right off.

Yesterday I told them I thought they were mixing the mortar too dry and that they needed to butter more on so that the mortar would ooze out of the perimeter when pressing it on. I later saw them filling in the voids around the stone after it was set. More concerns.

When I took a masonry chisel to the mortar that stuck to the scratch coat (I didn't want it to bond any further) more stones came loose. When I removed the mortar from the stone pieces, some came off in full sections with only a slight tap. Where's the adhesion?

I purchased the materials according to manufacturer's specs. The guys came along and suggested mixing the mortar with portland cement and adding a bonding agent, which the MFG. spec stuff already had in it. They said in their experience the stone would bond forever. What could I say? They were supposed to be the pros.

Now I'm concerned the one side that is already grouted in might one day fall off as I have no way of checking it without possibly causing a rock fall. The stone was $1500. I don't want to lose it. The other side only had grout on the top 1/4. That's the side with the falling stone. I don't want them to come in and tell me the grout will take care of the problem but I'm thinking they might.

So my questions are, could the mortar still be in a bonding phase after two days?

Why had that one come loose (there was space between the stone and mortar) and why did the others come off with only a very light hand pull?

Is it feasible the mortar will eventually bond to the scratch coat or do I need to withhold payment until it's done right?

Do you think the side that's already been grouted in will hold? How could I check that?

Thanks in advance,
Julie

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:04 PM   #2
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


I just went out to brush some dust off the stone. Three more pieces fell off. This was around the corner from where the other ones were falling off. We have a 8'x16' garage door that weighs 513 pounds. It creates a lot of vibration when the safety kicks in. And a bit less when the GDO starts. The vertical rails are on the same wall as the front face of the columns.

I'm worried.

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Old 09-24-2013, 03:27 PM   #3
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Worried? I don't blame you----one of the masons will be along soon---
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:48 PM   #4
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Fingers crossed we don't have to take it all down.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:37 PM   #5
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


Let me make sure I understand, the stone is falling off on it's own, or when you're pulling on it by hand? Or both?

I's not uncommon for the stone to be relatively loosely bonded for the first day or so, or until they're grouted, but they certainly shouldn't fall off the wall without some other outside force effecting them.........
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:45 PM   #6
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


You see this kind of stone falling off everywhere. I can think of two places off the top of my head (both strip malls) and now another (apartment compex) where the stuff is falling off.

This is not the traditional use of the word "veneer". Plus it is not the traditional use of the word "stone".

Why do people install this crap anyway? I think it is more expensive than a brick veneer?

If you want a stone veneer, get some stone and do a stone veneer.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:58 PM   #7
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You see this kind of stone falling off everywhere. I can think of two places off the top of my head (both strip malls) and now another (apartment compex) where the stuff is falling off.

This is not the traditional use of the word "veneer". Plus it is not the traditional use of the word "stone".

Why do people install this crap anyway? I think it is more expensive than a brick veneer?

If you want a stone veneer, get some stone and do a stone veneer.
I agree that a true depth stone veneer is superior, but it oftentimes costs 2-3 times what the adhered veneer costs, IF there's already a ledge in place to support it, which I doubt is the case in the OP's situation.

Regardless, I have thin adhered stone (both cultured and natural) that have been in place for 15+ years with no issues. I've seen cultured stone here from the early 70's that's still in place w/o issues as well. In the right situations, it makes fiscal sense to install it, as long as it's done properly........
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:42 AM   #8
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


The guys started off by building a temporary ledge at the bottom and then used spacers between the stones as they worked their way up. (The manufacturer suggested doing the corner pieces first then working your way down with the flat pieces.)

Yesterday morning I went out to take a look at it and noticed a piece on the bottom looked like it had separated. I literally just touched it and it fell off the wall. I lightly checked the surrounding pieces. The piece above the one that fell off was also loose and came off easily. I found a couple of others like this.

From there I tried to salvage the pieces that fell off and knocked off the mortar from the back. But on some pieces the mortar stuck to the scratch coat. Being as careful as I could, I lightly tapped from the side to loosen the mortar from the scratch coat. That was enough to loosen even more pieces.

I decided to leave it alone until I heard from the mason (still haven't). They are not coming back until Saturday to finish. So I did some cleanup. They left the area a mess. I took a mason's brush to sweep away dust and sediment off the face of the stone and three more pieces fell off at the bottom, on the face perpendicular to the face where the other stones had fallen off.



Everything I read or saw about setting the stone to the scratch coat showed mortar oozing out from the perimeter at the back of of each stone. This picture shows what they were doing. You can see space around the perimeter between the stone and the scratch coat.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:47 AM   #9
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at least you haven't paid them imo, it shouldn't be easy to remove properly installed veneer even after 1 day w/o grouting having taken place what's the weather like - hot, hotter, or hottest ?

you haven't yet paid them yet, right ?
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:42 AM   #10
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at least you haven't paid them imo, it shouldn't be easy to remove properly installed veneer even after 1 day w/o grouting having taken place what's the weather like - hot, hotter, or hottest ?

you haven't yet paid them yet, right ?
No, we haven't paid them. They aren't done yet.

It's been in the 50's overnight and sunny in the high 60's during the day. The area where most of the stone fell off gets direct sunlight for about 4-5 hours though.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:17 AM   #11
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I think you need to stop messing with the wall until the mason can come out. First thing I'm gonna say if I'm him is why did you go start yanking stones off my work before it was properly set and dried.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:53 AM   #12
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I think you need to stop messing with the wall until the mason can come out.
I have.

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First thing I'm gonna say if I'm him is why did you go start yanking stones off my work before it was properly set and dried.
And I'm gonna say they weren't yanked off, they fell off, which the first few pieces did. And there's no way brushing dust off the stone should have caused the stone to fall off.

Now, did vibration from the garage door create any of this? Possibly. But if they wetted the surfaces a bit, mixed the mortar a bit wetter, buttered the backs of the stone properly, and set them like I've seen commercial masons do on the jobsite, maybe we wouldn't be in this mess.
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:51 PM   #13
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Let's see what 'itsreallyconcrete' 'Jomama' or Tscarburo has to say---those three have mortar if their veins.
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Old 09-25-2013, 04:14 PM   #14
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


People that know it all from the book on a subject should know how to hire a contractor and should not get in the middle without any real experience.

Readers never know what the verbal instructions on the appearance were since there can be a lot of variations with adhered veneer or any veneer.

Concrete products (coatings, bedding, grout and mortar) take time to cure to reach something near the end product performance.

Julie, you have gotten into the middle so let the contractor you hired (with references, I assume) complete the job and withhold full payment to see how it performs without tearing it apart.

Dcik
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Old 09-25-2013, 04:23 PM   #15
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


First let me say I have no experience in this area whatsoever.

I have done all of three tile projects. With each I used a notched trowel. If this were tile and I saw those horizontal lines left in the mortar, I would assume the lines were from the trowel, and think that the mortar had dried before the tile was set, causing it not to adhere properly.

I don't know if this is relevant or not.

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