Installing Lightweight Exterior Brick Veneer
Exterior brick veneer is an excellent choice of siding material for your home. It consists of thin panels of simulated brick. When installed over a wall it gives the illusion of real brick. The beauty of lightweight brick veneer is that it is much faster and easier to install than authentic bricks. With the right materials and guidelines, you can successfully install the veneer on your exterior walls. Be sure to purchase veneer meant for outdoor use.
Step 1 – Clean the Wall
Prepare a solution of water and mild detergent. Use a stiff-bristled brush to clear away dirt and grime. Thoroughly rinse the wall with a power washer. A clean surface is vital for effective attachment of the veneer. Use a terry cloth to wipe down the wall. It is best to let the wall dry for 24 hours.
Step 2 – Attach Wire Mesh
Install a wire mesh over the wall. Secure the mesh with galvanized nails. Drive the nails in with a hammer at 1-foot intervals.
Step 3 – Apply Mortar
Mix the mortar in a bucket as outlined in the instructions. Begin to apply mortar with the flat side of your trowel at a top corner site. Scoop the mortar with your trowel. Spread a thick layer, about ½ an inch, onto all the corner areas over the wire mesh. Firmly press the mortar through the mesh with your trowel. Use the notched side of the trowel to create horizontal grooves in the mortar. This facilitates proper attachment of the veneer.
Step 4 – Install Corner Pieces
Brick veneer usually comes with corner pieces that are intended for placement in the corners. Gather all the corner pieces. Begin with one piece and apply a ¼ inch layer of mortar on the back with the smooth side of your trowel. Spread the mortar evenly onto the panel. Attach your first corner piece onto the wall. Firmly press the piece into the mortar for proper attachment. Repeat the same action for all the other corner pieces.
Step 5 – Place the Panels
Apply mortar in small sections. Begin at the first top corner worked on earlier. Spread a ½ inch layer of mortar onto the wall. Apply a ¼ inch layer of mortar on the back of one panel. Carefully fit the panel against the first corner piece. Wiggle the panel slightly to facilitate even distribution of mortar at the back. This ensures a firm bond. Press all around the panel and in the middle for proper attachment. Apply mortar over the adjacent section of the wall. Take another panel, apply mortar and attach in the same way. Attach the panels such that you have staggered joints between the rows like real brick. Work your way across the wall, then downwards. Use a circular saw to cut the end pieces to complete your installation. Allow 24 hours for the mortar to cure.
Step 6 – Apply Grout
Prepare grout. Use a grout float to apply grout in the joints between the veneer panels. Wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge.