There is something about a stone wall or structure that one cannot help but associate with strength, durability, and power. When you think of a stone structure, you can think of a castle, a monolith, or … maybe just a wall, but in any case, it is most likely a solid, heavy structure that you should be able to count. for a long time.
Stone is similar to concrete in that it is strong in compression but weak in tension and therefore cannot be too thin or tall without some form of reinforcement. This is why you don’t usually see very tall or thin stone walls. If it does, it is most likely heavily reinforced in the middle with steel or even just “silver” on the outside, but with a different material on the inside.
But stone can still be used to make beautiful, durable walls and structures as long as the rules are followed. First, determine if your wall will be wet or dry. Wet is with mortar and dry without. Generally, and for obvious reasons, dry-built walls should not exceed 3 feet and should not be less than 2 feet wide at the base.
But even mortar stone walls shouldn’t be much higher than that if they are unsupported. For example, arched stone structures are held together due to their shape and have been known to last for centuries, while a simple straight wall that is built tall without supports is sure to fail in years or even months. This is why most stone walls will have at least one right angle turn. This is not just for looks or function, but also to provide crucial support.
Let’s get on with the building … The first step is to decide where the wall will go and how much it will stretch. Now drive pegs into the ground in the appropriate places and connect them with string. This will help you create a direct first course. You will also need to have a rope at vertical intervals to make sure you don’t tack.
Rule of thumb: For every foot that goes up the wall, it should be thickened at least half.
Next, excavate the soil where your wall will be placed. Dig about 2 feet 6 inches wider than your wall thickness for both the front and back of each. Note that the ground level of this trench is not crucial as it will fill it with gravel. The gravel bed is what will need to be leveled with reasonable precision. Use a spirit level and a 2-meter straight 2-by-4, scraping or adding gravel as needed. Tamp down the gravel.
* It is recommended to replace the gravel with concrete and widen the base for higher walls.
Leave the gravel surface 2 inches below grade to make sure the base of the wall is locked into the trench. Now dry fit your first course of stone, using an above-average selection. This first course is the most important in many respects, so you should use your largest and flattest stones. (Keep enough good ones for the top coat though!) After dry setting, remove them once, so they’re ready for mortar.
After mixing the mortar, start spreading it over the gravel bed. Make sure you don’t spread too much at a time, as you don’t want it to start to cure before you can finish. – But because the first course is dry-set beforehand, it shouldn’t take that long. Press firmly and rotate the stones into the mortar one by one leaving about an inch between the stones. Remember to check the level of each stone in both directions Rated by Trade.
Dry lay the second row in the same way and repeat the process, staggering the joints. During this time, it is especially important that you stay true to the rope guides that you have! Failure to do this will result in disaster! All the 90 degree corners you have planned are important too and should be carefully locked in the same staggered pattern.
The top field is the one that everyone will see and notice the most and should therefore be the prettiest of the lot. Depending on how tall or short the wall is, it can also double as a bench! Taking care to ensure that the top surface of the end course is level and level will make a big difference aesthetically. – In fact, if the wall is in the 3 foot range, this is all most people will notice!
About every work hour you should scrape and wash off any protruding pieces of mortar that would otherwise cure and ruin the final appearance. Use a stiff brush and a damp cloth to remove unwanted parts, making sure the mortar looks as even as possible across the entire wall. Depending on the stone you use, you may also want to go over all the joints with a trowel or similar to compact and smooth them.