How to Cover a Wall With Brick
Brick walls inside don't have to be plastic; the real thing is just as easy. Use bricks cast thin for interior use, and set them into place with adhesive.
- Measuring rule
- Bucket and sponge
- Putty knife or paint scraper
- Sanding block
- Wall-cleaning sponge, or large paintbrush and broad-bladed scraper
- 3/8-inch dowel rod
- Line level
- Safety goggles
- Cold chisel and hammer
- Tile nippers
- Coarse file
- Notched trowel
- Graph paper
- Strong household detergent
- Plastic dropcloths
- Spackling compound and fine-grit sandpaper, or wallpaper remover and wall sizing
- Thin glue-on interior bricks
- Adhesive and adhesive solvent as recommended by the brick manufacturer
- Clean rags
Time: Several hours for a small wall, after wall surface is prepared
Buying the Bricks
Before buying the bricks, plot the wall on a piece of graph paper. Draw the brick layout to be used and count the number of bricks needed, if any, to go around corners. Interior face brick is sold in packages to cover 5 square feet; to calculate the number of packages you need, compute the square footage to be covered and divide by 5. Buy an extra package of brick and a few extra corner bricks to allow for wastage. Ask the dealer how much adhesive and adhesive solvent to buy.
Preparing the Wall
Prepare the wall before applying the bricks. If the wall is very dirty or greasy, wash it with a strong household detergent. Spread plastic dropcloths to protect the floor. Scrape painted surfaces and fill cracks and holes with spackling compound; let dry and sand smooth with fine-grit sandpaper. Remove all dust with a wall-cleaning sponge.
If the wall is papered, remove loose wallpaper; apply wallpaper remover with a large paintbrush, let it stand as directed by the manufacturer, and scrape carefully to remove all old paper. Go over the wall with clean water to remove all paste; let dry. Apply wall sizing to seal the wall, using one or two coats as directed by the manufacturer. Let dry completely.
Laying Out and Cutting Bricks
Use a 3/8-inch dowel rod to measure brick joints as you work. Use a line level to establish the bottom edge of the bricks along the floor; mark the line with chalk. Small gaps below the line can be filled in with brick adhesive. Set out two rows of bricks on the floor, 3/8 inch apart, so you can see how to place them on the wall. Arrange the bricks so that the bricks at the right end of each row will be the same size as those at the left end when they're cut to fit.
Wearing safety goggles, cut the end bricks to the correct size. Use a cold chisel and hammer to score both sides of each brick; then cover the brick with a rag and break it in two with a sharp hammer blow. Remove any pieces left along the broken edge with tile nippers; smooth the broken edge, if necessary, with a coarse file.
Applying the Bricks
When the layout has been checked and end bricks cut, spread an even layer of adhesive on the wall with a notched trowel. Start at either corner, along the chalked line that marks the bottom row of bricks; cover only about 3 square feet of wall surface at a time. To set each brick, dab adhesive across the back of the brick and press it firmly against the wall; twist the brick slightly as you set it in place. Use the dowel rod to establish and maintain the 3/8-inch joint width between bricks.
Continue across and up the wall, setting one row of bricks at a time and spacing them a constant 3/8 inch apart. As each row is completed, check it with the line level to make sure the row is straight. If you must turn a corner, use special corner bricks.
When all the bricks have been set, fill in any gaps at the edges of the wall with adhesive. Finally, smooth joints where necessary, using the dowel rod, and clean adhesive from the brick face with a rag soaked in adhesive solvent. Throw dropcloths and solvent-soaked rags away.
To give your home a really distinctive look, you might want to try mirror or cork tiles. We'll cover these treatments on the next page.
For more information on do-it-yourself home improvement projects, try the following links: