The area around the wood stove has been a mess since last spring when we had the wood stove installed. I had to remove the mantle because it didn’t give the wood stove enough clearance to pass inspection. So it kind of just sat there for several months while I decided on what I wanted to do.
While shopping in Lowes one day I noticed a display for a product called AirStone. It is a cement product that looks like stone and can be used to cover a wall. It is infused with air bubbles to make it light weight. But, what impressed me was how great it looked. I wouldn’t say it looks as good as stone, but it still looked pretty good – for the price.
The boxes of stone said they cover 8 square feet. I estimated that I needed about 36 square feet so I bought five boxes. I also bought two tubs of the adhesive that you use to stick them to the wall.
I had to fill in the area that I wanted to cover with sheetrock, but I didn’t need to make it look pretty because the AirStone would cover it anyway.
I decided to start above the stove because the instructions recommended a support for areas that would span or “float” above open space. I added a 1×2 for support and made sure it was level. I then laid out a box of stones on the ground. Each box comes with a variety of colors and sizes. Essentially you’re working with 2″ or 4″ tall pieces of various widths that were divisible by 2″.
Then I started gluing them on one by one. The adhesive feels like whipped cream – light and easy to apply. You apply it to the back of the stone and press it onto the wall.
I had to plan out a few rows at a time, making sure to mix up colors, while also making sure that I mix in 2″ high and 4″ high pieces.
The process was really easy. And what made it even easier is that the width I was working with (between two beams) was divisible by 2″ as well. So I didn’t have to make any cuts! It wouldn’t have been too bad if I did have to do cuts though because AirStone cuts with a hacksaw, or masonry blade.
I was going along great until I reached the top row. Of course with an old house with old beams I shouldn’t have expected things to be level. The top row had a slight taper so that I could only fit the 2″ high pieces a part of the way. Then I’d have to trim them at a slight angle to 1 3/4″ at the other end. Since I didn’t have a masonry bit on hand I decided to fill in the bottom before tackling the rest of the top row.
That is when I hit problem #2. At this point I was able to remove the support. But I couldn’t stack the next set from the floor up and have it line up exactly AND be level. After several failed attempts Deb recommended I put in nails on each course to hold the pieces up as I worked down towards the floor. This worked, with her help, and we were able to finish up both sides.
Problem #3 was that I ran out of pieces before I could finish the top row and the last run of the bottom row. Luckily I emailed AirStone and they are mailing me the missing pieces so I don’t need to buy an entirely new box.
Overall I really liked how AirStone worked. I wish I had some experience with it BEFORE doing this project though. I would have tackled it a bit differently.
On a side note, AirStone can be used inside or outside – you just use different adhesives.