When installing a brick veneer fireplace, learning the most common mistakes to avoid eliminates many potential headaches down the road. While the installation can be very simple, the process can turn into a huge mess if you are not familiar with the basics of veneer construction. These are some common mistakes to avoid.
Forgetting Moisture Barrier
Before applying any veneer, it is essential that a moisture barrier be attached to the wall surface. This keeps the moisture in the mortar from penetrating the structural wall of the fireplace surround. Moisture penetration will cause premature wall and veneer failure.
While it is tempting to clean mortar drips off the brick immediately, it is best to wait until the mortar has dried to a crumbly consistency. At that point, use a course bristled whisk broom to brush off the mortar.
Avoid a "soldier" stack layout of brick veneer. Soldier stacking is a technique that places the bricks such that all the horizontal and vertical joints are straight. The way to place veneers is in a staggered pattern. This allows for a more visually pleasing aesthetic.
Improper Surface Preparation
It is essential that the structural wall that the veneers will be applied to are clean and free of imperfections. A common misconception is that brick veneer will hide the imperfections. The fact of the matter is, any imperfections in the structural surface will be magnified by the veneer.