Monday, June 24, 2013

Thin Brick, Baby. The Tutorial. Ish.

Ah yeeee-ah . . . thin brick tutorial in the hizzouse!

Let's talk about how I made the dirty, sandy, gritty mess last week, shall we? 

Okay.  First off, this is how I did it. This is not how a thin brick company would tell you to do it. This is not the correct way, per se, but it worked for me, and if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for you, too!

Also, be aware that these great folks did it the same way as me. 

There is strength in numbers.  Also, their tutorial is probably better than mine so head on over there okey dokey!  See ya!  The end!

Oh, I josh.

Okay: so why thin brick?

It's a third the size of regular brick, so it is brick, just not the massive weight and space and impossibility of using real brick inside a house. 

So here's how I did this:  exactly like I would do a tile backsplash. 

Used thinset, troweled it on, spaced 'em, bam.  Done.  If you know how to lay tile, you are set.  The end!

Okay, I won't say that again, I swear. 

So as I was saying, I mixed thinset, just like I would with tile.  And just know, that this "tiling" route I went is super sturdy. If I have any problems with it, I'll update this post, fo sho.

It's also mandatory to have a little red headed "helper".
Actually it's not mandatory, it'll be a big pain in your A, but you love her, so you let her.

And I troweled on my thinset, just like I would with tile, (incidentally, Jeffro and I got started tiling by taking an awesome Home Depot class on it-- totally helpful class by the by) and I began laying my bricks down.

I chose 1/2 in. spacing, because that's typically the spacing used for brick on a house, and that's the look we're going for, here.

Regard that I used strips of left over plywood.  That is because I'm grounded from home improvement stores and couldn't go buy spacers.

 But this actually worked out really well for me.  I ripped half inch pieces, ensured that my strips of plywood were level (I checked several times for level in each row), and then began laying my brick down.  Once you get started-- you can just go, man. 

("Just go man.  Oh wow. . . that's really warm."  name that movie.)

Something good to know:

you can cut thin brick using a brick chisel, as seen here with this absolutely lovely wrist that should be used for wrist modeling:

or you can use a wet saw (tile saw).  The brick chisel is easy peasy-- place it, keep it straight up and down, hold it tightly (and I had more success holding it tightly up high), and give it a good, sturdy smack with the hammer. 

Let's keep it real.

I struggled at first (and later) getting a perfectly straight cut.  My cuts using the tile saw were much, much cleaner cuts.

One thing: typically with tiling, you're gonna lay it, then grout it a day later.  I didn't use grout-- I let the mortar fill the cracks (or went back and filled in with mortar). 


This was a relatively easy project, until, UNTIL clean up time.  Anyone who's ever tiled knows that after grouting, you wipe it, and you wipe it 50 times more to finally get it all clean.

Well, this is worse.  It's 100 times worse, because brick is porous.  It's not like tile that's somewhat sealed-- this just sucks your mortar right into it.

Learn from me, people.  Learn.  Clean it as you go.  Take the time to scrub the bricks as you are working.  I was being impatient and wanted to just get the brick up and done.  Don't do this.  Don't be like me.

When brick is layed for homes, they go after and spray it with acid to clean it up.  I can't do that inside my house. 

Clean as you go.  Repeat after me: "Clean as you go".  Good.  You will go far.

Questions?  Concerns?  Issues?  Shut up already?  Got it. 


Lori said...

Clean as you go, clean as you go, clean as you... I got it. And you did a great job by the way. I was afraid those wood pieces would get stuck.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Last line: my fave. The brick wall rocks.
And I'm impressed - a tutorial! I know you love to write them! Now teach me how to cut angles pleeeeeeease please please please?? :)

Lauras Crafty Life said...

Looks great! Tile cleaning is awful so I can only imagine how time consuming this was.

the angry bee bakery said...

Dumb & Dumber? Love your beautiful brick wall and how you make me laugh. I have a strange question for you. Once upon a time I read on a blog (Kind of maybe sure it was yours) about a "tird" of somethings, like flamingos or whatever. I tried to tell my family about it because I thought it was hilarious and they all thought I was crazy. I looked it up online and can't find it. If you know nothing of what I'm talking about, please disregard!

Jen said...

This is total AMAZE BALLS!!! I like the look of the absorbed mortar in the brick, it's very rustic. :) I REALLY, REALLY like it!!

Taylor Family said...

That looks cool! Need to by and see it in real life.

Kathrine Marvin said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing this post. The exposed brick look on an interior wall is a great place to start when you want to add a time worn feel to a new space.

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