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Old 09-25-2013, 06:00 PM   #16
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


It looks like they literally "scratched" their scratchcoat, which is good.

From everything you've mentioned, I think you're on the right path. The mud was too tight, and they likely didn't use enough of it. There's typically no reason to need shims or spacers with the correct mud/mortar and application, and they should have easily been able to lay those stone from the top down.

That said, once it's grouted it will likely never be an issue in your lifetime.......

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Old 09-25-2013, 07:51 PM   #17
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


Tell Hose A and Hose B not to come back and don't pay them.

I'm not even sure why they try to stagger their joints. It looks like such crap, they may as well just get stone all the same size and have a stack bond all the way up.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
It looks like they literally "scratched" their scratchcoat, which is good.

From everything you've mentioned, I think you're on the right path. The mud was too tight, and they likely didn't use enough of it. There's typically no reason to need shims or spacers with the correct mud/mortar and application, and they should have easily been able to lay those stone from the top down.

That said, once it's grouted it will likely never be an issue in your lifetime.......
They scratched the scratch coat because I handed them my scarifier and told them to do it. It was almost too late because the mortar at the bottom was almost set.

When I saw them taking a jointing tool to fill in the voids behind the pieces I thought, "This is going to take them forever." (We retired foreman types think like that. ) Just to set the stones took them 40 hours for the two columns.

You don't see a lot of this in commercial construction, which I mostly worked in my career, but you do see a lot of masonry work. After a while you get used to how things are done. This didn't seem right from the start. They should have laid the corners first and not cut any of them, then worked top down. But they built it like it was a brick wall, starting from the bottom and fashioning up a temporary brick ledge.

The masons finally called back last night. They seemed unfazed that some stones fell off and said not to worry. They would take care of it when they come back Saturday. I don't know how to take that. If I got a call from a customer saying something I installed was falling I'd be freaking.

Thanks for your help, and especially for the reassurance the stones will hold. That some fell off wasn't much of a concern for me, outside of the doubt more would fall later.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:29 AM   #19
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The Stone Veneer Is Falling Off


The stones should have be beaten apart with a hammer. If they are falling off or can be pulled off, there are issues. Did they rinse/brush the backs of the stones off? Are they using a type S and any bonding agent?

Aesthetics aside, sticking fake rock isn't rocket science.
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:10 PM   #20
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The stones should have be beaten apart with a hammer. If they are falling off or can be pulled off, there are issues. Did they rinse/brush the backs of the stones off? Are they using a type S and any bonding agent?

Aesthetics aside, sticking fake rock isn't rocket science.
They took the stones, buttered them and stuck them on. Then they inserted 1/2" wood blocks in the joints. They started making the blocks with a coping saw. I gave them a small panel saw to use. When I realized they were going to place the wood blocks everywhere, I went down to my workshop and cut up about 100 or so for them.

I bought a stone veneer mortar that had a bonding agent in it. It was spec'd by the mfg. They asked for bonding agent too so I bought a couple of gallons. They also asked for portland cement. I asked them if they meant type S and they said. "No, regular portland cement. It will really bond the stones."

You're right about this not being rocket science, almost 30 years ago I did an interior wall in our house and didn't have any problems with it and I did it a lot faster than these guys. I honestly don't think they have ever worked with veneer. They boss claimed he's done entire houses with it but he didn't do any of the work here.

So far, no more signs of falling stones.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:02 AM   #21
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As a rule, I would trust a stucco guy to do adhered veneer more than a stone mason, even though the mason will have a better eye for the coursing. Adhered veneer is simply the finish coat of a 3-coat stucco system and should be treated (detailed and flashed) as such.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:38 AM   #22
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Have you read all the directions on the bag of mortar? It should give the set time or cure time, (or wait time). Sometimes they will give what the texture should be like when mixed, i.e. like whipped cream, or like pudding, or some like consistency. My son in law did some thin, irregular, rocks, some were large and heavy, and they wanted the scratch coat dampened. Only needed a shim on the largest. By morning next day you would need a 2 pound hammer to get them off. If these guys are working on a staging, ask them to step back and admire their work.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:03 AM   #23
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Directions as per the manufacturer (my comments in red):

Mixing
Step 1. Mixing of Veneer Stone Mortar can be accomplished in a power mixer, or by hand in a wheelbarrow, mortar box or similar container.
They mixed it in a 5-gallon bucket. I offered them my wheelbarrow and mortar hoe but they declined.
Gradually, add approximately 1 gallon of clean, potable water to the contents of this bag and mix thoroughly. If mix is too stiff, add small amounts of additional water to produce a workable mixture resembling a stiff batter. Use care to avoid a soupy mix.

