Installing Brick Veneer: 4 Tips

By installing brick veneer on your interior or exterior walls you can get the look of traditional brick, but it won't cost as much and it takes a lot less time. An experienced DIY-er can easily do this project. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Lightweight Brick Veneer

This type of brick veneer is the easiest to use when installing brick veneer on interior walls. First you need to clean the surface and remove all dust and dirt. Then check the paint by sticking a piece of masking tape to it and pulling it off. If any paint comes off, then you will have to remove the paint and prepare the surface before applying the adhesive.

The next step is to check for moisture. Tape a piece of plastic over a section of the wall and leave it there for 24 hours. Moisture accumulating on the plastic means that you will have to affix a new base (such as sheet rock) before installing brick veneer.

Starting at the top of the wall, spread adhesive evenly over the section of wall where you will be installing brick veneer. If the area you are covering with veneer is large, then work in sections no larger than 2 feet by 4 feet. You should be able to complete a section of that size without worrying about the adhesive drying too soon. Then tack up lines of string that run from one side of the project area to the other, making sure they are level. This will give you a guide to lay the brick veneer. Space the bricks about 3/8 inch apart. Fill in the gap with a caulk that resembles mortar for a natural look.

2. Installing Brick Veneer over a Wood Surface

Before you begin, you have to prepare the surface to accept the brick veneer. The entire work surface needs to be covered with metal lath. If it is an exterior wall, most local building codes require you to protect the wood surface with waterproof paper before you install metal lath. After you have put the metal lath in place, the next step is to spread a thin, even layer of mortar over it. Then, while the mortar is still wet, take a rake and create “scratches.” This is called a scratch coat and it will help the bricks adhere better to the wall.

3. Prefabricated Panels

When planning your project and deciding what materials to buy, consider using prefabricated thin brick veneer panels. It is faster than laying individual bricks and with them installing brick veneer becomes something the average homeowner can do easily. Often traditional ceramic installation techniques are used to install the prefabricated panels. The panels come in a variety of sizes, styles and colors.

4. Half Bricks

No matter what pattern you choose, it is very likely you will need to make at least some half bricks to ensure the entire wall is covered when installing brick veneer. Draw up a pattern and figure out exactly how many bricks and half bricks are required for the project. Then, before you begin laying bricks, cut as many bricks in half as you need using a cutting tool. Doing this at the beginning of the project will save you time later.