Brick Facing

Old 03-27-04, 06:47 PM
Bob Villa
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Brick Facing

First of all, this is for an interior wall. My basement currently has some 1978 style wood paneling along the concrete foundation. i plan to tear these walls out and hopefully, put brick facing right onto the concrete. I plan to do this myself.

As of this moment i know i need to following:

1- Wire mesh or something similar for the mortar to attach to
2- Nail gun to attach wire mesh
3- mortar
4- mixing pan
5- pointing tool
6- brick facing

Now my questions are simple. Is wire mesh the right thing to use for this project? If so, what is the style/type of mesh I should be using? If no, then what should I use to attach the mortar/ brick to the concrete wall?

I went to my local Home Depot but didnt see any brick facing, and havnt been able to find a price anywhere on the net. So what I need to know is how much brick facing costs. I know regular bricks are 40 cents each, and im hoping the facing would be around 15 cents. Rough facing is what I want if it matters.

And also how much mortar needs to be used, meaning how much should be between the concrete and the back of the brick. I dont think I need more than a half inch but I want to be sure.

If thats not enough questions already, then I have a few more. I plan on adding regular sheetrock walls around the corners of the basement for various rooms. One of them will be a bedroom. I want to know if the idea of 2 of the walls being brick and the other 2 being sheetrock is totally idiotic or not. If its not idiotic, then how should the sheetrock walls tie into the brick ones?

Old 03-28-04, 07:03 AM
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This sheet includes information on installing cultured brick indoors.

Hope this helps.
Old 03-28-04, 10:37 AM
Bob Villa
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Thanks. That offered a few answers for me. I'm confused by one thing though. It says if the brick is attached to a clean concrete wall that wire mesh isnt needed. I can just slap mortar and bricks up against the concrete without anything for it to look onto? It seems like the whole brick facing portion could just seperate from the concrete and basically fall over.

Also, that site didnt provide any information on prices. I looked over the whole site and only found that each carton covered 10 sq ft, but no price. The price is what I'm mostly looking for.
Old 03-29-04, 03:31 PM
Bob Villa
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Well on "froogle", googles new search engine, I found brick facing for $44.95 and so-on. It said the carton had 5 pieces or whatever. Now there is no way this can be right. Anybody know what the "5" could stand for? 5 sq ft?
Old 04-01-04, 09:30 PM
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Wherever you plan to get the brick from, is where you should check on its price. If you do not know where you are getting the brick from, then that should be your question not how much, if someone told you 2 dollars a square, it would do no good unless you knew where to go, so knowing where to get product is the place to ask for pricing, as with everything else, different places charge differently at different times and different style brick will have different prices.

Next: If you intend on applying the Z-brick (name brand) onto a block wall, and that wall is not painted in anyway and does not become accessively wet from rains or whatever, you will not need wire mesh. Properly applied, you will not be able to take the brick from the wall with out breaking it to pieces.

How much mortar to apply? If you take one brick and apply mortar to the back of it with a trowel to the thickness between 3/16 to 1/4 inches, then press it to the block wall on an even line that you have place on wall and press hard and twist a little that will be enough morar for on brick, take it from there. The excess that is sqeezed out is waste. After wall is complete you then need mortar to place between brick and then tool to the finish you want. Grout bad is used for applying mortar in between brick.

Best place to buy this type of product around here is at a block and brick suppkly plant and we have a cement plant that sells it. Maybe in your area you could start there.

I do not envy what you are attempting to do, I am a Bricklayer by trade, and charge 16 dollars a square foot, for this type of work.
That is just the labor. Reason so high is, that this has got to be one of the most tantalizing jobs their is. For a beginner, I shudder to think, hope you have plenty of patience.

Good Luck!

another thing you may try to parge the wall thinly and then placing brick on this with same pushing and a little twist. If done this way do not parge to far ahead, because the block wall will suck all the water from the mortar applied, if need be use bucket and brush to dampen the block wall then parge this will help prevent mortar from drying out to quick. Do not mix mortar with to much water, so as not to have brick slide down wall after letting go, experiment to find the right combination.
Old 04-02-04, 02:48 PM
Bob Villa
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very informative post, budday.

$16 a sf?! I say Ga-damn!

Going into this im expecting the hard part to be mixing the mortar properly. I fully expect the process of laying the facing to be very time consuming, but i dont really expect it to be all that "hard" to do. What you describe doesnt seem that difficult, how do you get away with charging $16?

I've got 217 sf of wall to do.
Old 04-02-04, 04:28 PM
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Laying fake stone made of same material is easier to lay by far then brick, they have many different designs to choose from. They do not have to be layed in a straight line and are much bigger then brick.

For this around 12 sq. ft.

Note this price is where I live, in the sticks of WV, I work out of a union making 25 dollars an hour.

