Picture of how to build an indoor rock wall
so you've got a comfy cozy wood stove, but now what do you put behind it? can't necessarily use dry wall, unless you like your house on fire. you could keep the cement board on, even though it's ugly as sin. why not put a rock wall in?

this Instructable will show you step by step how to put up a rock wall and make your house a home, all for under 50 bucks (if the cement board is already up).

you will need the following materials for a 8 x 12 wall

6 80 pounds of Type S Mortar Stucco Mix
4 pounds of 3 inch decking screws
30 one inch by five inch metal tie downs
150 or more rocks (see step one for specifics)
a five gallon bucket
a trowel (we found a flat drywall trowel worked best)
plastic sheeting (to put on the floor)
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Get your rocks

Picture of get your rocks
we're lucky enough to have a stream running through our property, so all we did was jump down into the stream and grab a bunch of flat rocks.

here are the keys for good rocks for a rock wall

flat (no bumps greater than an inch larger than the rest of the rock)
thin (no thicker than 2 inches)
relatively small (rocks should be at most one foot by one foot large, they are hard to put up when they are larger than this.

how many rocks will you need?
that depends on the size of the wall you are attempting. ours was 8x12 and we got approximately 150 rocks of varying sizes.

Step 2: Get your mortor

Picture of get your mortor
for our rock wall we needed six 80 pound bags of Sakrete Mortar/stucco type S mix

you will need High Strength!! do not attempt this project with medium strength or anything other than the high strength stuff, we tried it with medium strength and the stuff does not work well.

you will also need a five gallon bucket for the mixing of the mortar.
milesnorth1 year ago
Hello, I love your wall and am hoping to replicate something similar. However, I dont understand what the "tiedowns" are and the purpose for them. Do you have any pictures of them and the way you put them on the wall? Holding rocks on? ???????? clueless in chugiak, alaska. THANKS.
milesnorth2 years ago
very nice, giving me ideas :-)
sentnl6 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Cthulu sentnl6 years ago
Wow, lay off of the caps lock buddy. And if you think you can lay rock better, please post an instructable on how to do so.
Legadon6 years ago
heh heh I came her looking for a different type of Rock wall....
My friend's dad built one of these. He included one or two realistic-looking lizards in among the rocks! They were so cool, and the were unobtrusive, so you didn't see them until you had looked at it a while. Fun!
You need to reposition your hanging baby roaster, it's rather off-centered. It looks very unprofessional when it's not hanging directly above the wood stove. Plus, you can't truly replicate that mesquite flavor after the heat diffuses away from it.
caitlinsdad6 years ago
Nice job.

There might be a few with construction trade experience that will say:
  • I hope you rebuilt the wall with the proper vapor barrier installed with the insulation.
  • Make sure you tape the backerboard joints with the proper alkali resistant fiberglass tape(not the drywall kind) to keep joint expansion from popping the rocks off your wall.
  • You could have used thinset to adhere the rock to the wall. And you do need to moisten the backerboard so it doesn't draw all the moisture out of the thinset as it cures. Mortar is more for filling in joints a vertical build like piling rocks or bricks on top of each other. That is why you need the metal ties to keep it from pulling away from the wall.
  • You shouldn't add water to a batch of mud after it has "slaked" or started its chemical reaction and begins to cure or dry, you will only weaken the mix.
  • You should use a notched trowel to "burn-in" the thinset to the wall and back butter the rocks/stones to help the adhesion. The proper size notch assures that the right amount of adhesive is there after you smush it up on the wall. A big glob of mud will take a lot longer to cure.
  • You let the wall set up and then go back to grout inbetween the rocks.
  • You can purchase spacers or improvise to keep the grout line consistent. You can put up a string line or use a 2x4 or level to keep the face even.
  • They do sell veneer-type rocks or even fiberglass fake rocks to install on a wall if you are worried about weight.
  • has a great forum for details on masonary and tiling subjects.
Very nice instructable. One thing I would recommend, though, is that if you can get your hands on some cultured stone that may be a better option. And you may be able to get it with this same budget. Back when I was landscaping we did a number of new homes in some very nice neighborhoods. We would get there the day or week after they had just put the finishing touches on the house, and in this area that means cultured stone. I'd say that about 90% of the time they had a 1/3 or 1/2 pallet of stone left over that usually just got thrown out. Cultured stone is lighter weight, so it would make building a wall easier, for sure. Find a new housing development and see if you can make a deal with the contractors. Cheers! -DMC
crapflinger6 years ago
it would be nice to get some more detailed pictures...especially of the antique nail bit
Very nice job and decent instructable. I'm considering the very same project, but was wondering something: Aren't you worried about all that weight? Is your floor joist hefty enough for all that added mass? I also assume your walls are standard 2 x 6 correct? You may want to explain to folks how/why the metal tie downs work. I'm familiar w/ them from past use, but I'm sure a lot of folks won't understand why you need them. Nice wall and nice instructable! j
Looks like a great job, well done... One thing that might be handy for the larger rocks is cobbling together a vague hoist like assembly out of some pipe and castors, to make getting them in just the right place easier... Of course that's only if you start to get lazy...