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How To Install Brick Veneer On A Wall: Steps & Tips

To install brick veneer on a wall, there are specific things you need to know to get it done right. You can do it on either an exterior wall or interior wall. Here is a guide on on how to do this project from an expert. 

What Is Brick Veneer?

Brick veneer is something you install against a block wall or drywall. It's a brick that you install, usually to cover something else. Veneers aren’t a structural upgrade, rather an aesthetic upgrade. They can be removed or swapped out (think wallpaper or carpet) since you install them on top of something else. Thin brick walls that use veneer look elegant hence why they're commonly used. 

Supplies Needed:

You will need brick veneers, mortar (grout to fill in), mortar to apply to the bricks, a trowel to apply, a wheelbarrow, tarps to map off your area, a mixer, brick saw to cut the bricks, a chalk line tape measure, caulk gun, and a four foot/2 foot level.

installing brick veneer

Steps To Install Brick Veneer

There are four main steps to create a brick veneer wall. 

1. Prepare The Area

First take time to prepare your space for the project. Lay your tarps out, lay your brick veneers out, and get all tools ready to go in one area.

2. Measure The Space

When you measure your space you will decide exactly how you will lay the bricks. You will need to measure and space the bricks accordingly to not end up with an awkward small piece at the bottom of your wall.

Make sure you are utilizing both full and half bricks. It helps mark the heights of the brick veneers with a pencil so that you know exactly where you will need to place each brick.

3. Install The Bricks

adding bricks to wall

For installation, you will be using wall mortar, which is sometimes called wall butter. You will need to use a notched trowel to put thin set mortar on the wall and brick veneers. 

This process is called double buttering. Some people choose to single butter, meaning they only place mortar on the brick or the wall. You add mortar to each break in order to create what is known as mortar joints. Typically on the exterior or commercial projects, you want to double butter, so there are no spaces between the veneer brick and placing it.

You should first start by applying mortar on the foundation ledge. This is where you will first start laying the first course of bricks, which also create weep holes responsible for letting moisture escape. 

Bricks should always be spaced out from top to bottom to set your heights (otherwise known as "coursing") and then laid in horizontal rows based on preference. Left-handed installers typically enjoy starting from the left, while right-handed installers from the right side.

4. Apply Grout

Once the bricks are installed and have "cured" or dried for at least 12 hours, you are ready to start the grouting process. Typically you install grout in two ways, floated or grout bagged. 

Floated grout installation is installed using a rubber tile float and very wet grout.

adding grout to brick veneer with caulk gun

A pro-tip when installing floated grout is to pre-seal the bricks using a clear sealer (you can find this at any building supply company) and a pump sprayer. This action will help minimize the amount of staining or "haze" o the bricks.

Float installed grout is floated using the rubber float and then sponged clean off the brick veneers, leaving a fully grouted joint. This process is easier for beginners and leaves the grout joint sandy and textured. 

If you are feeling up for the challenge, you can install a grout bagged joint. This process does not require sealing, and much like a cake bag for cake decorations, you use a grout bag to install the mortar in the joint with minimal exposure to the face of the brick. 

For this process, it is better to underapply rather than over apply. You can make multiple "passes" or attempts to fill the grout joints, so it is okay if you are a little less than full on the first try. Once the joint is firm to the touch (think of the firmness of a stale loaf of bread) then it is time to strike the joint with the concave jointer.  Once you struck the joint, it can be brushed at a 45-degree angle using a stiff bristle masonry brush.

Photo of author

Matt DiBara

Matt DiBara, who works at DiBara Masonry wasn't born with a trowel in his hand, but it was there by the age of 9 having mixed his first bag of mortar before he could lift it. The 4th generation of Italian Masonry contractors, Matt accelerated at a young age in masonry and concrete moving so far as to place second in the country in a bricklaying competition. Having grown his masonry company "DiBara Masonry" in Los Angeles to work with some of the most notable celebrities and entertainers, Matt's newest passion is helping homeowners through his new book "The Undercover Contractor' How To Not Get F**cked By Your Contractor"