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Installation Methods-2. Vertical Installation

Updated:2007-11-19 11:37:31
2.1 Thin tiles of 12" square, or 18" square pieces in thicknesses ranging from 3/8" to 3/4" are often used for interior cladding set in cement mortar bed on masonry backup, or set with a "thin-set" method using a Latex admixture in cement mortar spread on sheet-rock panels on studs, or set on thin cement board panels nailed or screwed to the studs. 

For "wet" walls in bathrooms, plastic sheets shall be installed between the studs and the cement boards. Serrated trowels will provide an average of 1/ 8" to 3/16" thickness of thin-set backup to the thin tiles. Hairline, or 1/16" wide joints shall be used for natural stone tile cladding for interior application. 
Marbles classified in Group C and D, reinforced with nylon mesh in an epoxy (or polyester) film on the back of the marble tile, shall be ground off for proper adherence. 

The "thin-set" tile application or cement mortar applied to thin tiles, without the use of mechanical anchors is NOT recommended for exterior wall cladding. Weathering resistance and durability of thin tiles exposed to hostile environment is limited. Freeze and thaw cycles, water entering into joints and behind the stone, installation imperfections, and numerous other hazards are good reasons to avoid exterior stone-tile without mechanical anchoring and without well designed weep slots and air ventilation.

2.2 Natural stones conventionally anchored to back-up structure or to masonry.

Anchoring devices are installed to resist lateral and gravity loads. Anchoring components shall be designed as simply as possible, with the fewest components and types to be adjustable, and with careful prevention of galvanic and chemical corrosion. Anchors for conventionally installed natural stone are usually designed to work laterally, on tension. To resist lateral compression, mortar spots are placed in the setting space, usually at the location of the anchors, and at mid-span between the anchors.

2.2.1 Thick stone veneer ashlar.

Approximately 4"-thick random rectangular shaped natural stone is often used to achieve a rustic appearance on exterior cladding. It is recommended that sufficient air space be left behind the stone veneer for air circulation, and to provide vent holes (or vent slots) near the bottom and the top of the wall. To stabilize such stone veneer, the use of mechanical anchors is necessary. Corrugated stainless steel strap anchors are acceptable with occasional cement mortar spots in the cavity near the anchors to resist positive lateral loads.

2.2.2 Conventionally anchored thin stone veneer to back up structure or to masonry.

Cement mortar is used for exterior installations. Plaster of Paris may be used for interior application. Stainless steel strap anchors or rod anchors are used for exterior walls to resist tensional forces, with cavity between the structure and the thin stone veneer. Occasional cement mortar spots are used near the anchors, to resist lateral loads (compression). Vent holes or vent slots are provided for exterior installations near the bottom and the top of the wall. Interior thin stone veneer is usually installed using brass wire anchors and Plaster of Paris. No vent holes are used for interior stone veneer.

2.2.3 Mechanically installed stone veneer.

Stone slabs are anchored, piece by piece, to a metal grid system which in turn is secured to the building's structure. Such installations are made either from scaffolds or from the floor slab. Miscellaneous steel, such as rectangular tube, different types and sizes of uni-struts, clip angles and "Z" shapes may be used to substitute for a masonry backup. These miscellaneous steel components are supported by the structural steel and the anchors are attached to the miscellaneous steel members. Lateral and vertical adjustability is accomplished through proper design of the miscellaneous steel components and/or anchoring components

2.2.4 Floor to floor panel installation.

Thicker stone slabs are used extending from floor slab to floor slab, usually without the use of scaffolds. Stainless steel seat angles are mostly used for gravity support, with welded tabs on the horizontal edge to resist lateral forces and adjustable stainless steel anchors are installed in the perimeter joints. At locations where some of the joints are exposed, concealed anchors are installed to replace perimeter anchors

Stone veneer installed to curtain-wall components.

