Monday, October 8, 2012

Chris Hines sits on the board of the Masonry Veneer Manufactures Association and is revered in the industry for his extensive knowledge.
The below article is a re post form the Masonry Magazine website.

 Installation 101 By Chris Hines Chris Hines Installing Manufactured Stone Veneer As a non-structural element of a building’s exterior, manufactured stone veneer can add significantly to the aesthetics and perceived value of a structure. As a lightweight, architectural, non-load-bearing building product, it is manufactured of lightweight concrete material and mimics the visual appeal of stone found organically in nature. However, since it is so lightweight, it is extremely easy to install.
Here are some of the dos and don’ts for the successful installation of manufactured stone veneer. Do: Evaluate the project before you start (even before you bid). Look for properly gaped sheathing material, bowed studs or out of square corners needing correction, and proper window and door installation and flashing. If it’s a masonry substrate, assure it is structurally sound, clean, rough and capable of bond. Prepare the wall with the right materials, installed correctly. A list of industry-accepted materials, installation instructions and details are available at If the wall requires a water-resistive barrier (WRB), select a material that suits the climate, installation timing and building style. Framed applications require a weep screed or other flashing at the foundation termination to protect susceptible materials and allow liquid water to exit the system. Maintain appropriate clearance at the bottom of the wall. When Lath is required, run the sheets, cups up, horizontally and overlap sheets at least one inch or greater, if required by the manufacturer. End lath sheets at framing locations. Never terminate at a corner. The material must run through the corner to a framing member. Select fasteners that are long enough to penetrate into framing by at least one inch. Take the time to mark framing at every step. Lath materials should be furred off the wall ¼-inch, to allow proper mortar embedment. Apply your scratch-coat mortar with sufficient force to key into the lath. Select a mortar that meets MVMA recommendation. Understand the properties, mixing and usage requirements of your mortar to ensure a strong bond. Assure stone units are set in a full setting bed of mortar. Work clean. Some stones may be installed from the top, down, to avoid mortar dropping. If you experience mortar droppings on the face of a stone, wait until it’s crumbly and brush off. Lay out stones and mix boxes. Take the time to lay your stones out. Understand the colors, shapes, sizes and textures and blend them. Periodically step back, view and adjust. Don’t: Don’t use WRBs intended for roofing on walls. Don’t install over someone else’s work if it wasn’t done properly. Don’t skip flashing steps. Water management is key with any cladding system. Don’t install over ripped or missing WRBs. Don’t end lath in or on corners. Don’t install over an extremely smooth concrete surface without first making it rough. Don’t install stone veneer on stair treads, risers or other areas likely to be exposed to walking friction, kicking, de-icing chemicals and bad water drainage. Don’t disregard clearance from grade requirements. You will risk spalling damage, bad appearance from efflorescence and staining, potentia
l moisture deterioration and void warranty coverage. Don’t use installation materials that are not addressed in the MVMA Installation Guide. Don’t cap walls or veneer sections with less than a one- to two-inch overhang beyond the thickest stone in the veneer texture. If these guidelines are followed, manufactured stone veneer application will provide long-lasting performance and remain visually appealing, increasing the value and visual attractiveness of a building. Chris Hines is technical leader of Boral Stone Products.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association – 1 – July 24, 2009
750 National Press Building, 529 14th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20045
Water Penetration Testing of an
Adhered Masonry Veneer Wall Assembly Installed Over
Rainscreen Systems
This investigation explored the effect of simulated winddriven
rain conditions on several wall assemblies related
to adhered masonry veneer cladding installed over a
rainscreen system. For the purposes of this study a
rainscreen is defined as: a construction technique or
rainscreen product that creates a capillary break/air
space between the cladding and the primary water
resistive barrier. The assemblies tested the “field of the
wall”. The parameters investigated were water-resistive
barrier (WRB) of #15 felt combined with commercially
available rainscreen systems.
The testing protocol was to evaluate wall assembly
performance with WRB, five different rainscreen systems,
lath, and a mortar scratch coat layer. The intent was to
show that the addition of a rainscreen system does not
negatively affect test results, and compare the results to
similar testing by MVMA without the rainscreen systems
incorporated into the wall assembly. The testing
ultimately demonstrated the combination of WRB,
rainscreen, lath, & scratch coat was effective at
preventing water penetration.
Posted by Instone for your information 

