.. and some practical matters that we find might be of use to you:
*INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR OUR BRICK VENEER AND STONE VENEER SERIES:
Figuring out the amount of materials needed:
- Measure the area to be veneered by multiplying the length and the height of each wall within the installation area, then sum them up. If there are openings in the area such as windows, doors, etc., subtract these areas from the total square footage.
- Measure the vertical length of the corners to determine the amount of corner pieces you’ll need. Corner pieces are the same exact model of brick or stone that you’re using on flat surfaces, only they have been molded in an “L” shape. They cover the 90 degree corners in your walls and provide a seamless look (avoiding a vertical grout line at the corner). Remember; corner pieces are for outside turnings, not inside turnings. Once you have measured the total vertical length of your outside corners, you know how many linear foot of corner pieces you need.
- Generally; 1 linear foot of corner pieces cover approximately 1.1 square foot of area. Multiply the total linear footage by this coefficient and you’ll figure out how many square foot of area your corner pieces will cover. Subtract this from the total square footage of area. This will give you how many square foot of flat bricks/stones you’ll need. Always remember to extra a little extra to cover for any losses/wastage.
To put it in an example:
Let’s say the walls you’ll be cladding measured to be 1200 sqft in total.
Let’s also say that the vertical corners you have in the installation area measured to be 180 ft long.
You’d calculate as follows:
Therefore, you need 180 lnft of corner pieces and 1,002sqft of flat bricks/stones.
It’s always a good idea to add a little extra for wastage. So, ordering 195 lnft of corners and 1050 sqft of flats would avoid running short during installation.
Essentials:Mason’s trowel, wooden stick, wire brush (thin and long to fit in grouts), grout bag, whisk broom, bucket.
Nice to have:Bubble level (or laser level), angle grinder, mixer, rubber hammer, vacuum cleaner.
Starting with Surface Area Preparation
Installation surface area should be clean and on the flat side (depending on the type of brick/stone model selected, some degree of cragginess can be tolerated).
Type of preparation needed changes depending on the type of wall:
- Concrete walls, cement based boards, gypsum based boards: For interior areas, apply a coat of bonding agent (primer) on the surface. For exterior areas, apply “Xtreme weather block”, which serves as a water and air barrier. Both primers can be found under our “side products” category.
- Horsehair, plywood, MDF, OSB, and any surface covered with building paper: You’ll need to apply a metal lath on the surface before installation. This is a 2 person job, have one person hold the lath on the wall while you use screws to stabilize it in place. Make sure edges of lath layers overlap and there are screws along the overlapping areas. Make sure its texture has wide enough holes to easily let the mortar through. Another important point here is to make sure lath is tight and flat. Once it is stabilized on wall with screws, apply “Basecoat set” (found under the “side products” category) using a trowel on the surface. The coating should go through the lath and be in good contact with the surface. Cover the whole area. Let dry for at least 2 days (check your city’s local codes on wait times).
Whenever you have lack of confidence on your surface, wire lath is always the safe bet. At the same time, it’s a redundant procedure for many surfaces. Call/message us whenever in doubt.
It’s important to make sure that the application area is stable and rigid. Any movements in the background will show its effects on the surface. For instance, if the boards in the background move or flex, this can crack bricks alongside the edges where panels meet. Your brick application is as strong as the background that is holding it.
Starting the installation:
- If the model of brick/stone you’ve selected requires the installation to be level (most bricks do, unless you’re creating special effects), either use a laser level throughout the course of installation, or you can use chalk line to draw straight lines on the wall before starting.
- Prepare the adhesive in a bucket by mixing it with water. If it’s a brick application, you have 2 options at this point. You can either use the traditional “manufactured stone mortar” or the “Xtreme-bond” (both found under “side products” category). If it’s a stone application, “manufactured stone mortar” is the suggested option.
- With “manufactured stone mortar”; start putting adhesive on the back of bricks/stones using a trowel and installing them on the wall. (Some masons butter the whole back surface of the bricks while some others leave a small gap in the middle section to create a vacuum effect once placed on the wall. It’s up to you which way to choose).
- With “Xtreme-bond”; you’ll apply the mortar on the wall instead of the bricks themselves. Apply a thin, pressured-on skim coat to the wall with the flat edge of the trowel. Then using the notched edge of the trowel, apply a second coat combing the mortar into horizontal ridges to obtain an even setting bed. From this point, you’ll move directly onto pressing the bricks on the wall.
- It’s a good idea to slightly move the pieces in different directions while pressing against the wall. Adhesive should become in good contact with the back surface. Follow with a scraping motion with your trowel to remove the extra glue sticking out from the sides.
Hint: Always start with the corner pieces first. (Don’t forget that corners have one long and one short side, differ these sides in opposite manner vertically).
- Start the installation from bottom and work your way towards top (some skilled masons can do the opposite. For DIY people, starting from bottom is always easier). If it’s a drystack installation, try to pick pieces that lay next to each other better, leaving the gaps in between to a minimum. If it’s a grouted installation, leave the necessary gaps in between pieces while installing. They will be filled out later.
- Bricks usually like straight joint lines but for irregular stones try to avoid grout lines from being continuous as much as possible. Long grout lines (both horizontal and vertical) is not desired for irregular stone models.
