Hi all, I'm putting up 1/2 in. thin brick. The compamy I bought the brick from suggested using standard mortar. Any of you guys know how thick/thin I should mix the mortar?
I've tried spreading the mortar on the sheet rock, but gobs of it fall off as I try to trowel it. So, I've resorted to back buttering the brick. Less messy, but more time consuming.
Or maybe I should use something different, like mastic?
Thanks for any replies.
I would recommend thinset, rather than regular mortar. It's still a masonry product and will be 100% waterproof once it cures. Thinset is designed for tile and your 1/2" thin brick is basically tile.
Mix the thinset to the consitancy of peanut butter or a thick cake batter. This is thick enough to make everything stick. You'll still need to support the non-cured brick from the bottom and each row above.
Regular mortar is just not very 'sticky". While it's great for joining regular brick, full brick is stacked compared to the stick on the wall method of installing the thin faux brick.
I agree with Jaybee that you can treat that brick as thick tiles.
If it were me, I would probably use mastic instead of thin set. Mastic has a good initial grab and the tiles don't slide down the wall with mastic. You could use any adhesive to stick the bricks to your drywall.
If you do use thin set, then measure off the area you intend to tile, mark it on the wall and use 2 inch wide painter's masking tape to tape the area off. Spread your thin set on the drywall and then back butter each brick before setting it. That way, even if the thin set on the wall skins over before you tile over it, the moisture from the fresh thin set on the back of the brick will dissolve that skin and the two thin sets will stick to each other just like you mooshed wet thin set into wet thin set.
As far as consistancy goes, I like to mix my thin set so that it's easy to spread but still thick enough to hold it's shape once it's spread. Since you should be using a V notch trowel to do this work, as long as your trowel ridges retain that V shape, you can add more water to make it easier to spread.
Also, your bricks will slide down the wall if you use thin set. Standard brick mortar joint thickness is 3/8 of an inch. So, have something 3/8 inch cut to pieces and use those pieces as tiling spacers. If your floor isn't truly horizontal, or you don't want to start tiling at the floor, then consider attaching a straight piece of wood molding to your wall to support the bottom row of bricks as the thin set or mastic sets up.
Finally, after tiling with your bricks you're going to have to mortar the gaps between them. That's going to be a messy job and you're going to end up with brick mortar all over the face of the bricks. You're going to have to use acid to clean the mortar off the brick faces (bricklayers typically use muriatic acid, which is 26% hydrochloric acid and is one of the more aggressive acids commonly available to the general public). Plan now on how you're going to use that stuff indoors without making a mess or ruining your flooring with hydrochloric acid.
I would suggest you apply either regular masking tape or painter's masking tape to the brick faces before tiling, and then take that masking tape off each brick after tooling your mortar joints. That way, you avoid having to use acid entirely.
I've got more experience than most when it comes to laying brick. People new to brickwork often find that their mortar "dries out" too quickly on them. That's because the bricks absorb moisture from the mortar, so if you keep mixing the mortar you scrape off the mortar joints back into your fresh mortar, the mortar will dry out cuz the stuff you scrape off has had the moisture sucked out of it by the bricks.
What I like to do is mix some extra hydrated lime into the mortar. Not only does lime help hold onto the water in the mortar, so the mortar stays wet and workable longer, but lime also makes the mortar "stickier" so that it sticks to the jointing trowel better for doing the vertical joints. Lime also weakens the mortar, but if this is just a decorative wall, the limestone that the lime eventually turns into is more than strong enough.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
Thanks guys. I'll probably use the mastic. I had been using a square notch trowel, however. 3/8 gap is what I'm doing and plan on using a icing decorating bag to fill in the gaps with the mortar. Just have to be careful with any overflow on the brick.
Nestor, you're right about the brick sucking in the moisture from the mortar. I knew it would to some point, but was surprised by how much.
That icing bag turned grout bag isn't gonna work.
Mortar is fulla sand, and sand grains tend to lock together. That's why when your setting a brick wall, there's a steadily increasing amount of weight on those horizontal soft mortar joints, but the mortar doesn't squeeze out of them. That's because the sand grains in the mortar lock together and prevent the oozing out of that mortar.
You're going to run into that same problem with your makeshift grout bag. Mortar is just too thick and has too much sand in it to squeeze through a nozzle.
I'd still tape the brick faces so that you have the option of filling your mortar joints with a pointing trowel if the grout bag idea doesn't work, and I doubt it will. Let's put it this way: Taping the brick faces won't do any harm, but it sure would save your A$$ if the grout bag doesn't work and you end up with mortar all over the brick faces that can only be removed with acid.
Square notch trowels are meant for setting floor tiles. All wall tiling is done with a V notch trowel. What you're doing is closer to wall tiling than floor tiling, but you don't need to use either kinda trowel. You could stick your bricks to the drywall with double sided tape and it would look just as good and last just as long.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
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