Mortar is way too dark! Is it possible to lighten?

creekcrewMarch 20, 2014

We've had a snafu with the stonework on the exterior to say the least! We originally wanted our autumn leaf Eldorado Stone flat stacked but our masonry guy told us that was not possible in the Midwest climate as the winters would cause the stone to be unstable or something. So we agreed to the stacking as you see in the attached photo.

My biggest issue with this is the grout color. I was leaning towards light gray or some thing of that sort. My husband and stone guy decided a darker color would look better. Now this is what we have, dark chocolate mortar. It is making the stone look like puzzle pieces and clashes with my wood garage doors. Is there a way to lighten the mortar without having it all drilled out and replaced with a lighter color? Please help?

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So, your picture is sideways, and difficult for me to tell for sure, but it appears that the section on the "right" that is forward, IS lighter?

Has that section dried but the veiny section still wet?

Or, is this a figment of the picture/camera?

Because I think that section that is forward, looks good! (though I agree the other, recessed portion, looks veiny. I am just wondering if it will dry/cure to a color that will actually be what you were thinking).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:59PM
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It lightens considerably as it dries. The right hand side will lighten even more as it cures. It's a much better look than a grey would be with that stone!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:03PM
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good luck with your project

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 8:17

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:37PM
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I also agree that the dried portion on the right hand side looks great. I don't think you could get more of a blended grout look with that stone. There is enough color variation there that the puzzle piece effect would exist no matter the grout color, but the right looks good!

I second guessed my grout color for a turning back now lol. Our mason did do a small section fully dried that we gave the thumbs up too before he proceeded, but its always a little different in the large scale.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:56PM
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Thank you all for the replies!! Keep them coming! Specifically-

my apologies for the sideways pic-it is right side up on my screen. i agree that the right lower section looks better! It was done first, however the rest has been curing for 2 weeks ans the stine guy said his men actually made a mistake while mixing the first section of mortar that is lighter:( he is planning on removing and regrouting that lower right section to match the rest of the dark chocolate.

Donyou have a pic to further explain the header? I dont follow but am. Ertainly interrsted in your suggestion for improvements. My iniyial inspiration pic is attached showing a light trim around a wood door.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:57PM
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And as an extension of my garage you can see in this picture, I noticed the top seal is overlapping the tops of the window framing on the doors grrr! Is this as bad as i feel like it is?! Ive put in a call to the installer and he is coming out tomorrow to take a look.

Im feeling very depressed as to how the exterior is coming along even though the color choices are our fault. Im looking for ways to improve the look. We will be adding timber gable accents to the double garage that you can barely see to the right in original post pic.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:05PM
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good luck with your project

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 8:18

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:40AM
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Actually, I like the dark mortar on the left. It complements the beautiful stone.

What Renovator8 is saying is that real stone work (i.e. a real masonry wall, not cladding) would need substantial support for the weight of the stone. To provide the realism, the cladding should include the look of a stone lintel or, if it would be angle iron, the door trim would be set in more. Since it's too late for that, painting it a similar color as the door would give the impression of an angle iron support since such thin wood could not support real stone.

Stone lintel over a garage door:

Angle iron support over a garage door

You might have this issue with other windows and doors as well. Note that it's not a structural problem. It's an architectural detail which provides realism for a stick built home attempting to achieve a solid masonry look. Stone lintel over windows:

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 8:14

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 8:08AM
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Here's a rough mockup showing Renovator's idea to make the trim match the doors. I do think it makes the dark grout less noticeable.

I think your exterior will look very nice! And I like your choice of garage door.

This post was edited by chicagoans on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 9:40

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:38AM
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Personally I think that the mortar lines are a bit wide.

Your inspiration picture is of a different stone. Thinner/longer (real stone?) with narrower mortar lines or even dry-stacked (I can't tell from the picture).

I don't think that you can achieve that look with the cladding that's installed.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:28AM
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I always thought the Eldorado stone was set in squares or sheets...didn't realize it was laid 1 stone at a time like real stone.

The autumn leaf Eldorado on the company website looks totally different than the one in the pictures above. I know the website one is 'dry' and this one has mortar, but do the stones need to have such wide mortar lines for the Eldorado stone (if you use mortar)?

Eldorado Stone Autumn Leaf:

Products by San Marcos Building Supplies Eldorado Stone

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Hi, Just wondering how your mortar turned out? Any final updates?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:12PM
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