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Thread: Rock Wall Inside the Cabin?

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    Default Rock Wall Inside the Cabin?

    Has anyone here put up a rock wall inside their cabin. I'm thinking something along the lines of small river rocks set in mortar on the wall behind the wood stove. Just curious if anyone has experience doing it and wouldn't mind sharing what they'd wished they'd known before they started the process, during the process, etc.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    This gets done all the time with McMansions, using "Eldorado Stone" or similar....just make sure the wall can support the mass. A rock CLIMBING wall would be way sweet, could practice bouldering moves in the winter....

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    I had to google "Eldorado Stone", cdubbin! LOL Yes, a climbing wall might be interesting! But I think I'll be sticking to river rock. :-)

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    I've done a little rock and tile work, but i'm far from a pro. A couple of random thoughts...

    - Make sure the wall you want to cover with rock is sturdy enough to hold the weight. Concrete (probably the best), plywood or OSB should hold a rock covering. Sheetrock won't do the job!

    - Cover the plywood with felt/tar paper.

    - Cover the area with expanded metal ( a product made exactly for this), or use chicken wire to cover the felt. This give something for the mortar to bite into.

    - Gather up a bunch of rock - at least 10% more than you think you need. Make sure they are reasonably clean.

    - Slather on some mortar and stick the rocks on the wall. Start on the bottom and work your way up, a foot or two at a time.

    - Use a little tool to dress up the mortar joints between the rocks as you go.

    Hope this helps - enjoy your project!
    English is an odd language. It can understood through tough thorough thought, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aces-n-eights View Post
    I've done a little rock and tile work, but i'm far from a pro. A couple of random thoughts...

    - Make sure the wall you want to cover with rock is sturdy enough to hold the weight. Concrete (probably the best), plywood or OSB should hold a rock covering. Sheetrock won't do the job!

    - Cover the plywood with felt/tar paper.

    - Cover the area with expanded metal ( a product made exactly for this), or use chicken wire to cover the felt. This give something for the mortar to bite into.

    - Gather up a bunch of rock - at least 10% more than you think you need. Make sure they are reasonably clean.

    - Slather on some mortar and stick the rocks on the wall. Start on the bottom and work your way up, a foot or two at a time.

    - Use a little tool to dress up the mortar joints between the rocks as you go.

    Hope this helps - enjoy your project!
    Thanks for the great info, aces-n-eights! It's going to be a few months before I can get to this project, but I'll post pics of the progress on it, once I get started.

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    I've seen some fieldstone masonry done with split rocks also, or a few split rocks mixed in. Adds a few sparkles to the wall.
    It's my understanding that the guy heated up some stones and then quenched them in a bucket of water. Not a 100% process
    as some stones don't break evenly or split in several small pieces, but was an interesting effect. I hope to be doing the same thing
    in a few months. If I remember correctly, the stone mason also used some sticks to support the stones on top of each other and
    maintain a somewhat regular spacing. pull the sticks after the mortar sets up and tuck point the holes left.

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    Good info will try that out as a project
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    dont forget to use a metal tabs or similar in the joints...

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    [QUOTE=Bear;1242381]dont forget to use a metal tabs or similar in the joints...[/QUOTEas spacers like in tile?
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    [QUOTE=greythorn3;1242414]
    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    dont forget to use a metal tabs or similar in the joints...[/QUOTEas spacers like in tile?
    Sorry should of been a little more clear.... It's a metal tab or wire that is attached to the wall and mortared into the joint that helps keep the rock wall from separating from the wall behind it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aces-n-eights View Post
    I've done a little rock and tile work, but i'm far from a pro. A couple of random thoughts...

    - Make sure the wall you want to cover with rock is sturdy enough to hold the weight. Concrete (probably the best), plywood or OSB should hold a rock covering. Sheetrock won't do the job!

    - Cover the plywood with felt/tar paper.

    - Cover the area with expanded metal ( a product made exactly for this), or use chicken wire to cover the felt. This give something for the mortar to bite into.

