Jun 20, 2013

building rock walls

F.i.n.a.l.l.y the weather has cooperated enough for us to begin putting the rock on the exterior of our new front porch area. We bought the stone last October...just in time for the weather to turn nasty. Good timing, huh?

As a reminder, here's a before and after picture of what the front overhang looks like:

We have always planned on putting stone on the side walls between the columns, and also on the front of the steps. Here's the process we used:

First, the hubs measured the walls where the stone would go and sketched out the dimensions on our driveway. Then started putting a pattern together. We did this to make sure we had enough stone and because each box of stone had different pieces. We tried to stay away from the ones that had a yellow tone to them so going through the work of creating the pattern first let us pick and choose the best pieces.
Henry loved watching, and would occasionally sneak out of the house and steal the chalk! 
The next step was to mix up the mortar in small batches and start applying the stone to the concrete board. It's almost like buttering bread....you know, if you buttered bread with a trowel.
On the first side he started at the top to make sure the spacing was even. But once he knew the stone was easy to cut or break when needed, he started from the bottom on the other sides. It's much easier to start on the bottom and work your way up, than start at the top and work your way down.
The kids loved watching. They wanted to help, but mean mommy and daddy said 'no.'
Once all the stone was in place and had set, we got a big 'pastry bag' type thing at Lowe's and filled it with grout. The mixed grout went into the bag and could be applied directly in the spaces. Once each space was full, he went back through and smoothed out the grout to make it look nice. The bag worked surprisingly well and made cleanup a whole lot easier since there was no need to scrub extra grout off of the tile.
So far I only have gotten a few pictures of the outside at night...so it's hard to see. But we love the difference the stone makes on the front. MUCH better!
There are still a few things left to finish. Here's the 'to-do' list:
- make concrete tops for each wall
- caulk around the edges of the stone (we didn't grout around the far edges so that the stone could expand as needed - the caulk will be better for that)
- finish the trim around the bottom of the columns
- then someday we'll get around to doing a new sidewalk and make the landscaping look pretty

And I want to say a 'welcome' to Remodelaholic readers. To see more from our whole-house remodel, click here.


  1. This is such an amazing transformation! I love, love, love the overhang! It has such the WOW factor!

  2. I absolutely love this. I have a similar porch I would love to look like this. Great Job

  3. Wow that is AMAZING!! So much more inviting! GREAT job!!

  4. Wow, what a creative idea, love the look! All I keep thinking is how well you and Michael would have done in colonial times between his handy work and your sewing. You two are brilliant!

  5. Lindsay, you crack me up! I don't think we'd last very long in colonial times because we don't know how to cook. :) Ha!


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