This is done similar to the glazing method or with the introduction of special aluminum extrusions for gravity and lateral supports. Matching kerfs are provided to receive the extrusions

2.2.6 Pre-assembled systems.

Stone panels are built in a shop under controlled conditions. Such systems are sometimes built on to reinforced precast concrete backing. Such stone faced precast panels are often designed with reinforced concrete hunch for gravity and/or lateral support. A slip sheet is applied in between the precast concrete and its stone facing to accommodate differential movement. Stainless steel cross dowels, or hairpin anchors of different shapes are used to tie the precast and the natural stone together. A minimum of one pair of anchor legs is designed for every 3 square feet. The newest applications have rubber grommets installed on the anchors at the back of the stone panels to allow concrete shrinkage and differential movement, without any damage to the stone.

To pre-assemble lighter panels, stone slabs may be installed in a plant on metal trusses, or on frames of different sizes or shapes. Miscellaneous steel, such as tubes, channel sections, and angles are used to build the stone supporting frames which must coordinate the needs of all components to be housed within the pre-assembled panel such as flashing, drainage, or insulation.

2.2.7 Curtain-wall installations.

Stone, glass, and aluminum components offer cost effective cladding of high rise buildings.

Stick system. For field-assembled curtain-wall, aluminum vertical mullions and horizontal components are extruded, cut to size, pre-punched and pre-drilled for connections and weep holes. Properly numbered they are then shipped loose for job site erection. Glass and stone are used as glazed panels. Silicone sealant is used for watertight sealing and carefully designed bites and aluminum pockets are used to accommodate anticipated building movements and to prevent air and water infiltration

Unitized curtain-wall systems may have glass and stone shop-installed into prefabricated frames. The size of the designed units is governed by shipping limitations and field conditions. Stone slabs of a minimum 1-1/4" thickness are either set in pockets similar to glass or are kerfed for mechanical anchoring. Extreme care is required to move, transport and field-erect unitized curtain-walls

2.2.8 Field conditions shall be examined, if possible, before installation starts. An experienced foreman or supervisor shall lay out the necessary lines and grades from the engineering marks provided by the General Contractor.

Tools, anchoring devices, other materials and equipment shall be organized and lined up by the time installation starts. 

Fabricating, shipping, unloading, and distribution shall be carefully planned so that sufficient stone arrives at the job-site in logical setting sequence. Stone should be stored reasonably close to the setting place, to insure trouble-free continuous installation.

2.2.9 Installation shall be in strict accordance with specifications and approved shop drawings. Safety regulations shall be strictly observed.

Erection tools, chain hoists, scaffolds, etc. shall be inspected and, if necessary, reconditioned for safe and effective use on the job.

2.2.10 Scaffolds generally used for stone cladding may be classified into four types:

    (1) Frame scaffolding
    (2) Suspended scaffold for material handing
    (3) Suspended swinging scaffold
    (4) Bosun's chair

(1) Frame Scaffolding is normally used for stone installation of  limited height. It can be used above 30 feet in height, but must be tied back to the structure.

(2) Suspended Scaffold designed for material handling is normallyused by brick masons for installing brick and block walls on high-rise buildings. Occasionally, they are also used for installation of stone cladding, where cladding units and materials must be stored on the scaffold.

These scaffolds are usually 5-feet wide and are suspended at four points from steel wire rope.

(3) Suspended swinging scaffolds are suspended only at two points, from steel wire rope, and are not designed for material handling. Swinging scaffolds have a better efficiency rating because one can raise or lower them with greater ease and in less time. Commonly used lengths are from 12' to 24' at 2-foot intervals. Stirrups are 28" wide. A safety line is required for each person riding a swinging scaffold.

(4) Bosun's Chair is normally used for minor repairs or limited stone installation. The operator has little control keeping the chair in a working position. It is NOT recommended for use if wind is over  5 m.p.h.

When using any type of scaffold, the safety rules and manufacturer's instructions shall be strictly complied with.

3 Preparation and supervision are the keys to successful installation. Clear, readable, logically numbered, and detailed shop drawings are essential.

Shop drawings shall give all necessary information to fabricate and install all stone requirements and should also indicate tolerances with all materials and components fully identified.

source: Building Stone Institute
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