Using a brick wall in any construction project can produce some great styles and finishes.
Brick is a strong, durable material that comes in a variety of colors, making it an easy choice for an industrial look.
Or, you can go the historical, exposed brick look to bring in the chic feeling.
Either way, there are numerous possibilities for using brick in any home restoration or installation project.
Unlike wood, however, it’s not as simple as hammering in some nails or drilling some screws into place.
To install bricks onto a wall, it takes a few more tools and patience.
Often, we see bad install jobs for brick walls because the workers didn’t follow any guides. They thought they knew what they were doing and didn’t’ stop to think.
It may seem like just slabbing on some paste and calling it good, but there’s more to consider.
You don’t have to make that same mistake.
To help people understand the best ways to set brick onto an area, we’ve rounded up some of the best tips to keep in mind when placing these materials onto different surfaces.
These tips will allow you to create your ultimate brick wall, wherever you want, and looking exactly how you planned.
Understand The Material You’re Working With
No, we’re not talking about the bricks themselves.
You need to know the type of material that the bricks you plan to place are going onto. Is it drywall, or a backerboard material? What about straight plank wood, or even metal lathe? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the type, so much as you understand the differences of installing onto them.
The biggest tip you’ll want to remember is that you need a solid substrate to truly install brick.
You can set up a wall just outside and around a portion of siding, but it won’t prove to be secure for the long run and having a huge pile of brick at risk of falling is not ideal.
This means that anything connected to your foundation, or poured into concrete, will work great, along with any cement mortar beds or backer boards. Make sure and do a check beforehand on the area you plan to install around.
Take the Temperature into Consideration
Piggy-backing off knowing the material, you also need to be mindful of the temperature when trying to set any bricks into place.
Anything that requires mortar, like brick, needs time to set after being slopped into place, and as such you’ll want the correct temperature that can keep the bricks from falling. You’ll want a
surface temperature of at least 55-degrees Fahrenheit, which is cold as is, but no more than 85-degrees warm.
If a temperature reaches a number below or over these two gauges, you could have a problem. You want the tiles to cure properly, so giving them the right climate to do so can enhance this process.
Know The Way To Lay Bricks
It may sound funny, but there is a certain art of laying bricks in the correct way, to fill in all the spots and keep everything the most secure.
The first step is to start with the corners.
To do this, simply build a small lead on each side of the wall or tiles and lay most of the course, or line, of bricks on each side. This will allow you to establish a height for each line and keep everything straight. Keeping track of how your wall looks will can keep everything level, and one of the best ways to do this is by using your eyes.
They’re on your head for a reason, and often the eye test can be a great indicator as to find any sloping portions or poorly constructed areas.
Speaking of levels, make sure to have a few on hand to check the evenness at any time.
Have More Materials Than You Think You Need
Again, this may be common sense, but an easy-to-forget tip when creating anything from bricks is having enough materials to finish the job.
It’s common for people to want to save money on any project, which makes sense, but having to wait for more materials to arrive to finish the job is worse. Thus, estimating the amount of bricks is crucial to a material budget, and overestimating is key to getting a job done on time.
There’s nothing worse than needing more time to do nothing.
A good rule of thumb is that for every 120 bricks (measuring 8-1/2-inches long) it will take 540-pounds of mortar. Using 60-pound bags is your best bet here.
This is in relation to laying a true brick wall around an area, not brick tiles, mind you.
Keep The Right Tools On Hand
Before you start any job, you should have the right tools to complete it.
That means that for bricklaying, you’ll want a specific set of tools to complete the job at hand. To start out, you’ll want a tape measure and carpenter’s level. Both, as previously mentioned, will prove to be crucial in lining everything up and keeping the build on track.
Next up, you’ll want a rake and shovel, along with a hand tamper. All of these are tools that you’ll use to keep everything looking clean, which influences what it will look like at the end of the project.
Finally, you’ll need some brick-specific tools: stakes, mason’s string, plastic edging, and landscape fabric. These items will go a long way in creating the specific brick wall look for your space. Stakes are used to hold bricks in place and keep track of each courses height.
Meanwhile, the string is necessary to guide the brick into place. These are made from two mason blocks connected with the string. When laying, you’ll want to keep the string tight and lined up with the edge of each row.
Ultimately, this is a major tool when setting that can be overlooked.
You’ll also want gloves and a respirator to keep yourself clean and safe when installing any brick walls.
A Straight Brick Wall Doesn’t Have To Be Boring
With any project, the ultimate look of the area is completely up to you, and even though bricks are a hard material, that doesn’t mean you have to be boring with the design.
There are many different brick types to consider for brick walls and utilizing different bricks for different settings can create an amazing decoration. We don’t recommend crazy designs or templates for any project, as it can get crazy, but using two different bricks can create a stylish effect.
Plus, sometimes the space just screams for a little bit of spice and knowing that you can install bricks of different proportions can help in making it work.
You Can Paint Your Bricks, Too
While it may be easier to simply choose a brick that matches the preferred design and color choice, bricks can be painted to any color, provided you do it the right way. Paint can add a certain pop to a brick or wall that it sits on and sometimes is a better choice than the natural color itself.
However, before doing anything with a paintbrush, you’ll want to make sure that the brick can be painted.
Older bricks that have many cracks or chips are not ideal candidates for any painting, and it could damage the structure of the bricks themselves. At the end of the day, brick isn’t, technically, designed to be painted anyway.
Be cautious, too, of any moisture that may get inside bricks and the mortar between them when painting. Water can enter bricks through pores, and wet paint adds to incomplete mortar joints.
Basically, the decision is yours to make, but just remember you can do it to certain surfaces. If you’d like to try it yourself, a good product to use is Sherwin Williams SuperPaint Exterior Latex.
Having A Brick Wall Can Be Great
It’s hard to ignore the bold design and strength of a brick wall.
Anything made of stone provides a clever design trait, especially when done the right way. There are plenty of ways to design a stone-based wall, and installing your own sculpture is always fulfilling.
It’s also easy to get mixed up with the wrong tool or material needed for setting bricks, so having some tips in mind before you start can be a major aid.
Getting caught up in the end goal can lead you to skip over crucial steps or not double checking a course, and ultimately leads to more time and effort on your part.
Of course, when done the right way, brick on a wall is a complimentary piece for almost any situation.