How To Veneer a Fireplace With Beautiful Brick

In a home, there's nothing quite like the timeless look of exposed brick walls. Get step-by-step instructions for replicating this classic look on your fireplace.

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Photo By: Christopher Shane

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Getting Started

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a home with brick accents or chimneys. But adding some brick to your home's interior (especially at a new fireplace) doesn't have to mean rebuilding or employing specialty trades. With a little know-how, you can add a brick accent wall easily and safely anywhere.

What You'll Need

Materials: 1/2” cement board, cement board screws, thin veneer brick tile, thinset, mortar or sanded grout (large joint grout only), primer and flat latex paint

Tools: 1/4” notch trowel, grout bag, angle grinder, grout mixing paddle, 5 gallon bucket, gear reduction drill, tape measure, and paint brushes

Time: 8 hrs

Cost: $12/SF

Step One

Start by sourcing a thin veneer brick from a masonry supply or tile house. Veneer brick even comes on backing just like mosaic tile. Become familiar with each manufacturer's instructions for installation.

Step Two

While you could use a tile saw to cut the brick, because we chose to paint the end product so a simple angle grinder will also suffice. Just be sure to wear protective glasses and dust mask.

Step Three

First clad your wall with 1/2” cement board following the manufacturer's directions. If you are adding a fireplace, make sure all materials, framing, and cladding meet the rough in and combustion requirements from your installers.

Step Four

Mix up thinset in a five gallon bucket and apply to the backer board using a notched trowel.

Step Five

Layout your pattern so that the brick courses are symmetric on the wall. Since our framing was new, the size was adjusted to work out to full brick layout exactly.

Step Six

Because we were installing a fireplace, we chose to start the first course on top of the firebox opening using a ledger board.

Step Seven

The benefit of installing a mosaic type tile is that it usually goes up faster. However, there will be the occasional piece that was machine applied crooked. Remove these pieces.

Step Eight

Back butter them using the trowel.

Step Nine

Then install them properly aligned.

Step Ten

Continue installing the panels around corners making sure to align coursing.

Step Eleven

Once all the brick has been set, allow to dry over night. Then apply grout with a mortar bag. This will take longer but will not require the clean up like a typical tile trowel-in grout would. Then strike the joints as required.

Step Twelve

In our case, we wanted the wall to look like it had always been there and had been repainted over the years. First we primed in the brick so that it took less paint since the brick is not porous.

Paint and Enjoy

Finish by painting the brick with your choice of latex paint.

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