6 Easy Steps to Stone Wall Repair
Old stone walls are a charming feature of many historic homes, but from time to time, those stone walls might need a bit of repair. These six handy tips for stone wall repair can help you get the job done right the first time.
Restoring Stone Walls
Stone walls are built to last, but with the passage of time, even the best stone walls can shift or crumble. Restoring stone walls takes patience, skill, and a little bit of luck.
- Give your stone wall a good inspection. How many stones need to be replaced? Hairline cracks and other minor blemishes are probably okay, but any problems with weight-bearing stones warrants replacement. Keep in mind that large stones could be replaced with a few smaller stones, if that makes the job easier.
- Remove the stones. You might be able to pull out only the damaged portion of a stone and fill the section with a smaller piece. If you have to remove the whole thing, score it with a diamond blade saw, and then get to work with a hammer and chisel. Make sure the space is deep enough for the new stone.
- Match up the replacement. Find stones that match the color of your original stone wall. If you can get more of the original stone, great! If not, shop around until you find stones that match as closely as possible.
- Cut the stone. Have the stone cut by a masonry professional, or do it yourself with a diamond blade saw. The stone should fit into the wall with only a little space on all sides--just enough for the mortar. If you are using new, shiny stones, make them match by making uneven cuts. You could also grind the surface for a weathered look.
- Make it permanent. Talk to a masonry professional about which mortar is best to use for your wall. Apply it generously, set the stone firmly in place, and use shims to hold it level until the mortar dries. When the stone is set, fill the joints with mortar and smooth out the profile to make it match the rest of your wall.
- Better safe than sorry! In the case of very old stone walls, repairing one section might inadvertently lead to damage in another. If you have significant damage or don't feel comfortable with the replacement job, contact a masonry specialist to take care of the work.
Good stone wall repair can help keep that historic work of art looking beautiful for years to come!
Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.