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I have an exterior painted wall and am interested in installing a stone veneer. I realize that I may have to install wire mesh to the areas but I'm wondering if there is a material that can be used to apply to the stone to the painted wall without mesh? Or should the paint be removed as much as possible then attach the wire mesh and apply a scratch coat?

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What is the surface of the wall (under the paint) made of? –  bib Oct 15 '12 at 12:22
Before you can tell if you need to put something up over it, we really need to know what the wall's made out of. There's a chance you need to completely remove what's there now if it's something like EIFS or T-111, because no wire mesh will support a stone veneer applied to an inadequate substrate. –  Karl Katzke Oct 15 '12 at 17:03

2 Answers 2

You need mesh. While veneer is a fraction of the weight of full stone, it is not light. The mesh forms a framework that the bonding material will surround and be inseparable from it (absent smashing with a hammer). The mesh is firmly attached to the underlying structure with fasteners (type depending on the nature of the siding).

In this case, the painting of the surface makes no difference.

Getting mortar to adhere directly to an existing concrete, stucco, brick or stone surface is not simple, especially when there is a tendency of the attached material to pull away from that surface. Adding to a horizontal surface (like a concrete floor, steps or walk), there is mostly a compression force (pushing the surfaces together), and bonding makes more sense. On a vertical (or overhead) surface, where the force is tension (pulling away), this makes less sense.

I think you need the mesh.

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Agreed. While you could strip the entire wall, and then use a bonding agent, I'd still prefer to trust mesh that is physically attached to the wall. As such, I wouldn't even bother with removing the paint and put the money and time towards getting the mesh and anchors correct first. –  DA01 Dec 9 '13 at 22:26

A sand blaster is your tool of choice for removing the paint and leaving a good surface for the mortar to stick to.

Do note that one purpose of the mesh is to help hold the mortar in place while it sets up. It also helps to prevent future cracks from shifting.

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