Brick veneer siding

    Masonry Chicago Guide: How to Install Brick Veneer

    How to Install Brick Veneer: Your Easy Guide

    A brick wall gives a house a classy and traditional look, turning a dull tract home into a characterful and attractive dwelling. Just because you have a wooden framed house doesn’t mean you can’t also have a brick house. With brick veneer siding you can turn any wall into a brick wall, quickly and easily. If you choose to create a brick feature wall inside your home you might want to consider doing this as a DIY project, but if you want to cover house exterior with brick veneer siding, speak to Masonry Chicago, experts in brickwork, brick veneer, and siding. Contact our team of brickwork experts today at 773-231-5371 or email [email protected]

    What is brick veneer siding?

    Did you know that very few solid brick houses are built today? That may seem hard to believe as you often see brick homes in nice neighborhoods, but the secret is out. Those houses are probably standard wooden-framed homes, just like yours, but with brick veneer siding.

    Now, you’re probably thinking, aren’t bricks just bricks? And if so, what’s a brick veneer?

    Face brick siding

    In some cases brick veneer siding can be a layer of real bricks, built into a wall by masons, and attached to the wooden frame of the house, leaving a gap for insulation. This is usually called face brick siding and usually needs to be part of the original house design, as it is built onto the foundation.

    Brick veneer

    More commonly, brick walls that you see are made from special thin bricks, or brick veneer, which are usually attached to a house like tiles, similar to other siding materials. This type of brick veneer is also normally used for a feature brick veneer interior wall..

    Is brick veneer a good siding?

    Like other construction materials, brick veneer siding has several pros and cons, but if you want to turn your cookie-cutter tract house into a beautiful brick home then it’s the best option.

    Pros of brick veneer

    • Looks like real brick but with much less hassle.
    • Can be used to upgrade a house.
    • Quick and easy to install, especially if brick veneer panels are used.
    • Cheaper than using real, full-sized bricks.
    • Long-lasting and durable.
    • Low maintenance.
    • Environmentally friendly, especially if reclaimed bricks are used.

    Cons of brick veneer

    • More expensive than most other siding materials, apart from stone.
    • Bricks are not water-resistant so can cause problems in very wet climates.
    • The mortar will probably crack over time, or due to movement and will need to be re-pointed.

      How do you lay thin brick veneer?

      Thin brick veneer installation is a fairly straightforward job, although if you want to install an exterior brick veneer wall, it is generally recommended that you hire a professional masonry company, like Masonry Chicago.

      However, if you are installing brick veneer on an interior wall, to give a room a more cozy, traditional feel, you might want to attempt the job yourself. Here is our simple guide to installing a brick veneer wall.

      How to install brick veneer on interior wall

      Here we outline the steps for installing brick veneers on an interior wall, using individual thin brick veneers.

      Tips for installing brick veneer

      • Before you start you need to ensure that the wall you are turning into a brick veneer wall is suitable for the project. If it’s a larger surface or your drywall isn’t the most solid or you’re putting up brick veneer over a large area you might want to put up cement board first.
      • Prepare some pieces of half brick, by cutting bricks in half, so you can arrange your bricks in a traditional staggered pattern. You can cut your thin bricks in half using either a  brick chisel and hammer or a brick saw.
      • If you are putting your veneers around a corner you will want to make sure you have some corner pieces to give the wall an authentic brick appearance.
      • While you can use mortar to attach the bricks to the wall, for interior installation we recommend using brick adhesive or mastic.
      • Depending on how precise you want your brick placement to be you may want to use spacers or mark out horizontal and vertical lines on your wall. Some people prefer a more rustic brick wall effect so will prefer to place the veneer pieces by eye.
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            Installation steps

            1. The first step is to make sure your wall is clean and free of any debris and you have a flat surface to work with.
            2. Measure and mark out the wall with any guide-marks to help keep your wall straight.
            3. Start laying the first course, starting from the bottom row.
            4. Apply adhesive to the back of the brick tile and press onto the wall. Choose an adhesive that can be adjusted slightly but doesn’t cause the tiles to slide down the wall.
            5. Leave some space between the tiles for the grout. The size of spaces is up to you – the larger the spaces the more rustic the appearance. You can use pieces of wood dowel as spacers or buy them from the hardware store.
            6. After a few rows make sure your rows are level. You can use a bubble level to check this. Placing the tiles can be a time-consuming process, but you don’t need to do it all in one go.
            7. Once all the tiles are in place and the adhesive has dried you can begin to fill in the mortar joints. Mix your mortar following the manufacturer’s instructions and place it into a grout bag. You don’t have to use a grout bag but it is strongly recommended.
            8. Squeeze the mortar out of the grout bag, as you would cake icing, filling all the gaps, both horizontal and vertical, between the tiles.
            9. After you have put mortar in a few rows you’ll want to use a tuck-pointing tool to give the mortar joints a smoother neater look. Then clean away any excess mortar on the tiles using a wet sponge.
            10. Once the grouting process is complete leave your new wall to dry and enjoy the stylish new addition to your home.
            11. If your thin brick installation is in an area that’s likely to come into contact with moisture, like a kitchen or bathroom, you may want to seal the finished wall, using a water-resistant seal

            How much does thin brick veneer cost?

            Like most construction jobs, prices are quoted per square foot, so the cost of installing brick veneer will very much depend on the size of the wall you are covering and whether you are covering the entire wall or only part of the wall.

            • Brick veneer – There are various types of brick veneer siding, from individual thin bricks and reclaimed bricks to brick veneer panels, and depending on the option you choose they should cost around $3 – $10 per square foot.
            • Supplies – You will also need to use some sort of adhesive and mortar to attach the brick veneer to the wall, and you may also have to prepare your wall before installing brick veneer. Expect to spend about $0.50 per square foot on extra supplies.
            • Labor – if you do the installation yourself you can save on labor costs, but if you’re not experienced at DIY or you’re undertaking a larger job like adding brick veneer to an exterior wall, you might want to pay a mason to install it for you. Depending on the complexity of the job, how high up the installation is, and where you are in the country you should pay from $3 – $20 per square foot.

              Frequently Asked Questions

              What is the difference between thin brick and brick veneer?

              In general terms, thin brick and brick veneer are the same things. Brick veneer pieces are usually made from real, thin brick. However, you can also get faux brick veneer which is a type of siding that is made to look like bricks but is usually made from polyurethane.

              Can you install brick over stucco?

              If you’re tired of the old-fashioned look of a stucco house you can install brick veneers on top of the stucco. You’ll need to ensure the stucco is clean and free of damaged or loose areas before you begin installation to ensure the siding attaches firmly to the wall.

              Can thin brick be installed on drywall?

              Thin brick veneer pieces can successfully be installed on top of drywall sheets. You will need to make sure that your drywall is solid and has no peeling paint or damaged areas, to ensure a strong surface for the brick veneer.

              If your drywall doesn’t seem so solid you might want to attach a cement board to the drywall, attaching it to the studs in your wall. This will give a more solid base for your brick veneers to attach to.

              Can you put brick veneer on plywood?

              Plywood is not the ideal material to install brick veneer on top of, as it is a porous material and is at risk of dampness and mold. However, if you add a water-resistant surface, like a cement board, to the plywood, you can easily install your brick veneers on top of that.

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