thin brick finish work

Old 10-28-01, 01:52 AM
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I installed thin brick 3x8x 1/2" up a wall 8 ft using 1/2" mortar joints. What would be the most successful method in filling the mortar joints. Would using a ceramic floor tile grout be good, or difficult. Or maybe portland and sand mix in a grout bag be better? Any suggestions on preping the surface would also be helpful such as sealers?
Old 10-28-01, 12:43 PM
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Fill using a grout bag or mortar gun. A local rental yard
might have a quickpoint mortar gun available for rental.

Tile grout is made with white portland cement, among other
things, so both items are similar... but they are not the

Sanded tile grout is an option if higher material costs and
what may turn out to be pronounced color variations across
the wall are acceptable. Type N mortar, [ made with type N
masonry cement to avoid lime run and efflorescence], would
be a good substitute. Sacked mortar mix is another option.
Sand mix plus portland contains no plasticizer. Drawbacks
include difficult squeezing and tooling, final texture, and
shrink cracking.

Seal in about 30 days after completion. The two general
categories of sealers are topical and penetrating. Chose
one then stick with that type and brand.
Old 10-28-01, 03:24 PM
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Talking Type N.... mortar gun

Thank you for your information. You sound very knowledgable in this trade. It is people like you that gives us information making this internet access possible.

Next question is where do you get type N mortar. I am a tile installer on the finishing end of a job that I was talked into installing this thin brick on the walls. The mortar gun sounds convenient. Thanks for the info

Slack time necessary on mixing this type of mortar, how much mud should be mixed at a time, and would any acid washing be necessary due to finished wood work enclosing brick work.
Old 10-28-01, 06:10 PM
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Thanks, but gasps exist in that knowledge base. [I don't know it all]. Type N mortar is a mortar specification. It can be made with portland cement plus masons lime and sand or 1 part Type N masonry cement and 2.25 to 3 parts masonry sand. The latter is the better option in your case.

For type N masonry cement try a larger building supply [not home warehouse centers] or a masonry yard. Your tile dealer may be able to obtain a sack for you also. In some areas type N is simply refereed to as masonry cement (type N is assumed and dropped).

Slack time is about 10 minutes. Mix as much as you can use within one hour. That number depends on you and your tools. Grout bag & planking for the upper wall...maybe 1 to 2 cu.ft. Ladder...less. Mortar gun...more. Try a 1 cu. ft. batch for starters & time yourself.

Being a tile setter you're familiar with grout release and grout remover. Use either or both instead of acid washing with muriatic if you feel the need. Muriatic will discolor some types of brick. If you decide to use it try some in a joint before filling. If the need arises Prosoco Inc. manufactures products designed for masonry cleaning and restoration. See the Sure Klean line, 600. The same should be available at building supplies or masonry yards.

If a grout bag is used, you can save some of the cleanup problems by purchasing a large round cake decorating tip from a baking or cake decorating supply, [some supply stores carry the equivalent], and then flatten the tip slightly without distorting the cone portion. A piece of wood jammed into the tip and light taps with a hammer works well.
Old 10-29-01, 01:47 AM
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Thanks. Your knowledge was greatly appreciated. We'll let you know of the outcome.
Old 11-04-01, 09:39 AM
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where do you live?
If your in the Michigan area, Gibraltar Cement makes a mortar specifically for grouting 1/2" BRICK.

I have installed and grouted 1/2" brick for years..

First use a grout bag and a number 5 tip.

Mix mortar in a 5 gal pale using a drywall whip and heavy duty mixing drill..

The mortar should be mixed so that it flows through the bag without tons of effort.. you dont want it to wet so that it pours out of the bag on its own, but you do want it thin enough you dont fight it to much.

The joints should be filled completely where the mortar is sticking out past the face of the brick about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.. as this starts to set up and become firm I strike off the excess mortar by using a 1 1/2" thick pipe (works much better than a jointing tool on 1/2 brick) and raking it across the face of the brick.. This will compress mortar into the joint filling it completley and also knock off the excess mortar at the same time. Rake your head joints (side) first then rake the bed joints (top and bottom).

After this is completed and the mortar is almost dry take a firm bristled bruch and run it back and forth over the face of the brick on a 45 degree angle.. This will take the small amount of mortar remaining off the face of the brick without raking off the joints..

Last you can wash the face of the brick with muratic acid I usually mix 25% acid with 75% water.. be sure to rinse the wall well after washing with muratic acid.

always wash from bottom up.. eleminates streaking..

If you have brushed it good with the firm brush the acid washing should go easy..

Good Luck


If you can't find the proper pointing bags let me know, I probably have 100 or so left over from my brick days and can help ya out there.. You pay frieght and the stuff is yours, so the price is right :-))
Old 11-04-01, 12:33 PM
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thin brick mortar


Thanks for your response. I'm in the Central Illinois area. In using mortar, would it be best to use portland mortar, or a masonary type bag goods, or the type N mortar as previously discussed? And is an acid wash going to be absolutely necessary, reason being, the thin brick is trimmed next to stained 1x6 and 1x4 wood. This is inside a restaurant. Approximately how much mortar would I need to grout in @ 300sf of thin brick? I have the grout bags, but it did not specify the size of the tips. Is it fair to say, that is probably the size of the tip?

Would be glad to pay freight for the tips, that way I know I am getting the right kind.


the tile-setter-that-coulda-woulda-should-neverof
Old 11-04-01, 02:19 PM
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The mortar I used to use came in 80lb bags premixed.. It would take 2 bags per 100 square feet.

The mortar is for appereance purposes only since you are installing this in an interior wall.. So really any kind can be used since it won't face the elements..

So with that in mind any ready mix with sand only (no gravel) will do the trick.. The reason for no gravel is because you will clog the tip of the grout bag..

Do not use tile grout at all.. you will never clean it off the brick..Do not attempt to float the mortar in the joints like it is tile or you will never clean it either..

you can email me with your address at and I will send you a couple of tips..

Also what I used to do like previously stated was mix the mortar in a 5 gal bucket and to scoop it into the grout bag i would take a 1 gal jug and cut the bottom and one side out to create a scoop for placing mortar in grout bag..

For more information do a web search on panel brick, there may be an applicator in your area who could install this mortar for you and leave it looking very realistic.. Probably 250 to 300 would be a fair price for labor.

As for will it need to be acid washed...that would depend on how neat the installer is.. In all honestey grouting is the hardest part of 1/2" brick applications.


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