How to Install a Brick Veneer on an Exterior Wall

Brick Veneer Installation

Photo By Blehk

A brick veneer is a popular wall finish that produces a distinct aesthetic appeal and offers a variety of layouts. A brick veneer finish also provide with one of the best fire-rated protection available among all building materials. 

Installing a brick veneer onto your building’s exterior requires special skills and it is usually performed by an experienced brick mason. Brick veneer is produced from shale or clay and are kiln-fired. It is much like facing brick except it is approximately ½ inch to 2 inches thick. Follow these steps when installing a brick veneer.

Brick Veneer Installation Tools

Hammer and nails
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If you plan to install a brick veneer, the following tools are recommended:

  • Hammer
  • 1¾” Roofing Nails
  • Hammer Tacker
  • ½” Staples
  • Tin Snips
  • Wheel Barrow
  • Hoe
  • Masonry Trowel
  • Level
  • Chalk Line
  • Grinder
  • Circular Saw
  • Safety Glasses
  • Dust Mask
  • Grout Bag
  • Soft Bristled Brush

Preparing a Surface for Brick Veneer

Chipped paint on wall
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Prepare the surface before installing brick veneer by removing all dirt, oil, plaster and paint from the wall where the brick veneer will be installed. Chip the existing painted wall surfaces with a chipping hammer and brush away all the flaky bits.

Raising a Brick Veneer

Builder and brick wall
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A brick veneer must be started at the corners and edges of your wall. Begin by installing a metal flashing on top of the concrete brick that will support the brick veneer. The outer edge of the flashing must be turned down over the foundation ledge and the inner edge over the sheathing but under the building paper. Lay a full brick on the top corner edge and then lay a half brick underneath. Continue using this pattern from ceiling to floor.

Leveling the Brick Veneer

Brick wall level
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Start by troweling pre-mixed mortar onto the foundation ledge and preparing it to receive the first course. Leads are installed at wall ends to establish wall planes and the desired height. However, it is very important to level the first course so that the following courses are also leveled.

Brick Veneer Heights

Put a bead of construction adhesive on the back of a brick ¼ inch from the edges. Place it on the wall, applying 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.

Weep holes should be installed in the course above the metal flashing. The weep holes will allow water to escape from the wall and should be installed between 18 and 24 inches apart.

Laying the Brick Veneer

Continue laying brick veneer coursed by troweling on the horizontal bed joint, and then applying mortar onto the brick end for the vertical joint. It is very important to fill all gaps that form between bricks with mortar.

Brick veneer courses are laid in such way that vertical joints of every other course are aligned. A string line is recommended to align the upper front edge of the brick and to align these courses to its final height. A good method to verify vertical alignment is by using window sills and heads by adjusting the thickness of the mortar joint.

Anchoring the Brick Veneer

Photo by Vinzcha

Anchor the brick veneer to the sheathing using wall ties or brick anchors. These anchor ties are commonly L-shapes pieces of corrugated metal nailed through the sheathing into the wall studs. As wall height increases, install the brick veneer ties every four courses and spaced two feet horizontally.

Finishing the Brick Veneer

Red brick wall
Artyom Chuguevsky / EyeEm/Getty Images
After the last course is installed and as the mortar begins to harden, the mortar is tooled to give the finished joints a concave profile. The residual mortar is removed by scrubbing the wall surface with a brush.