- With drystack installation and heavier stone types (not necessary for bricks), once you’ve reached 3-4 feet above ground, try to move horizontally. Reason for that is the higher you go the more weight will be placed on the pieces towards the bottom section. With heavier type of stones, increased weight can start to pressure the bottom section away from the wall and you don’t want any movements, even fractional, while the adhesive is drying.
- Once you get to the end sections of the walls (or openings in between), use a hand grinder to cut the stones to exact size. If you are unable to use a grinder (or brick splitter), you can use nippers or the metal edge of your trowel (be noted that this takes some getting used to before you can actually start breaking the stone where you want it to break).
Hint: If there are any broken pieces during shipment, keep them on the side. You’ll need them at these spots.
- Once all the stones have been secured on the wall, if it’s a grouted installation, it’s time to start with pointing. It’s worthwhile to note that masonry grouts, with their rugged and rough texture, are different than ceramic tile grouts, which have a smooth and creamy look. Masonry grout in its basic gray color as well as white color (by the name “grout mortar”) can be found under our “side products” category. If desired grout color is other than white or gray, select color pigments under the same category (pigments are made to be mixed with gray grout). Prepare the grout mixture in a bucket. You’ll fill up your grout bag from this mixture small portions at a time, and fill the gaps in between by squeezing this bag.
Hint : Unless you’re purposely creating a special effect, try not to smear the surface of bricks/stones. If it happens by accident, wait until the mortar becomes crumbly, then remove the smears slightly rubbing with a rag.
- After the gaps are filled with grout, wait until the grout starts to become tender but not dry yet. Run a wooden stick over grout lines to push the grout snug into the gaps and also to spill the excess amounts. If a large area is being grouted, you might have to do in sections so that you can act before it dries. After this stage you’ll let it sit one more time so that it dries. Once it has dried, you’ll run over lines with a thin but long wire brush. Be gentle so that you do not have grout pieces breaking and falling off (remember even though it has dried solid, it still has a lot of humidity inside and has not cured yet). You should only let the loose outer crust of the grout fall without damaging the underneath layer. After the whole surface is complete, you’ll start cleaning with whisk broom. Starting from top to bottom, clean the grout lines and go over the surfaces of bricks/stones to take loose particles and dust off. This can also be done using the brush head of a vacuum cleaner, especially if it’s an interior installation.
Hint : Take care while wire brushing the grouts so as not to damage the surfaces of the bricks/stones. Wires can put unwanted scratches on the surface. Start by applying slight force and increase gradually as you get used to it. It doesn’t take long to figure it out.
- At this stage your installation has virtually finished. If you wish to seal the surface from water, you can apply water repellent chemicals on the surface. If you wish to have a shiny surface (usually not recommended with rustic style), you can brush it with coating chemicals.
Last couple things we’d like to remind you of:
- Unless you are a skilled mason, do not start from 2 different sections of a wall and try to meet in the middle.
- It’s always a better look if the bricks/stones start from the very bottom level of the wall. If there is skirting, we suggest to remove it so installation can begin from the floor level. But make sure the thickness of the bricks/stones cover the gap on the floor between the floor material and the wall.
- In case you are unsure about anything, always feel free to call us for suggestions.
Enjoy your walls!
* Info provided on this page is purely for guidance reasons. Always check your local building codes and consult an installation professional before making final decisions.
MIXING DIFFERENT BRICK COLORS TOGETHER
Mixing different colors is a great way to form your unique application. One important point worth mentioning is the ratio of your selections. If you picked similar tones, any ratio would work just fine, however, if you picked 2 contrasting colors to be mixed, it’s best to use an unequal ratio. When contrasting colors are installed in similar ratios, the light colored ones will look like the background and the darker ones will appear as the pattern. This creates a checkerboard look when mixed homogeneously, or an effect of a pattern being depicted on the wall when mixed randomly. If this is what you want to happen, then don’t mind us, as there are no rules to how you design your wall. But based on the general feedback we collect from users, best outcome with contrasting colors is achieved when they are mixed in a ratio of at least 2/3 to 1/3 (or less).
If the tones you’re mixing are similar tones, though, any ratio will work great.
INSTALLING BRICKS ON THE FLOORS
You might have seen wall bricks applied on floors. Many do it, however, wall bricks and floor bricks are produced differently. Floor bricks have a more evenly structured surface as opposed to being highly textured and irregular with wall bricks. This allows for ease of use when you start placing furniture on the floor. All legs of a table, for instance, should touch an even floor so that it sits stable. Floor bricks are also thicker than wall bricks, allowing to be installed on spaces that will carry objects much heavier, such as cars. If you use bricks for your driveway, you want to make sure they are capable of holding the weight and stress of a car or a truck. Our wall bricks have very high compressive strength values, so they will hold up against even extremely heavy objects, but our suggestion is to always use wall bricks for walls and floor bricks for floors. (And the photo on the left?? Oh, that’s just a wall photo flipped to its side 😉 )
LET OUT THE ARTIST IN YOU
Feel free to add your mark on your creation. Artistic effects such as graffiti is a great way to make a space unique and appealing. It’s best to pick light colored brick (white-beige tones) to form the background for your art. Do whatever your heart tells you. Always remember; there are no rules 😉