Introduction: How to Build an Interior Half - Brick Veneer Wall
1. Determine what type of floor structure you have below the wall where you plan to install the veneer. If it is a concrete slab on grade, you are good to go. If you have an elevated floor, you need to determine what kind of structure it is and it will likely need to be reinforced with additional floor joists and possibly columns and footings to distribute the load down to a solid foundation. You might consult with a licensed structural engineer before proceeding with this project. Depending on the brick type you choose, this type of brick veneer may weigh upwards of 20 pounds per square foot of wall.
2. Determine how much brick you will need. I explain how to calculate this in detail in the video. Measure the wall and determine the total square feet of wall to be covered. Then determine how many square feet each brick will cover. Make sure to add 3/8" to the actual height and width of each brick to account for the mortar joint. Divide the square feet of the wall by the square footage of one brick. This will give you the quantity of half brick you need. Divide this number by 2 to calculate the total number of full brick you will need. Add between 8 and 10 percent to this number to account for waste.
3. Purchase the brick. The brick will cost less if you buy it by the cube as opposed to buying individual brick. One cube is approximately 500 brick. This may vary depending on the size of the brick you choose.
4. Cut the brick in half lengthwise. You will need a wet saw for this operation. There are inexpensive ones out there that should work for you. You can always sell the saw on Craigslist or E-bay after you finish the wall if you will not need the saw after the project is completed.
5. Remove any base, wood trim or flooring material from the wall. You will want to protect the remaining flooring if you do not plan to replace it - this is a messy process. Do this with plastic and either plywood or cardboard.
6. Turn off power to any receptacles, boxes or switches in the wall and free the electrical boxes so the can be moved flush with the new wall. You may be able to find and install extensions or deep plaster rings to the existing electrical boxes. These will to flush them with the new wall without having to move them.
7. If you plan to install a television or other heavy items to the wall, you will want to install blocking to support the weight. If you are installing a wall mount television, you will want to extend the wiring from an existing receptacle to a new power box behind the TV. You will also want to install boxes for data cabling for the TV. You don't want to go through all this work only to dangle ugly wires across your brick to get them to the TV.
8. Begin by coating the back side of about 6 half bricks with thin set tile adhesive using a notched trowel. Lay a bed of mortar on the floor enough for about three or four bricks. Butter with a little mortar, one side of one of your adhesive coated bricks. Set the brick in the mortar bed and press it firmly to the wall. Be careful not to get mortar behind the brick as it will interfere with it's adhesion to the wall. I found that spraying each brick with a small amount of water helps to adhere the mortar to the brick. Check the brick for level with a torpedo level. You can use a larger level as you progress.
9. As you progress with your coursing, you will want to temporarily put nails into the wall on each side and pull a taught string line to help keep your coursing straight an level. Ensure the nails you are attaching the string line to are level by taking measurement from the floor or ceiling (assuming those are level).
10. You will want to have some sort of mechanical attachment of your veneer to the wall structure behind it.This brick is very heavy and you should not rely on the adhesive to the drywall alone to keep it attached. Mechanically attach the wall to the structure by installing a 2-1/2" screw into each stud and leave the screw protruding into one of the mortar joints by approximately one inch. When you lay the mortar bed for the next course, the mortar will surround the head of the screw and hold it fast to the structure. These screws should be installed every 16" vertically (which works out to about every 5th course). Use deck screws that are coated with a rust inhibitive coating and has a course thread that will firmly bite into the stud.
11. Make sure to clean and tuck your mortar joints well as you progress. This is much easier to do before the mortar is set. If you are looking for a vintage look, you may want to dig out some of the mortar in random places to make the wall look like it's been there a long time. This will also give the wall some depth and texture.
12. When you are finished laying the brick, clean the wall with a solution of 20% muratic acid/80% water and a stiff brush. Clean wall from the top to the bottom. This will remove the any mortar residue and hazing from the brick. Us protective gloves when working with this solution as it is very caustic. You may also want to ventilate the room depending on the size area you are working in because the fumes from the acid can be noxious. You can seal the wall if desired after the wall has dried from the cleaning.