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Brick wall Installation Guide using thin brick tiles(Indoors and Outdoors)

Real Thin Brick tiles are installed like any other ceramic tile. With the right materials and equipment our product can easily be installed by our customers. Contractors, builders, or tile installers will also have no issue with installing our product. Follow the steps outlined below or refer to the Tile Council of America’s handbook for ceramic tile installation.

Installing brick tiles on walls (indoors or outdoors):

When installing our tiles on backsplashes or walls, ensure you have a stable substrate. Poured in place concrete, cement mortar bed or backer board are examples of stable substrates. For areas that are not exposed to water, we recommend using a tile mastic adhesive (great for kitchen backsplashes or walls). Otherwise consider using a construction adhesive or thin set mortar. Each method has its own pros and cons.

Installing on drywall: In most cases you can adhere our thin brick tiles directly over a painted or unpainted dry wall surface. However, it is not recommended in areas where the drywall is not well attached to wall studs. In the event blunt force of a heavy object occurred to your brick surface, both the brick and drywall underneath would likely be damaged.

Installing over backer board or metal lath: In areas frequently exposed to water or if a wall is not well attached to wall studs we would recommend using a cementitious backer board or a metal lath system. These systems guarantee extra protection against potential damages to your brick wall or drywall underneath and should be considered in well trafficked areas or for any vertical or partial vertical applications

Instructions:


Brick wall install Supplies you will need include:

  • Tile mortar or adhesive (We recommend Laticrete’s Platinum thin set mortar or Multimax for walls or ceilings)

  • Sanded grout w/polymer (Poly Blend or Mapei Keracolor) or Epoxy grout (Spectra Lock Pro Grout)

  • ¼”x ¼” notched trowel

  • Brick laying trowel

  • Tuck pointing trowel (recommended)

  • Tape measure

  • Level

  • Tile cutting saw with diamond blade (for corners and other cuts)

  • Wax pencil for making cuts

  • Tile spacers (found at hardware store)

  • Grout sponges

  • Bucket with clean water for rinsing

  • Mixing container or bucket

  • Safety glasses

  • Ear protective

  • Dust mask

  • Gloves

 

Choose a Grout Color & Type:
There are hundreds of options to choose from but you’ll want to decide what color of grout you are looking for followed by the type. For most projects, we recommend using a polymer-modified grout. Some companies like Mapei Keracolor or Laticrete make grouts with antimicrobial agents to help prevent mold and mildew.

In some cases epoxy grout is a consideration when installing our tiles in areas with frequent exposure to water. For more information about the differences between these grouts and installation uses, we recommend reading this Houzz article.

 

Tile installation methods:
There are several different methods for installing our tiles. At Real Thin Brick we do not endorse any particular method over another as they all have their advantages, disadvantages and specific uses. We recommend referring to the Tile Council of America’s handbook and reading up on a few different methods described in our FAQ page on Installations and Sealers to decide what will be best for your project. Many of our customers like the look of whitewashed or a messy surface left on top of the bricks. To achieve that we would recommend the installation method known as “floating the grout” without removing the layer of haze left behind.

Note: Install mortar, set tiles, and grout when surface temperature is minimum of 50 degrees F and a maximum of 90 degrees F. Extreme temperatures (hot or cold) may negatively affect your tiling installation. Tile will need to cure for 72 hours in cooler temperatures or areas with high humidity. Otherwise, cure time is 48 hours.

 

Brick wall step by step install instructions
When installing on walls, make sure to lay your bottom row first and work upwards. Ensure you are “back buttering” your bricks according to ANSI specifications Proper Trowel Selection and Back Buttering .

No matter the installation method, we recommend starting on small sections at a time (2’ x 2’ or smaller). When installing on walls, it’s easiest to install with a somewhat firm mortar so the tiles will stay in place while the adhesive sets up. The consistency should be similar to that of creamy peanut butter. Spread thin set mortar or mastic using a notch trowel. For best results use a thin set with acrylic additive and test the consistency before applying to ensure it is not too runny. Install your tile, giving them a slight twist to set them into place. Cut tile for edges and corners using a wet tile saw with a diamond blade. If you are using single piece "L” shaped corners, you should work from the corners first and then outwards.

Once the tiles are installed, make sure the mortar is completely dry before grouting with either sanded tile grout or sand mix mortar. Usually this takes 24-48 hours depending on the season and climate. Use a pointing trowel or a grout bag to minimize the amount of mortar that you have to clean from the surface of the tiles. Clean the bricks as you go with a damp sponge, rinsing the sponge and changing your water as needed. Sometimes there will be a slight haze left behind or a little bit of the grout stuck into the tile surface and this is to be expected. If you desire a messy, white washed appearance, you can bring any amount of the grout over the surface of the bricks or opt not to clean the bricks as you go. This installation technique is known as “floating the grout”.

 

Sealing our tile:
Depending on the type of finish and look, you may want to seal your brick tiles before grouting, or wait until after grouting is done.

 

For a clean install finish, we recommend sealing our tile before grouting to protect them from staining.

For a whitewashed look and finish, we recommend not sealing the brick tiles until after the grouting is done. Feel free to consult with us if you're not sure if your install should be sealed before or after grouting.

 

511 Miracle and Aqua Mix carries a wide range of sealant products that are suitable for any tile project. We usually recommend 511 Miracle Porous Plus for best results. It is an oil based penetrating sealer with a matte finish.

Another option we recommend to consider is sealing the brick tiles with a water based sealer or grout release, something like Aqua Mix Sealers choice. This sealer will make it easier to clean off any excess grout on top of the surface of the brick tiles if you want to whitewash, but still want some of the red of the brick tile to show. Once done with the cleanup, you will want to seal it with an oil based penetrating sealer like 511 Miracle Porous Plus for a final protection against stains and spills.

For surfaces frequently exposed to water, we would recommend sealing the surface of our tile overnight as discussed more in-depth on our Thin Brick Tile: No Different than other Ceramic Tile blog article. We also recommend sealing the grout as well once it has set, to make cleaning your tile surface much easier as well as helping to waterproof your installation and prevent mold and mildew. If you’re unsure of what sealer to use, we suggest to read our How to Choose the Correct Sealant for your Thin Brick tiles blog article to learn more about the pros and cons of different sealants.

If you have any additional questions about installation methods or products, please feel free to give us a call at (206) 399-4087 or email us at design@realthinbrick.com and we’d be happy to assist you.

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