In New York City Bricklayers get almost twice what my union wages are. There for a price of 16 a sq. ft there would be a bargain.

I hop you have thought about how many mortar joints you are going to have to fill with a grout bag, this involves mixing mortar to a slurry and troweling in to grout bag approx. two trowels worth of slurry, now take the bag and twist the top closed and keep turning and twisting the bag while the motar comes out the other end in a nice straight line fill in between the brick and not letting the mortar spill over on to the brick or not allowing gaping holes either. And this is the easy step. The work comes from trying to lay the brick in a straight line, when there really is no line to follow, if you put line on wall the mortar that squeeses out is going to obscure that line rendering almost usless, and therefore cause you to guess where the line was and brick out of line in this way show up badly. Your only hope would be to set string line up that will be about a 1/4 inch from brick that is level with floor and use this to aide in straightness, this is what I do.

It takes a lot of these little brick to fill a wall. and a lot of mortar joionts to fill. if you were to use a grapevine striker to tool the joints this would hide all mistake made by misalligned brick. if you use a rough faced brick, plan on spending almost half the time it took you to lay it for cleaning brick surface. Smoother the brick the easier to clean.

Mixing mortar is the easy part 1 part mortar to two part sand add water to attain desired thickness.

When you are done I wish you would write back and tell me how much you would charge someone else to do this.

This wall when done, and done right will last almost forever unlike anything wooden or carpet that is almost as expensive and could be alot more expensive depending on the carpet. Carpet life is around ten years if it is good carpet. normally 7 years

Enough for now have any more questions I am, here and have. fun.
Old 04-02-04, 08:24 PM
Bob Villa
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In New York City Bricklayers get almost twice what my union wages are. There for a price of 16 a sq. ft there would be a bargain.
Hmmm. I'm a union laborer in NYC and I know the highest paid "hands on" union guys are the iron workers, and they make somewhere around $45 an hour, so the bricklayers make less then that, I THINK around $31. Bottom line is that youre in a much better situation then they are.

Anyway, some of the laborers do carpentry, masonry, brick laying etc and ive learned a lot about this stuff from working with the older guys. Etc only experience Ive had with this type of work isnt even really realated to brick facing, which is why Its hard for me to figure certain things.

A bus crashed into the side of a building, knocking the block wall into the building. So we put in the brace above the broken wall line and relayed the block. all i did was stay in the building as the wall was being built, and basically pointed the joints and took the excess up to the top and dumped it inside the block center. Not really what I plan on doing in this home.

I got the brick facing idea from an episode of "Monster House" when they did that Speakeasy room for the Italian people. What they did was have plywood walls covered in that blacks tar looking paper, then they layed the facing on it.

The way they did it was by covering a few feet of wall with mortar, then added the bricks, I believe, with a string line at the top of the brick. They push the brick in the proper depth then pointed the joints.

Does that description sound like it makes sense, and would it be my best bet?

Youre a big help, thanks.
Old 04-03-04, 03:30 AM
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I just had to jump in here. Laying thin brick (that's what we call it around here) really is not all that hard. Like mowpar said, though, you need a lot of patience. Quite some time ago I laid about 70 sf of the stuff with having ever laid a conventional brick in my life and it came out great. Other than applying and tooling the mortar joints, it's more like setting ceramic tile than laying brick.

Before I set a single brick, I laid out and dry fit everything; I then chalked every horizontal coursing line and several vertical lines so I knew everything would be level and plumb. Remember I talked about patience? That was it!

After that, it's just like setting ceramic tile. In a couple days, after the adhesive sets up, you just apply the mortar in the joints with a grout bag. The only real trick here is to know when to tool the joint. I just kept checking until the consistency seemed right and away I went.

I'd say that if you are reasonably patient and reasonably handy, go for it. BTW, I humped block one summer when I was young (and stupid!) and, believe me, those masons deserve every cent they get!

Old 04-03-04, 10:05 AM
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totally confused

You talk of a show where they put black paper over plywood and then apllied brick.

Bruce talked about applying brick and after ADHESIVE dried, then grouted with mortar.

I thought and that you were using mortar as a backing, not adhesive, the brick used with ahesive is totally different then the brick used with mortar.

The back of a brick used for adhesive is smooth except for notching.

The back of a brick used for mortar is rougher then a cob.

I believe you did say that you were putting this brick over a non-painted block wall, if so Z-Brick type facing which is used for adhesive situations and can be put on plywood, drywall or on the floor if you like, but should not be used on bare faced block.

Use the string line, butter the back of each individual brick, or parge wall then press and twist with brick that is to be layed with a mortar backing, if you want to use Z-brick on the the block with the smooth back surface to avoid the mixing of mortar, I suggest you use Liquid Nail on the back of brick then press in place pull away for a few seconds then re-postion back to proper place, this will cause an almost intant bond.

