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I put screen around the oven. Now do I put mortar and scratch it? Let it dry and then put the stone on? Or do I put mortar on the screen and apply the stone while it is wet? New at this so be patient with me LOL
I've never worked with real stone, so I can't help you with the specifics of your question. I have used the stone veneer, and the guy who made it told me to spread mortar on the back of the stone like slathering peanut butter on, then just stick it to the concrete block. It worked beautifully. Each piece of veneer is a different size, so it's like piecing together a puzzle, and I didn't want to spread the mortar directly on a section of the concrete block for fear that it would dry out before I found just the right sized piece to fit the space. The peanut-butter method was just right for my pace.
One of the pros here on this site recommended using Thinset Stone and Tile--said it was even stickier and easier to use. I'm going to try that as soon as my current supply of mortar runs out.
I know other people here have worked with natural stone, so perhaps they can chime in and give you material-specific advice.
A scratch coat makes a good base to apply stone, but not needed. I wood use the thin set as is better bonding power, and less chance af falling off. With real stone make sure your starter course is dry before you go higher.Then do a few rows a day and you should be fine.