2013 Masonry Veneer Design Awards Contest Opens for Submissions

For Immediate Release Dan Fernandez 212-297-2121 2013 Masonry Veneer Design Awards Contest Opens for Submissions
June 12, 2012 (New York, NY) – The Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association (MVMA) is now accepting submissions into their annual Masonry Veneer Design Awards contest. The judges are looking for entries that highlight innovative use and design, proper installation, and creative looks in Masonry Veneer, also known as manufactured stone veneer. In all, there are 10 award categories, ranging from New Construction – Residential – Exterior through Remodel – Commercial - Interior. A new “Innovation” category has been added this year which will award innovation in masonry veneer. “The 2013 Masonry Veneer Design Awards will be recognizing the year’s best Masonry Veneer projects for their innovation and beauty,” said Mike Fischer, MVMA general manager. “We had a close and exciting contest in 2012, with more than 250 entries submitted from around the country. We hope to outpace that this year and showcase some amazing projects.” Winners will be announced at the MVMA Winter Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada during the 2013 International Builders Show. Each winner will receive a Certificate and national recognition for their work. MVMA
Design Awards Facts
 All entries must be submitted online at by November 11, 2012;
 An independent judging panel, made up of members of the American Institute of Building Design, will score the entries;
 There is no entry fee;
 Submissions require high-resolution images of the completed project;
 More information, including rules and entry requirements can be found at;
· Like us on Facebook to see last year’s winners, and follow us on Twitter for updates.
 About the Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association
Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association (MVMA) was organized and officially began operation in April 2006 to represent the Manufactured Stone Veneer industry’s manufacturing companies and their suppliers. MVMA is the only incorporated trade association organized specifically for the masonry veneer products industry. The mission of the organization is to advance the growth of the manufactured masonry veneer industry through proactive technical, advocacy and awareness efforts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do - it -Yourself outdoor Kitchen

Cultured Stone Veneer for your outdoor Kitchen

Kitchens are the undisputed heart of the home, where everyone gathers, mingles, and lingers during parties. But to achieve that kind of appeal outside means expanding your outdoor living space. To draw a crowd—and keep them entertained—requires a bit more than plopping down a table and a few plastic chairs.

With an outdoor kitchen you can prepare meals and be around your guests with minimal time spent running back inside for plates, beverages, or tongs. Although you could spend tens of thousands of dollars for a custom outdoor kitchen, a basic island is an efficient design that leaves out the complexity of curves and angles. Not only that, with an island guests can relax on one side while you're cooking on the other, so you feel as though you're part of the gathering.

Since durability is such a critical issue for an outdoor kitchen, stone veneer is a low-maintenance option that won't need painting or sealing. Real stone is heavy, expensive, and requires the experience of a mason. Cementitious cultured stone, such as the type used in this project from Landmark Stone, is easier to work with because it's lighter, cuts faster, and lasts just as long as the real thing—all while looking as natural as real stone.

Follow along as This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers builds a simple frame, covers it in faux stone, and then nestles a gas grill in the center to get the party started.
appling mortarThe island's frame is made out of pressure-treated 2x4s and 3/4-inch plywood - an inexpensive and durable construction that's easier to work with than concrete block. The frame consists of three small, manageable boxes that are built separately and then screwed together to make one long island: one 24-inch-high, 37-inch-wide box in the center to support the grill and the shelf it sits on, plus one 36-inch-high, 48-inch-wide box on either side, with cabinets set into each. This layout allows you to scale the island's length to fit your patio or adjust it to incorporate a built-in bar with a 90-degree turn. Because the boxes are empty, they can accept steel doors, drawers, or other storage compartments or conceal a propane tank for a gas grill.

The outside of the island is veneered with cultured stone, which is lightweight and easy to put on with mortar. Use stones that complement your home's architecture or existing stonework - round fieldstones evoke a classic New England farm wall, while thin, horizontal stones have a more modern look. Arranging the stone in an aesthetically pleasing way is like doing a big jigsaw puzzle. Speed up the hunt for the perfectly sized stone by first unpacking and organizing all the pieces into piles of corners, shorts, longs, and rectangulars. This ensures you'll have on hand a random range of colors, mimicking real stone, and keeps you from rummaging through boxes and chipping the pieces.
installing cultured stone

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mason get free Cultured Stone® veneer installation training

Masons, don't go into hibernation - Now is the time to work on your business
Now is the time to work on your business. Use your down time wisely.
Here is a check list of FREE and really cheap ways to increase leads, your credentials and knowledge.
Training: This time of year many manufactures of various masonry products conduct training on product installation and provide certifications. Contact your dealer, distributor or call the manufacture direct to find out about any training classes available in your area. Many conduct on line training webinars. The more certifications you have will increase your expertise and credibility with possible customers. In add will give you certification and that will get you listed on their contactor list for leads.
Build more Business Relationships and strengthen existing: Stop in and visit pool contractors, remodeling companies and other types of business that might refer their customers to you or use you as a sub contractor. Inform your existing contacts of any new services you provide and new products that will be an enhancement to their business.
Get a website: If you do not have a website get one FAST!. You are missing a lot of potential business if you can't be found online. Websites are not that expensive anymore. If you have a young person in your household chances are they can use a do-it-yourself website builder to get you online fast with little or no investment.
Get listed & Get Found: Contact manufactures and asked to be added to their masonry contractors directory on their website. Sign up for free on-line business listings.
go to - this site will help you post your website to multiple listing sites like Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp and more.
Don't forget Social Media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter these can be a contractors best tool for find leads as the best lead is a referral form family, friends, and customers social media is the way you can stay connected an in their minds.
Lastly, and most importantly email and business cards. I am always surprised by the number of mason contractors who don't even have an email address. The entire universe communicates view email. There is no excuse they are free. you can sign up for one with and
Business cards get them, make sure you have an email, cell & office phone and website address on the cards. Keep plenty of cards on hand at all times.
Should you like to learn more about this topic please contact me.
click here to sign up for Isokern Fireplace Installation Training

