DIY Thin Brick Wall

Hey guys!

I am SO excited to share my latest project with y’all!  Those of you that follow us on Instagram and Facebook have watched my progress over the last few days.  I was originally going to title the post “How to install a thin brick wall”, but I realized that there are probably 100 ways and different methods to go about it, so I changed it.  Today I am sharing the way I completed my DIY thin brick wall, which was a total success.  Here is how she turned out!  Keep in mind, I do still have to finish pulling the sockets forward to add the plates, but I couldn’t wait to share. 😉

Thin Brick Wall Tutorial by Shanty2Chic

DIY Thin Brick Wall Tutorial by Shanty2Chic

Ahhhh don’t you love it?  It makes me happy every time I walk in 🙂

And, it looks like it has been there forever, which was my goal for the whole project.  I think it adds so much character to his room.  So, here we go.  I’ll try to be as detailed as possible to prove that anyone can do this project, but ask me any questions you may have.

First, let’s talk products.

There are a ton of thin brick products out there.  I looked and looked and ended up going with a brand  called Coronado Stone Products.  I loved the way their products looked the most.  I felt they looked more authentic than some of the other thin brick brands out there.

Shield_5435d0a89fe8c

They have a TON of products and thin brick options.  I ended up going with a type called Special Used Brick in Tribecca.  Coronado sells many of their products through Lowe’s, but they also have a product locator HERE on their site to help you find where you can purchase their product.

This is what the thin bricks look like.

Coronado Thin Brick

They all come in different colors and textures giving it such a cool, vintage feel.

Coronado Stone Thin Brick

I used somewhere between 4-5 boxes for this wall which is 12′ x 9′.

Here is my son’s wall before I started.  I painted the rest of the walls last week. and left this one unpainted since I was going to brick it.  I removed all my plate covers and made sure the wall was mostly clean.  I put some scrap boards on the ground because this is a messy project.  You can also use heavy duty construction paper which comes on a roll.  I also used my level to make several straight lines along the wall.  I eyeballed the brick installation, but these walls kept me in check.

Brick Wall Prep

I decided to use a heavy duty mortar to apply mine to the wall.  I chose to use ProBond from The Tile Shop.  I used the same mortar to install my new faux wood ceramic tile floor.  It’s very easy to mix, and worked like a charm.

Probond Thinset Mortar

It’s all about finding the right consistency when using this stuff.  I chose to work in small amounts when mixing.  I learned this the hard way 🙂  I first filled my bucket about half full of water, and then decided to add the thinset.  OOPS.  It requires very little water compared to product, so I ended up with a bucket of thinset I could barely pick up and ended up with a ton of waste because it cured before I could work with it.  Lesson learned.  You’re welcome.  Trial 2… I added a very small amount of water to the bottom of my bucket and then slowly added the thinset until I could get it to the right consistency.  I found this great mixing paddle at Home Depot.

Mixing Paddle for mortar

It easily attaches to my Ryobi drill and then you are basically baking in the kitchen 🙂

Mixing ProBond

What I learned here…  I first tried to put the thinset on the wall, and then add the bricks.  After putting a small row up, I decided it was much easier to apply the thinset to the back of the brick using a notched margin trowel.  This will be your best friend!

Notched Margin Trowel

I just put a layer on the back of each brick like this…

ProBond to attach thin brick

And then smushed it to the wall and wiggled it a bit to get it perfectly in place.  *If your brick moves at all or tries to sag, I would add more thinset to your mixture.  If it is the right consistency, the bricks won’t move.  I started in the bottom left corner with a full brick and then put the next row just above it centered between the bricks below it.  I will touch on cutting the bricks below.

Attaching thin brick to the wall

I worked my way down the wall doing about 3-4 bricks up at a time.  I chose not to use spacers.  I wanted the look of a vintage wall, and I felt that a little variation would be great for the overall look.

Only mix as much mortar as you can do in about 30 minutes or so.  It begins to cure, and you can’t add water to soften it again.  I had two littles “helping” me during the whole process, so I would do a few rows, then check on whatever disasters they were creating and then mix another bucket of mortar.  Also, make sure to clean out the bucket between each mix of mortar.  It rinses out easily with water, but you need to get the old stuff that is starting to cure out of the bucket before mixing a new batch.  Another solution is to use a new bucket each time, but that can get costly 😉

Progress…

Brick Wall How To

DIY Brick Wall Progress

You can see I left the spots where bricks would need to be cut open, and finished all my full bricks first.  More progress…  You can see my #helper in this shot… 😉

Brick Wall Progress

Once I had all of the full bricks in their spots, I started on the cut bricks.  I started by using a brick chisel.  This is a great little tool I found at Home Depot.  You put it where you want your cut to be on the brick and hit the hammer on top of the chisel.  I found this worked about 70% of the time, and really worked best when I was cutting the bricks about in half.  As I needed smaller cuts, I found that the brick would break pretty easily, so I whipped out my Ryobi portable tile saw.  This saw is the BOMB.  It’s inexpensive and so darn easy to use.

Tile Saw for cutting thin brick

Mines a little messy sorry!  All you do is remove the lid and fill it with water to the fill line.

