It’s kind of funny when you think about it. Our earliest ancestors built stone arches and various other architectural elements because stones were plentiful and cheap. Then once we became civilized, stone became more and more expensive until people had to stop using it just because of the high price. Luckily manufactured stone was invented and now we can add a little style and substance to our outdoor projects without breaking the bank.
Before you begin to install your manufactured stone onto your arch you will have to gather a few items.
You will need:
- Tile sealant
- Grout bag
- Four inch grinder
- Chipping hammer
- Acrylic modified thin set
- Measuring tape
- Pointing trowel
- Mason’s Trowel
- Nylon brush
- Safety goggles
Once you have everything together you can start going through these steps:
- Lay out all of the manufactured stone pieces under the arch. Check your manufactured stone corner pieces to make sure they have fully dried or “cured”. The corner pieces are always installed before the rest because they act as an anchor for them to tie into.
- Mark the center of the arch with a straight line using your pencil. Make sure your first piece is centered on that line and stagger the corner pieces with your first installation piece. Mark an outline of where the piece will go.
- Mix the acrylic modified thin set until it is stiff. It should remain sticky and reasonably hard to smear with a trowel. Give the back of the piece a thick coating and make sure it is consistent to fill in gaps. Lightly coat the place where you will be putting the piece for extra adhesion. Take care not to get any of the mixture onto the surface of your manufactured stones.
- Using the ladder put the piece into place under the arch. Lean into the piece as you apply it so that your body weight will help hold it in place. Keep pressure on the piece if you need to slide it from side to side so you don’t accidentally drop it. Step back and look at the piece for a few moments to make sure it is not sagging.
- Keep going through the 4th step until all the pieces are in place. Start cutting the pieces using a chipping hammer or the 4 inch grinder. Once you are finished you should let the stones sit for about 24 hours.
- Get your sponges and nylon brush along with a bucket of water. Start cleaning the pieces but be careful not to accidentally mark the surface. Once the pieces are clean you will have to wait for them to completely dry before continuing.
- Use the grout bag to start putting grout into the cracks between the stones. The grout should easily come out of the grout back but be thick enough to adhere to the underside of the arch. Avoid getting grout onto the surface of the stone as much as possible and wipe it off with a wet cloth when you do. Wait for the grout to dry before you start tooling it with trowels. When you have finished, wait 24 more hours before starting the next step.
- Seal the stones with masonry or tile sealant. The best way to apply the sealant is with a spray bottle. Keep applying the sealant until the sealant is no longer able to get through to the stone.