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Question DetailsAsked on 12/12/2013

How much should stone veneer labor cost per square foot

I live in New England and will purchase the stone veneer myself. The job will be about 500 square feet of real stone veneer on new concrete retaining walls.

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The cost to install the veneer stone has a wide range do to many factors. It can range from around $9 to $17 per square foot. It depends on the location, the stone being used, job access, skaffolding needs, wall prep and such. I would think you would be on the lower end of the scale. Your job is on a concrete surface so it eliminates one of the biggest problems they are having with this product, wall preperation. This one of the things that separates the high bidders from the low ones. There are million dollars homes being torn down because of improper wall prep. One a wood frame house a backing system that allows drainage is a must or the moisture absorbed by the veneer can rot the walls behind with alarming speed. Some have had makor damage within the first four years. On a concrete wall the veneer needs no such prep at most wire mesh applied if it is an older concrete wall.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


I think Don and I looked up cost in the same cost guide - but I saw his price as INCLUDING the veneer. I would expect more like $8-12/SF if you buy the veneer yourself, though depends largely on whether you are talking the cheaper face veneer, or stacked stone, which takes more labor and mortar.

Best way to tell which range is right - GET BIDS.

Several thoughts:

1) On a new surface, the new cement-rich surface will have form oil on it (applied to the forms to prevent them from sticking to the concrete as it cured) that had to be removed or the veneer will not stick right. Also, the vibration process puts a cement-rich surface against the forms, which is not what the veneer should be bonding to - too smooth, provides no roughness to bond to. Therefore, before applying the veneer, the surface needs to be roughened - commonly done with a bush hammer (basically breaks away the surface - which does some cracking so best to avoid under a veneer), grinding (very labor intensive), sandblasting, or high-pressure (10,000 psi range) water jet cutting - probably the cheapest. The surface you mount the veneer to should show a rough surface, with exposed aggregate over the surface - not just the cement paste showing.

2) if this is face veneer - smooth side to the wall with only 1 inch or so stickout - some epoxy adhesives work without any back support. For a stacked veneer - where is basically a rock wall built in front of the concrete face, with the stones laying flat and sticking out 4-12 inches, then there is little stone bonding surface at the wall, so a supporting and bonding backing anchored into the wall with concrete anchors needs to be used - either fine welded wire mesh, chicken wire, or perforated steel forming plank. Usually unless the wall is quite high (over 8 feet) the latter is not used. Obviously, if you using prefab bonded panel veneer, then check manufacturer instructions.

3) even though it may make the stone look unnaturally glossy for some months, be sure to have them apply two coats of waterproofing stone and concrete sealant - and this should be reapplied periodically (typically every 2-5 years depending on climate) to limit water infiltration. This is particularly critical if you live in an area with numerous freeze-thaw cycles during the year (which it appears you do), otherwise you will be getting peeling off of the veneer.

It is a pity the veneer job was not done with the wall forming if going with stacked stone veneer - because it would have been easier to have done it all at once, and would have provided a better bond.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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