Ryobi Portable Tile Saw

Put the lid back on and you are in business.  Turn the saw on and run the bricks through the saw using your hands to push the bricks through.  Avoid touching the blade at all… Obviously.  This saw is easier to use than a miter saw people.

Ryobi Tile Saw

How to cut thin brick

Notice how my nail polish is gone 🙁

Yah… this is not a manicure friendly project.  I made all my cuts, and filled in all the open spots on the wall.  Here she is before I added the grout!

Progress on brick wall

Time to grout!

This is the product I used to grout… Under $5 a bag baby and I used just over 1 bag for this wall.

Quikcrete Mortar for brick wall

Back to mixing again.  Once again, it’s about consistency.  Your grout will need to much much thinner than the thinset was.  Here are the products I used for grouting.  I mixed the grout in the bucket with water first.

Supplies for grouting brick

Concrete Mortar

Mixing concrete mortar

I used a grout bag to apply all of my grout.  It’s basically the same thing as an icing bag when you are baking, but much larger.  I would put about 4 cups of grout in the bag at a time so it wouldn’t get too heavy.  Then, I would squeeze it out through the bag and along each line.  I would work in about a 4×4′ space at a  time.  The grout needs to be thin enough to push through a grout bag.  If it doesn’t easily come out, add some more water to the mix and try again.  This is the grout just after squeezing it out of the bag.

Mortar using grout bag

I would let each space I did set up for about 10-15 minutes and then I would go back and use this nifty little tool to smooth it out a bit.

How to mortar on brick

How to mortar thin brick

If you love the look of an old brick wall, it doesn’t need to be perfect at all!  If you like perfection, you need to find a different tutorial 😉

This is me just after getting the wall completely grouted… #happy.

Brick Wall Done

Keep in mind… This is messy.  And I’m a messy DIYer, so the combo came out a bit like this…

Installing a thin brick wall

It cleans up easy though!  After getting the wall done,  I decided I wanted a slightly rougher finish, so I decided to smear mortar over the whole thing.  I did this by mixing some of the mortar that was in the bag with water using a sponge.

water down mortar

Applying mortar wash with sponge

Then, I just wiped it over the entire wall.  I love the messy feel it gives the whole thing.  LOVE it.

Wiping Mortar on brick

Coronado Thin Brick Tribecca

Here you can see the bottom of the wall has started to cure and lighten up, but the top is darker where the mortar is still curing.

Mortar on Brick Wall

And again, here she is all finished up!

DIY Thin Brick Wall by Shanty2Chic

DIY Thin Brick Wall Tutorial by Shanty2Chic

Thin Brick Wall Tutorial by Shanty2Chic

A few questions answered before you ask them…

~Have you installed brick before? Nope…this is my very first time installing any kind of brick.  It didn’t require anything more than the right products and some elbow grease… and patience!

~How long did it take?  The entire project took about 24 hours split over 4-5 days.

~What about the exposed sockets?  Yes, I am fixing the plate covers.  Just not yet.

~What about the trim?  The bricks are thin enough that they sit just below my trim.  Rather than pulling all the beautiful trim off the windows and ground, I opted to butt everything up to the trim and I am very pleased with the results.  You may decide to do differently on your project.

~What was the cost of this project?  Ummm… As best as I can figure this wall cost between $600-$700 all supplies included.  The wall is 12′ x 9′ to help you gage your own project.

~What’s the shelving thing in the pictures?  You don’t get to see that yet 🙂  Tutorial coming soon!

Thanks so much guys!  I hope I have inspired you to tackle your own brick wall.  The satisfaction of starting and finishing the entire thing by myself was the very best part!  It truly is a project any of you can do!  Promise!

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  • Ryane Moates

    I’m just about to move into a new house and wanted to do this exact project. I had it all in my mind but couldn’t find the products and the tutorial until now. Thank you! This is EXACTLY what I needed!!

  • Carolyn McK

    Where did you get the bricks?

  • Amy Colleen Humpherys Robertso

    It looks like you installed the brick over a wall that was painted previously. Is there any danger of the weight of the bricks pulling the paint away from the walls? I’ve had framed pictures do that to my walls and it seems like a thin brick wall would be much heavier.

  • Elizabeth Kallembach

    Awesome job!!

  • Topokon Guy

    Lovely.

  • Amber Lea Johnson

    No Lath? We are about to use this very same product as a back-splash in the kitchen as well as out fireplace and hearth. Everyone is telling us we cannot put it on sheetrock alone, 2 layers of moisture barrier and lath is a must.

  • Maurissa Hunter

    I am sure this is a silly question but I am just curious about the weight. I only ask becuase I know even when doing a backsplash with bricks on drywall you have to be extremely mindful of the weight of the product. I am only wondering with the grout and the bricks if there is a risk in the future of cracking, crumbling, etc.

  • Cary Noel

    It looks fantastic! I want the exact same look on the main wall of the great room in my log home. Will you come do it for me? 🙂

  • Sandra

    Looks great– I love the extra step you took of smearing mortar around to make the wall look old and weathered. Question– how would you hang things up on the brick wall? For example, say I wanted to hang a painting or photo? Do I just drill right in??

