Dress Up An Ugly Foundation
Updated: May 23, 2022
With all the work you put into "dressing up" your front facade, something has to be done on the bare, unfinished foundation wall. What can you do? Add stone veneer! It's typically for many homes - new and old - to have a bare, "naked" foundation wall at the gap between where the siding stops and the ground starts. Depending on the grade of the land, as little as a few inches or as much as 2'+ may be exposed giving an unattractive, unfinished appearance. Using Type 'S' mortar, the stone veneer was added to the foundation wall. Check out the before & after on the far side of this front facade where over 2 feet of bare foundation wall was previously exposed. What a difference!
Stone veneer products, which are made from concrete, come in a range of colors + shapes and can be used for a variety of projects. Their 'pro' is that they are lighter weight than real stone, less expensive, and only about 1 - 2 thick. And the best part of all... You really don't need ANY EXPERIENCE to apply/install them.
Real bricks and stone are heavy and need solid support. When a house is under construction and a natural stone or brick facing is planned, the builder usually builds the brick ledge into the foundation by extending the foundation past the house framing. Adding a brick ledge to an existing house is hard to do and very expensive.
The do-it-yourself alternative is to apply artificial stone products that don’t need brick ledges. The artificial stone used to look pretty bogus, but the new generation of thin, faux stone is nearly impossible to distinguish from real stone. New faux stone is composed of conventional cement with soft, lightweight, pumice-like fillers, making it easy to cut with a circular saw or a 4-1/2-in. angle grinder fitted with masonry blades.
Because faux stone is so light, it can adhere to a specially prepared wall surface with conventional mortar. It’s easy to apply, and though you won’t save anything in material costs, you’ll save big in labor.
Some products, like imitation fieldstone, require grouting mortar joints between the stones or bricks. Others, like the one shown, are designed to be laid with tight-fitting, mortar-free joints to give the wall a “dry-stacked” look. Other materials can be done either way. Go to a local supplier (search “Brick” and “Stone” online ) and look at the display walls.
Depending on the stone or brick style, you may be able to get matching L-shaped corners, keystones for arches and sills to finish off the project with style. All the products you’ll need to prepare the surface and finish the project are available from your supplier.
In the photo, you’ll see the layers of “behind-the-scenes” materials that are necessary for a long-lasting, trouble-free wall.
Required Tools for this fake stone siding project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Required Materials for this fake rock siding project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
Check out this "how to" video for Veneer Stone: