How to Install a Brick Veneer on an Exterior Wall
Brick veneer. The popular wall finish not only provides a distinct aesthetic appeal, but also offers a variety layout options. Much like facing brick, the only exception is that it is approximately 1/2-inch to 2 inches thick.
And there are other benefits, too. For example, installing brick veneer, usually produced from shale or clay and kiln-fired, provides one of the best fire-rated protections among all building materials.
Here are some tips on how to install a brick veneer on an exterior wall:
Step 1 – You must start to install a brick veneer on an exterior wall at the corners and edges of your wall. Start by installing a metal flashing on top of the concrete brick, which is designed to add support. Remember to turn down the outer edge of the flashing over the foundation ledge. The inner edge must be turned down over the sheathing but under the building paper.
Next, lay a full brick on the top corner edge and a half brick underneath. Continue using this pattern from ceiling to floor.
Step 2 – Trowel pre-mixed mortar onto the foundation ledge, which will prepare it to receive the first course. Note: Leads are installed at wall ends to establish wall planes and the desired height.
Remember to level the first course so that the other courses are leveled, too.
Step 3 – Place a bead of construction adhesive on the back of a brick 1/4-inch from the edges. Set it on the wall and apply firm pressure for about five seconds. Scoop up mortar mix with a brick trowel. Press the mortar into the joints between the brick veneer using a pointed trowel.
Next, install weep holes in the course above the metal flashing between 18 inches and 24 inches apart. These will enable water to escape from the wall.
Step 4 – Moving forward, continue to lay the brick veneer coursed by troweling on the horizontal bed joint. Apply mortar to the brick end for the vertical joint. Remember to fill all gaps that form between bricks with mortar.
Use a string line to align the upper front edge of the brick and align these courses to its final height; lay the brick veneer courses so that the vertical joints of every other course are aligned. Use the window sills and heads to check your alignment.
Step 5 – Using wall ties or brick anchors, anchor the brick veneer to the sheathing. Anchor ties are commonly L-shaped pieces of corrugated metal nailed through the sheathing into the wall studs. As your wall height increases, install the brick veneer ties every four courses and space two feet horizontally.
Step 6 – After you install the last course and as the mortar begins to harden, tool the mortar to give the finished joints a concave profile. The residual mortar is removed by scrubbing the wall surface with a brush.
For more information, check out the Brick Industry Association PDF: Brick Veneer Construction: Basics of Resisting Water Penetration in Residential Construction
Tools at the ready
Here’s what you need in your toolbox to install a brick veneer on an exterior wall:
- 1 1/4-inch Roofing Nails
- Hammer Tacker
- 1/2-inch Staples
- Tin Snips
- Wheel Barrow
- Masonry Trowel
- Chalk Line
- Circular Saw
- Safety Glasses
- Dust Mask
- Grout Bag
- Soft Bristled Brush