I had the brick on my house, not fake, cut by wet saw down to 1/2 inch, and glued brick to a wooden frame I fashioned over the bay window, because I did not want to buy an angle iron then have to cut and weld it to shape just for the soldier course over the window.

These brick are still there 4 years later in an out door setting with no problems yet.

This would be better for you and would be like Bruce said setting tile and be eaisier and less messy then the mortar backed type of brick. Just make sure block are dry when applying as glue as you know will not adhere to damp surfaces not for long anyway.

Remind me never to come to NYC to lay brick, my mortgage on a brick rancher( was partially bricked when bought) 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath is only 500 a month, how can they make it in NYC on 31 dollars a month when the price of an apartment there is probably around 1100 a month, I guess the workers all come from Jersey.
Old 04-04-04, 06:56 AM
Bob Villa
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Hardly any of them live in Jersey. I slipped up though, the laborers make 31 an hour and the brick layers make around 38 or so.

You had a lot of good info in your last post.....but I'm getting confused a bit. Since Bruce came in you responded to him and me and Im not sure which you were talking about when you said certain things.....This shouldnt be so hard for me to grasp, but it is.

Are you saying the best way to do this is with the Z-brick using liquid nail then filling the joints using the grout bag?

Or are you saying I should apply mortar to the wall, then use the liquid nail on a regualr brick and point with a jointing tool as i go? Im sure this ISNT what you said but im just making sure.

And yes, clean concrete foundation wall with no paint, and im laying brick right on it.

Ok. What I had said about my plan of attack. I plan on spreading the mortar over a few sq ft space, thicker then need be, then pushing the brick into allowing ample mortar to fill the joints. Then point the joints as i lay the bricks out, so its all done in basically one step. As an added bonus, i dont need to figure out this grout bag buisness that sounds difficult to do for a first timer.

Now I ask you, considering ive never don this before, is this the easiest way to do this?
Old 04-04-04, 08:36 AM
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ok, adhesive out mortar in, the method you mentioned has a few problems that come along with it.

Thick bed of mortar will make it hard for brick face to seat properly.

This type of application brick to wall, works through suction between the brick and block suction being caused by the layer of mortar that is between the two.

The mortar by itself without this suctioning going on would not hold the brick to wall for very long.

This is why the fake brick have such a rough surface, and that is to create the suctioning type of action.

If you coat wall with a thick coat of mortar, enough to take care of both sticking and tooling you may loose the suction, only way to do it this way, would be to grind the brick through the thick bed of mortar with a twisting motion, twisting is in an effort to get most of unneeded mortar from behind brick so as to create the vacuum for the brick to stay in place.

You would not stop pressing the brick toward the wall until you actually felt the wall stop your progress, if you stop before this and say that you think that this is enough, and that your mortar joint looks established enough to tool the vacuum would not be there and would be prone to come off later, when who know maybe years.

Also pressing the brick against the wall, and like I said stopping only when the block wall is contacted, gives you the proper dept that will allow all following pressed in and applied brick to be at the same distance from the wall, as the brick are uniform thicknesses it will give you a nice flat wall. If you push the brick in and stop when you think it is enough you will have an uneven surface.

If you try to spread a thick coat of mortar, and as I said push and grind your way through the mortar to contact the wall to create the vacuum needed, which would be the proper way to do apply the brick using this metod, by the end of a few courses your will start to feel like Popeye's and by the next course your arms will start to cramp, for it will not be easy trying to drive a flat brick through all the mortar needed to create mortar joint.

Forgot to mention if you do not contact the wall and create the vacuum effect, but instead leave brick away from way just even a little, when the mortar is set enough to strike, tool or rake, depending on which method or style joint you want the grick will move around enough to ruin the straight line up an dow and in and out.

If I were you I would apply thin coat, apply brick by way of a level line that is leveled by measuring up from floor to top of each course on each side of wall attached to a firring strip or some othe wood device. Clean the excess mortar from between the brick as you go as this space you want fresh mortar to occupy later. As to using a grout bag I did not mean to get you not to use it by telling you the steps it took to use one I just wanted you to be prepared for what was involved in this step, believe me by the time you use the grout bag for about an hour you will have learned what to do to avoid mistakes and think that this is a great invention which it is for this purpose. It is not that hard, just time consuming and a bit messy at first.

Drive nails into the strips at either side an wrap line around one end pull tight and wrap around other nail on other strip.

Try to position line as close to the finished line of brick at the top edge without actully contacting brick face, and make sure, that the mortar that is sqeezed out does not interfere with the line or stick to the line causing line to sage.

How about a nice stone wall instead?

just kidding, hurry up week-end id almost gone!

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