Application

Step 2.
Typically, a 1/2" base coat of Veneer Stone Mortar is applied to the wall surface and allowed to set to the veneer stone manufacturer’s recommended period of time.
They laid just enough mortar on the mesh to cover the mesh. They waited until the next day to begin setting the stones.
Step 3.
Apply a 1/2" inch layer of Veneer Stone Mortar to the back of each stone
Step 4.
Firmly press the stone into the desired place, making sure the mortar squeezes out on all sides.
I could only find a few places where the mortar was squeezed out on the sides.

A grout bag or pointing trowel can be used to apply the mortar to the joints between stones. Avoid smearing mortar on the surface of the stones. When the mortar joints are “thumb print hard”, any desired tooling to compact the joints can be accomplished. Remove any excess from the stone before the mortar completely hardens. Use a soft bristle brush to clean the surface of the stones.
I gave them a grout bag. They tooled it right after the grout was laid.

This is the installation instructions from the stone veneer manufacturer: http://www.castnaturalstone.com/how-...one-veneer.php

I gave them instructions printed out from the website and a booklet from the manufacturer that detailed the installation.

I'm not criticizing them or trying to nit-pik their work. And I'm being as accurate as I can in describing the actual work.
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Old 09-27-2013, 12:10 PM   #24
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If they needed instructions, you were paying them for OJT (on the job training). I don't hire people that need instructions.
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:00 AM   #25
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Yeah, well what have you got to go on other than the worker's word? My SO's son-in-law recommended them, so I got that too. This is why I have done practically everything on this house. We still have lots of stone left we're going to put in another area. Guess who's doing that?
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:14 AM   #26
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If they needed instructions, you were paying them for OJT (on the job training). I don't hire people that need instructions.
Good craftsmen may not need instruction when they know their trade. Sometimes they do need specs for an unfamiliar product brand. to know how to apply their knowledge. If you ask a contractor why they do something such and such a way and their answer is, "Because I have always done it this way.", Beware, they may have always done it wrong. If they say, "It is the best way I know of.", or, "There are several ways depending on what they are doing.", they should be one of your top choices.
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Old 09-28-2013, 02:23 PM   #27
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Specifications are a given, even for a small job. A competent contractor looks them up himself and makes sure his employees understand the process.

One simple line in the contract deals with the whole issue, "All work to be done according to manufacturers requirements and recommendations".
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:53 PM   #28
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we quote many projects to condo boards, HOA's, & condo mgmt companies,,, they could care less about specs & often buy on price which is often to their disadvantage. this year we added ' All work to be done according to respective relevant DOT specs, Fed specs, Intl Conc Repr Institute, ACI, & manufacturer's materials sheet. " Directly below that is 'We suggest you accept our proposal based on your prior experience w/our Company. We further suggest you refuse proposals from contractors who do not include a guarantee of method, material, AND a 1yr guarantee of work. " eg, w/wtrproofing, we routinely offer a 'life of the structure' guarantee.

1 can do work according to mfg'ers instructions & the job still fails because an incorrect material was chosen

also thinking of adding " Pay us now OR pay us MORE later ! '
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:04 AM   #29
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The guys finished yesterday and later the boss came by to pick up the check. I talked to him about the fallen stones. He said, "Remember when I told you there should be a bonding agent in the mix?" "But that was after the scratch coat went on and the day before the stone work began. And I bought a few gallons of bonding agent for them before they started the stone work." He backed off.

And I also told him when his guys came to do the work, one of them asked for portland cement. So I bought that too, but it was after the stones that fell off were already in place. So I really don't know how much of this was the materials and how much was the methods they used.

But I do know nowhere could I find any text, pictures or videos that didn't recommend applying enough mortar to the back of the stones that it will squeeze out from all sides of the stone when applied. There wasn't one stone in place that didn't have some voids around the back perimeter.

Anyway, as long as the stone doesn't fall off, no harm done. We both love the new look and several neighbors have complimented us on it. There's another section in front I want to do that won't require scaffolding. Let's see how I do with that...
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:19 AM   #30
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Specifications are a given, even for a small job. A competent contractor looks them up himself and makes sure his employees understand the process.

One simple line in the contract deals with the whole issue, "All work to be done according to manufacturers requirements and recommendations".
Before I retired, I spent about 8 years in project management and estimating. I always included that work will be done according to MFG. specs but also plans and specifications and according to code. The GCs often required it. Of course the code thing can bite back, and it sometimes did. But that's the nature of the beast.

My problem in finding competent help, even though I've worked in the trades since 1974, has been the last time I worked on a residential job was in 1986. Every job since has been commercial projects. Most of the work I needed done was either too small or out of the scope of guys working commercial jobs. And being retired takes me a step further away every day.

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