Most of the time, masons don’t give time shaping a stone to replace one that is broken or damaged. Instead, they rely on coloring agents and patching compounds to remedy the situation. However, doing so will result in a patchy and mismatched stone wall. It is for this reason that some homeowners tend to lean towards repairing the stonewalls themselves. If you are one of the many who wishes to go the DIY-route, here are the steps that you can follow:
Step 1: Check The Damage
This part of the process is a matter of judgment. You don’t necessarily have to repair every stone on your wall when it comes to repair. Determining which portion of your wall needs repair will help you cut down your repair cost. Thus, it is an essential process that you check and assess the damage on your wall. If it is not necessary to remove a slab of stone off your wall to repair it, then don’t do it. You can just remove the damaged portion and fit the space with a new piece. If a stonewall is not too damaged, then better leave it alone.
Step 2: Look For A Match
Once you have assessed the damage that needs to be repaired on your stonewall, it is time to find a matching stone to replace any damage. You can find replacement stones in quarry sites. But before you do this, make sure that you ask permission to collect some stone samples to replace your stone wall. If you cannot find a matching stone for your wall, you can visit architectural salvages sites or stores where you can find an array of raw stone blocks to replace your damaged wall.
Step 3: Remove Damaged Stone(s)
To remove any damage stone, you can use a circular saw. In the absence of a circular saw, you can use an angle grinder with a diamond blade to cut the stone with ease. Do not use the same equipment to remove the mortar joint. Instead, you can use a tooth chisel. Saw a horizontal outline on the face of the stone that you want to repair. With the use of flat-blade chisel and a hammer, split the piece off the stone. Continue this process until you are able to cut back at least 4 inches of the stone (maximum of 6 inches). You can clean the surface using a point chisel. This will help give you a clean cavity that is ready for a new replacement. Make sure that the space you create is angled at 90 degrees. This will make fitting a new stone easier.
Step 4: Cut And Fit A New Stone
You can use a diamond-blad saw and a grinder for this process. When cutting a new stone, make sure that you leave space for the mortar. To achieve a 5-inch deep cut, you can use a partner saw. Alternatively, you can also use a circular saw. You can cut on one surface up to a depth of 2 ¼ inches, and the remaining depth from the other side of the stone. If your stone wall has a flat surface, providing a buffer on your stone will not be necessary. However, if your stone wall is ragged, then you may need to provide a buffer so you can chisel the face of the stone to achieve a uniformed look.
Step 5: Work On The Surface
Once you have fitted the new stone, the next thing you need to do is to achieve the same look for your wall. Determine which type of surface you have on your stone wall. The work needed to be done would depend on the type of surface you have. You will either have a split-face surface, a margined split-face surface, a pointed surface, or a tooth-chiseled surface. The surface of your stone replacement can be made to look like the existing stones using a chisel and flat blade. It is recommended that you practice on extra slabs of stones rather than doing it directly on the replacement stone.
Step 6: Set The New Stones
Once you are able to achieve the desired surface of your new stone, then you would be ready to set it on the wall. You can use a mortar to do this. However, you should also make sure that you are able to mimic the original mortar to keep everything looking uniformed. Before you apply the mortar on the wall, make sure that everything is damp. This will make the mortar cure slowly but surely. In case of adjustments, you can use a wood shim to do this. Once everything is in place, you can leave the new replacement to dry. You can remove excess mortar a few hours after the installation.