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Calling all Masons - here is your chance to shine - enter your project in this year’s competition and get the credit, notoriety and bragging rights you deserve. Instone the largest distributor of Cultured Stone Veneer in the US supports local masons and encourages their participation in this year’s competition. Good Luck to all area Masons.

Enter today!


With Manufactured Stone fast becoming one of the most requested wall coverings in new construction and renovation projects, contracting and design professionals are looking for innovative ways to incorporate its rugged, authentic, elegant looks and versatility.
Today, the Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association (MVMA) announced its third annual MVMA Design Awards, a program created to recognize the work of industry professionals who are setting trends by featuring manufactured stone veneer in their projects.
“Our goal is to recognize leaders in the Manufactured Stone industry by highlighting their design successes,” said Mike Fischer, MVMA general manager. “This year‟s theme of „Natural Beauty Fashioned in Stone‟ aims to showcase the beauty and authenticity of Manufactured Stone.”
MVMA Design Awards Facts
All entries will be submitted online at by December 31, 2011
An independent judging panel will announce winners at the MVMA Design Awards in Orlando, FL, February 2012
There is no entry fee
Submissions require high-resolution images of the completed project
More information, including rules and entry can be found at

About the Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association
Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association (MVMA) was organized and officially began operation in April 2006 to represent the Manufactured Stone Veneer industry‟s manufacturing companies and their suppliers. MVMA is the only incorporated trade association organized specifically for the masonry veneer products industry. The mission of the organization is to advance the growth of the manufactured masonry veneer products industry through proactive technical, advocacy and awareness efforts.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Caring for Cultured Stone - no salt please

Cultured Stone® Tips
Summary: Cultured Stone® is basically concrete mixed with aggregate and color pigments and shaped in special, detailed, molds to produce a real stone look and feel. Quality stone veneer products are, therefore, durable and made with solid color to avoid discoloration over their long service span. Maintain and clean artificial stone with common sense and these tips, and your Cultured Stone® projects will outlast you.

Making the Stone
Cultured Stone® is nothing more than concrete. But for those who have seen this product up close and actually touched it, you know that it does not look or feel like concrete.
Some manufactured stone products cannot be distinguished from the real thing. The colors and textures of these artificial stone products are basically unbelievable.
These realistic results are achieved, in most instances, by using highly detailed rubber molds and special pigments to color the concrete mix. Some manufacturers apply additional pigments directly to the rubber molds for purposes of adding tones to the surface of the finished product. These additional pigments soak into the surface of the concrete so that they can't be easily washed off by the elements.
The key to the entire process is using small, light weight aggregates in the concrete mix. This keeps the weight of the artificial stone to a minimum. It is for this reason that no foundation is required to support these materials. They simply are glued onto the side of your structure, whether it be wood frame, masonry or a steel structure.
Long term durability should not be a concern of yours. This is due to the fact that these products are manufactured under controlled conditions. This allows the concrete mix to achieve maximum strength characteristics. Because the surface of the artificial stones is so realistic, water is not easily absorbed by many of these products.
Some people wonder about the long term effects of weathering on these products. That is a valid concern, as this material could easily have a service life on a building between 50 and 100 years. Just about every artificial stone product has solid color attributes. This means that the concrete mix is colored from the beginning. Secondary coloration achieved by applying pigments to the rubber molds should be the only area of concern. As long as the manufacturer uses high quality, non water soluble pigments, it should never be a problem.

Most manufacturers caution against the use of deicing salts near these products.
The salts can hurt the artificial stone and cause surface disintegration.
Manufacturers also caution against the use of harsh chemicals, cleaning solvents or paint thinners. Some of these products can stain the stone products and cause discoloration.

Simply use common sense.
The artificial stone products can be cleaned if they become dirty. You simply use a mild detergent and a stiff bristle brush. Never use a wire brush, as this may harm the surface.
"Long term durability should not be a concern of yours. This is due to the fact that these products are manufactured under controlled conditions."