  • Wake field

    the trim sets it apart and makes it spectacular. You can never underestimate how important trim is.

    One question – How heavy was it all? How heavy was one of the boxes of tiles?

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  • Linda Lee Wise

    Fabulous tutorial! Great detail, love the specifics, and you have the perfect non-perfect results! Thank you for sharing!

  • Paula Jones

    I’m curious about prepping the wall before bricking it. It looks like you bricked right over a painted wall. Was there anything special you needed to do to it?

    • Evgeny Shamo

      If you want the stuff to hold forever, you need to create long criss-crossing grooves or “scratches” on the wall using ether side grinder “saw” mode (very messy; the room is going to be covered in powdered paint, so you need at least protective glasses and a respirator – and make sure the room is totally isolated from the rest of the house while you work) or your usual axe, which is somewhat less messy but is much slower and physically taxing.

      The grooves need to come through the paint and putty, think about 3-5 mm deep. You don’t have to actually remove the paint layer, just break it in x-kind of pattern every 5-8 cm.

      You can also cover the wall with primer, but if the paint is in good condition, you need to “break” it first, hence the need for grooves.

      However, it will generally hold for at least 2 years even if you skip that part.

  • Kristi Kaker-Stewart

    How did you handle the adjoining walls when grouting?? Just painters tape?? Curious how you kept the grout off of the side walls and trim? Did you just wipe down with a damp cloth???

  • Maureen O’Neill Teague

    I’m late to this posting party, but just had to share in the admiration. :+) You do such a great job on all the projects you do, and I’m so grateful for the time you take to post such clear, specific plans and directions. And the fact you are able to incorporate the “littles” in the project process is awesome. Another inspiring project I hope to try….thanks, bunches. xoxo

  • Wow! That is awesome! Makes me want to put up a brick wall somewhere. Great post!

  • Vanessa Lock-Marshall

    Love it

  • Haha! Yeah! Great minds… 🙂 Can’t wait to see yours finished!

  • You rocked this! (or bricked this- ha ha ha). Looks wonderful, and the help you had is the best around.

    When I stand back and look at this, I see more than a beautiful brick wall. I see you building the backdrop for your children’s memories, and showing them where confidence comes from. As a girl who grew up watching my parents build our home around us, I can promise you this matters. Your DIY example becomes the framework in which they will build their own lives. You go, mom.

    • This made my day Pauline 🙂 You are awesome… Thank you for your sweet words and for taking the time to send them!

  • Janet

    Looks magnificent!!!! How would u seal that brick if I were to use that as a backsplash in a kitchen ?

    • Hey Janet! I would suggest using a natural stone sealer, much like one that you would use on travertine. You want to make sure it is a matte finish and nothing shiny… Hope this helps!

  • karl micheal

    Okay…I know this will sound sexist or condescending (probably not spelled right!! 😉 ), but I love it when I see a project a woman has taken on and done outstandingly (okay…is that even a word) on!! But this is GREAT!! My first wife (we are still great friends) and I used to do projects like this together and she still does them with her current husband!! Great job and thank you so much for your project posts!!! God bless!!

    • Thank you Karl! I didn’t take this the wrong way one bit… I appreciate your sweet comments! Made my day 🙂

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  • Traci Rucks Druten

    I’m preparing to do our kitchen backsplash and am also a big DIY’er but have felt a little nervous. Your tutorial helped a ton! Thank you so much – I just love you girls!!!

    • Oh yeah Traci! So happy to hear it! Can’t wait to see your finished projects… Please share it!

  • Chris

    So amazing looking! I’ve been wanting to do this to a wall in our house for some time. I think you just helped convince the wife!
    Question, did you end up with a full(uncut) brick on the top course? If yes, did you know you would or just got lucky?

    • Haha! Yes Chris… I did get lucky there. I will say, the bricks under each window had to be cut in half, and it was super easy with the tile saw. Hope this helps!

  • Josh

    Love this idea for redoing a fireplace wall. If we wanted to do one of your large floating shelves as the mantel, do you suggest leaving that section of wall devoid of bricks?

    • Hey Josh! You could, but I would hang the mantle over the brick. If you know where your studs are, just use long enough screws to go through the grout and into the stud in the wall. I would use a masonry bit for the best results when you are pre-drilling. If not anchoring to a stud, you can purchase anchors that are longer than you standard anchors to make up for the added thickness of the brick. Just use those, but do the drilling for them with a masonry bit. That’s how I would do it 🙂 Hope this helps!

  • Stephanie Hulings

    I like how you answered our questions before we asked them….LOL..”what is the shelf in corner?” LOL. Tease.

  • Karen

    I’m curious what your estimated cost was on the brick and mortar total? My son is turning 17 in August and I’ve been wanting to mature his room up and this might be the ticket but if it’s super expensive, I’ll just be painting.

    • My best cost estimate for this wall was $600-$700. It sounds like a lot of money, but I actually thought the cost was great for a huge permanent feature wall. Hope this helps!

  • Debbie

    Looks great! I like the aged look over the original. Great job!

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  • Chrissy DiMaria Farnan

    Looks amazing!!!