Stone veneer is a cost-effective solution if you'd like to build a column. The cost is usually ½ to 1/3 the price of natural stone. Because stone veneer is made of a lightweight concrete, it is much easier to install than natural stone. It is available in a wide variety of designs and colors, which makes picking out the type of stone easier to match with your décor.
Measure the veneer stone with a tape measure. This will help you determine the size of the columns. The columns must be 8 inches wider than double the size of the stone, so if you're using a 4-inch-wide stone, the column should be 16 inches.
Measure out the placement of the column and mark your lines with chalk or a carpenter's pencil.
Mark the lines for the support of the column, using a framing square. This must be the center 8 inches of the column.
Apply mortar in the center area you just measured, using a trowel. Begin setting the 8-inch cement bricks side by side on top of the mortar. Use your level to ensure that the bricks are level. Tap them down or pick them back up until each brick is level in each direction.
Apply mortar in between each of the bricks, as well as above each level of the bricks that you set. Wipe off any excess mortar with a sponge before it sets. Rotate the bricks in the opposite direction of the previous layer. Make sure each layer is level and flush with the layer below.
Install wall ties on every third layer. These will help make sure that the stone adheres properly to the cement. Place them in the mortar and bend them down out of the way. Allow the center support to dry and set completely before continuing on to the next step.
Mix your mortar mixture to apply the veneer. This mixture needs to be two parts mason's sand and one part mortar. Mix the ingredients dry before adding the water. This will ensure the proper consistency. The mortar should be a thick consistency, but not clumpy.
Apply about an inch of mortar at the base of the column next to the support bricks, using the trowel. Pick your first stone to place.
Place the first stone in one of the corners; align this stone with two of the marks you made. Use your level to ensure that it sits level. Face the stone to ensure that it is straight and sits flush against the concrete bricks. Use a shim to hold it in place until the mortar is dry enough to keep the stone in place.
Create a 90-degree angle when turning the corner, using a framing square. Continue to place the stones around the column make sure to apply the mortar behind the stone and against the brick support. Apply mortar around all sides of the bricks. Use the shims as needed. Allow the mortar on each row to cure before applying the next layer. Doing so will prevent the weight of the stones above from shifting the stones below.
Bend the wall tie down into the mortar before placing the next layer of stone. Start on a corner when beginning the next row. Use your level to ensure that you are flush against the previous row.
Remove all the shims. Fill all spaces between the stones with more mortar. Pack it in tightly. Remove any excess mortar from the faces of the stones. Use a brush to give the mortar a finished, smooth look.
Spread around ½ inch of mortar at the top of the column. Place your cap on top of the column. Make sure to check that it is level. You may need to add or remove more mortar. Measure the overhang of the cap to be sure that it sits centered on top of the column. The type of cap you choose will vary, although the size should be around 1 to 2 inches larger than the width of the column.