How to Install Brick Veneer Inside an Alcove
Follow these instructions to install brick veneer on the inside of an alcove.
The pattern for the wall is a "running bond" pattern, which starts with a full brick followed by a half brick, then another full brick followed by a half brick, and so on (Image 1). The running bond pattern is one of the more common patterns seen in brick work and its goal is to have each row break the joints of the row beneath it at the halfway mark. In full brick work this is done for support; for brick veneer it provides visual interest and recreates the look of full brick.
To create the half bricks for the running bond corners, use a tile cutter or diamond blade grinder to cut the brick pieces in half (Image 2). Cut enough half brick ahead of time so you’re not continuously stopping to cut more. Because this wall recreates an old wall, and old walls are not perfect, your half bricks don’t need to be cut exactly at the halfway point.
In this project we used brick corners along the edges and top of the stonework, with a soldier course created from the flats along the bottom and stone sills (Image 1). The stone sills are created from a piece of thin veneer stone (Image 2). To recreate this sill look, you can use thin veneer, wood, or a piece of bluestone or limestone (depending on the depth of the sill). Talk with your distributor or local quarry to find out whats available to you. Make design decisions before you reach the corners because they may require cuts that should be spaced out in the wall design.
All brickwork should begin with the corners or edges of the wall, starting at the bottom. Apply a bead of construction adhesive (make sure you use construction adhesive that is specially designed for brick or brick veneer) to the back of the brick (Image 1) keep the adhesive about a quarter of an inch from the edge.
Apply the brick to the wall with enough pressure for it to adhere and hold the brick in place until it doesn't move (Image 2), which shouln't be more than a few seconds. Apply the corners with the cut-side facing the inside of the brickwork -- this hides the cuts and helps to create the illusion of full brick. Install the brick corners up to the top of the ceiling and make any necessary adjustments to the brick placement and joint size. The construction adhesive should be adjustable for about 15-20 minutes. You can use tile jointers if you want your joint size to be exact, or you can vary the joint widths which will better create the illusion of an old brick wall. Any notches that need to be made can be done with the grinder.
Start building up the body of your brick work. As you work, keep the running bond by working from in from the corners where the running bond was established, making sure the end of each brick hits the middle of the brick above and below it.
Once you have some of your brick work established, mark a straight line across the wall using a straight edge and a level. Build a continuous row across the length of the wall to act as a guideline for setting the brick and maintaining the running bond (Image 1); if you have multiple people working on this project, they can then start from opposite ends of the wall and work together without worrying that their running bonds won’t match up.
Step back every now and then to check your work (Image 2). If your wall is long, the row might begin to sway or the joint sizes to change. The joints and line don’t have to be perfect, but there should be some consistency.If a row of brick doesn’t meet up perfectly, i.e. there’s not room for full brick all the way across, you can cut a brick plug to fit, but don’t cut the brick to less than 3/4 of the size of the full brick. If the gap won’t be closed by using a 3/4 brick and adjusting some of the joints, you can cut a second brick about that size and hide these two cut-down bricks in the length of the wall.Once all of the bricks have been attached, you're ready to start grouting.
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