    - Gather up a bunch of rock - at least 10% more than you think you need. Make sure they are reasonably clean.

    - Slather on some mortar and stick the rocks on the wall. Start on the bottom and work your way up, a foot or two at a time.

    - Use a little tool to dress up the mortar joints between the rocks as you go.

    Hope this helps - enjoy your project!

    If it were me, I'd go with cement backer board. Make sure the wall is structurally sound and scew the cement board to the wall/studs. Mortar straight on to the cement board, no felt, no chicken wire. Lightly spray the cement board with water just before you butter on the motar so it doesn't suck the water out of the mortar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brhrdr View Post
    Has anyone here put up a rock wall inside their cabin. I'm thinking something along the lines of small river rocks set in mortar on the wall behind the wood stove. Just curious if anyone has experience doing it and wouldn't mind sharing what they'd wished they'd known before they started the process, during the process, etc.
    My only thing would be.. and I know NOTHING about any of this so excuse my stupidity on the subject.. but if you are building it behind the wood stove, would the rock need to be able to withstand heat? I mean I know a few people that just picked some rock for their fire pit to have it later explode on them. Just don't want to see that happen to you.

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    If there is an air gap between the stove and the wall it won't be a problem. How much of a gap depends on the stove and would be called out in the installation instructions for the stove.

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    Air gap can allow u to reduce clearances even if done properly
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    I haven't done it myself, but worked as a Hod carrier for an Oldtimer Mason in eastern Wash for about 6mo when younger
    (Hodcarrier is the "Kid" who mixes the mortar and packs the rocks for the Old Pro Stone Mason)
    and we did several projects like that
    They came out Beautiful,...much better than any Faux rock deal and you'll look at it with pride forever after

    Have thought of doing the same myself ever since,...it's easier than you might imagine

    I agree with all that aces said, and definitely what Bear mentioned
    keep it all tied to the wall
    we had a chicken wire like material to mortar into,
    it was something a little tighter and stronger wire than chicken wire but I'm sure that would work,
    might contact a local Mason, or Brick factory type place for their recommended material
    they also have the ties Bear is referring to,

    what's your idea on gathering rock, from a river bed somewhere ?

    Sounds like a cool project, looking forward to your progress pics
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainGirl View Post
    My only thing would be.. and I know NOTHING about any of this so excuse my stupidity on the subject.. but if you are building it behind the wood stove, would the rock need to be able to withstand heat? I mean I know a few people that just picked some rock for their fire pit to have it later explode on them. Just don't want to see that happen to you.
    Yes, BIG difference when a rock is directly exposed to flame, and one that is being heated up from a couple feet away. It's takes quite a bit of heat to split most rocks.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    we had a chicken wire like material to mortar into,
    it was something a little tighter and stronger wire than chicken wire but I'm sure that would work,
    It's called mortar lath, chicken wire is generally used as a base for stucco.
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    Thanks very much for the information, everyone!

    The wood stove is approved for closer tolerances with the heat shield on the back, which it has, and I have a little more clearance to the wall than I needed according to the installation instructions, so I should be ok on the clearance to the rocks that will be on the wall. I plan on taking a couple of buckets down to a river and picking out some nice looking rocks (later in the spring) and making multiple trips until I have hauled enough rocks for the wall. Wall will be roughly five feet wide by eight feet high.

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    One thing to be aware of.....if you end up getting some pretty big rocks, don't go up to high all at one time. The weight of all of it can pull it off the wall before it has a chance to set up. Do a little at a time over a few days or more.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    One thing to be aware of.....if you end up getting some pretty big rocks, don't go up to high all at one time. The weight of all of it can pull it off the wall before it has a chance to set up. Do a little at a time over a few days or more.
    Thanks for the tip....I'll probably go with smaller rocks than larger and like you say, probably do a little bit every day, so each day's mortar has a chance to dry before I put another layer up. I want to take my time with it so it looks nice when it's all done.

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