How To Install Faux Stone Panels On Concrete [Step By Step Guide]

Installing faux stone panels is an easy way to treat bare concrete walls. You'll instantly get the visual appeal of a stone wall minus the extra cost. If you are looking for a guide on installing these panels, we’ve got you covered. We have done the research to give you a stress-free guide for this DIY project.

Faux stone panels are easier to install than real stones and stone veneers. Here are the steps to get you going with the setup:

  1. Estimate the material
  2. Acclimate the panels
  3. Prepare the walls
  4. Prepare the tools
  5. Orient the panels
  6. Trim the first panel
  7. Install metal trim pieces
  8. Apply adhesive to the back of the panel
  9. Adhere the panel to the wall
  10. Caulk the gaps
  11. Touch up the caulk

These steps may look overwhelming, but they are pretty easy to execute. We will help you with details on each step throughout this post. We’ll also provide you with pertinent information on faux stone panels. Continue scrolling for more specifics on this topic.

Room in a modern style. There is a TV on the white wall, white rack with a flower in vase, How To Install Faux Stone Panels On Concrete [Step By Step Guide]

Faux Panel Overview

There are a lot of ways to dress up bare concrete walls. One of the modern methods to decorate your concrete walls is by adding faux stone panels. With these panels, you’ll get the vibe of real stone minus the expensive materials and installation.

Faux stone panels should not be mistaken for stone veneers, more with real stone. These panels are made of lightweight but durable foam that is also easy to cut.

They are way lighter than real stones. This is why they are often the choice of homeowners who want to get the vibe of a classic stone wall.

Though these panels are easy to install, they are not permanent.  You also need to be careful because even though they are durable, they are not the real deal. 

Faux Stone Panel Installation

Fake stone wall, plastic panel imitating natural slab wall brickwork

Before you put the panels up, you should review your local building codes and check the manufacturer’s installation guide. The steps below are the typical ones. Specific brands may require extra precautions and steps.

1. Estimate The Materials

First, measure your wall to determine how much material you should use. Though it is better to have extra materials for repair, you don't want to buy more than you need.

Most faux stone panels are 2x4 feet or 4x8 feet and can be cut for easy fitting.

2. Acclimate The Panels

This should be done at least 24 hours before starting the project. As mentioned previously, these panels are made of foam and should be handled correctly to get optimum results. 

Acclimating the panels minimizes the expansion and contraction that often happens to artificial materials. Remember to store the panels in a cool place, away from direct sunlight or heat.

Lay the panels flat so they won't get distorted or damaged. You should install the panels in the coolest part of the day.

3. Prepare The Walls

The walls need to be wiped clean or pressure-washed to be ready for installation. As much as possible, remove any debris that will hinder adhesion. Debris may obstruct the panels from being installed flat on the wall.

Next, a house wrap should be installed, followed by a drainage mat. The drainage mat allows moisture to drain down to the bottom. It also allows air and vapor to escape so the house can breathe.

4. Prepare The Tools

Apart from the faux stone panels, you’ll also need these tools:

  • Safety goggles and gloves for protection
  • Caulk and caulk gun for filling in gaps
  • A circular saw to cut the panels in straight lines
  • A jigsaw for trimming
  • Drill or screw gun for attaching screws
  • Level to keep the panels straight
  • Construction adhesive to attach the panels to the walls before screwing
  • A touch-up kit to cover the caulk  

5. Orient The Panels

Before you start, dry fit the panels and determine the orientation or direction for installation. Your panels should go only one way. Installation should be left to right or right to left, depending on your chosen design.

You’ll notice from the picture above that the faux stone panels have a side that has “fingers”. This is the side that will be fitted to the other panels.

The other side is the “tongue” or the slot side. It’s important to check this first before cutting the panels, as you are going to cut the fingers side.

6. Trim The First Panel

Fake stone wall, plastic panel imitating natural slab

You can't start out with the "fingers" because it’ll leave a space on corners. Therefore, cutting the "fingers" straight is essential for the edge pieces. Cut the "fingers" to leave a square edge that you can start the design with.

The panels need to be cut like a jigsaw puzzle if you are installing them on walls with windows or electrical sockets, so make sure to take the correct measurements before cutting.

You can use a circular saw, jigsaw, or any wood-cutting tool to complete the job.

7. Install Metal Trim Pieces

This step is essential if there are windows or door frames in the way. Measure the windows or doors to install the metal trim pieces.

Cut the metal trim to the size of the window or door frame. Lastly,  screw the trims below the window or door frames before installing the panels.

8. Apply Adhesive To The Back Of The Panel

Once the trims are installed, it’s time to attach the panels. Make sure that you have cut them with the correct measurements before you start attaching the panels to the concrete wall.

A level will help you measure the alignment of each panel. To ensure that you are installing them in a straight line, draw a level line on the wall.

When you are done with dry fitting, add the adhesive to the back of the panel. Wipe the back with a tack cloth or any clean cloth.

After that, apply beads of construction adhesive to the panel in vertical lines starting two inches from the edge. Space each application in increments of at least six inches.

It is important to note that you should put adhesive on the slot or tongue of the panel as well to reduce shrinkage.

Click here to see this adhesive on Amazon.

9. Adhere The Panel To The Wall

Fit the panel with adhesive to the wall. Move the panel by slightly twisting it for better contact. Be sure to follow the level line that you have drawn.

Once in place, put a screw along the top or anywhere on the panel. It will be visually appealing if you put the screws on areas where it would not be seen easily.

Avoid over-tightening the screws. Remember to put up the panels the way you have oriented them, left to right or right to left, depending on where the “fingers” and “tongues” are. The idea is for the tongue keys to lock with the groove keys.

Secure the panels tightly together following the line you have drawn earlier. For multiple layers of application, repeat steps 8 and 9.

Fake stone wall, plastic panel imitating natural slab wall

10. Caulk The Gaps

After placing the panels, you will notice small seams between each panel. This is easily remedied by caulk. Apply caulk in the appropriate areas and wait for it to dry. Different caulks have different drying times, so be sure to read the label for instructions.

Be sure to use paintable caulk so you can touch it up later.

Click here to see this caulk on Amazon.

11. Touch Up The Caulk

The caulk you used may not be the same color as your panel, but this is not a problem. You can use touch-up paints to blend the caulk and make it disappear.

If you need to mix colors to get the same panel color, do so on a piece of scrap material.

Once you've finished installing the faux stone panels, you can enjoy a visually appealing concrete wall.

Final Thoughts

Room in a modern style. There is a TV on the white wall, white rack with a flower in vase

Adding faux stone panels can easily transform a boring concrete wall into a classic stone wall without the use of expensive, heavy stones. Installing these panels is easy, provided you have the right tools and measure the walls properly.

Before installing the panels, it is important to prep your wall. It is also a must to dry-fit your panels to make sure that each panel fits perfectly and fewer gaps are seen. The details of each step were discussed thoroughly in this post.

Finally, now that you have a guide, you’ll be able to start this DIY project confidently.

If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out these other articles:

Is Stone Veneer Worth It? Stone Interior Walls Pros and Cons

How To Install Brick Veneer On Drywall [Step By Step Guide]

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