Whenever we have guests up to our cabin, we typically get complimented on our brick wall and get asked if it was hard to install at which point we laugh a little and say “oh no ….not at all!” Which is basically true because it was smooth sailing after learning a couple of tricks. However, there were some moments, before getting one crucial supply, that I thought I was going to tear my hair out.
So….I’m going to tell you how to install a brick wall in the easiest possible manner so you can avoid any headaches or hair pulling!
First of all, you need to install cement board or a water resistant drywall (green or blue board) to the studs where you want to have brick. We used cement board:
Since I tend to be the patient one in the family, it was my job to adhere all of the bricks to the wall. First I had to decide on a pattern and I chose the running bond. This meant that starting at the left wall end, I began the bottom row with a full brick, the next row with a half brick and repeated the pattern all the way up the wall.
To get half bricks, I used a two inch wide brick chisel and a hammer. I had so much fun with this part! Just place the brick on a board, line the chisel up at the center point and whack that baby (the chisel handle) with a hammer. It cuts the brick clean and smooth every time.
One more thing that I did before I actually starting adhering the bricks was to draw out some level lines on the wall…both horizontal and vertical. I wanted to have a guide as I was laying out the bricks but it didn’t have to be perfect since I wanted it to resemble an old brick wall. I also just used my finger and my eyeball as a spacer between the bricks.
Now came the fun part!! NOT!!!!!! I said I was patient and I normally am but adhering the bricks with my first choice of some average run of the mill construction adhesive WAS NOT WORKING! I literally had to hold each brick in place for five to ten minutes before it would stop sliding and stay in place. Since I am a glutton for punishment and had to wait to go into town for a better solution, I did quite a few that way.
But then I was saved! This is the whole key to making this job a snap. I discovered an awesome construction adhesive, thanks to a dvd that was playing in the adhesive aisle at Menards which actually showed a brick slipping down the wall and a man’s voice saying “is your adhesive not grabbing…or something like that! I stopped dead in my tracks and maybe even answered the man on the screen. He went on to advertise the Loctite Power Grab all purpose construction adhesive, which I quickly grabbed a case of and happily went to check out.
It worked like a charm. Now my bricks were staying in place immediately…..immediately!!!! I finished the rest of the wall in record time.
Now it was time for the mortar between the bricks. All you need is an inexpensive mortar mix, water and a large pail for mixing. For applying the mortar, you need a grout bag and tuck pointing tool (optional).
I started this process. When I mixed the mortar more on the thin side – kind of like toothpaste but maybe even a little thinner, it flowed out of the grout bag real nice and easy and made quick work out of filling the spaces between the bricks. I used the tuck pointing tool to smooth out the mortar so it looked real nice and neat…….too neat…so I switched to my finger instead so it looked more authentically old.
A couple of times that I mixed up the mortar, it was too thick which made the job much more difficult. Once you get the consistency just right it really works well.
By the end of the process, I was mixing and my husband was filling the spaces and we were running like a well oiled machine!
We had also installed a section of wood so that we would have something to hang things from. Now that it was done we could sit back and have a glass of wine while we waited for the mortar to dry!