Calculate the Amount Required
It is always good to calculate how much of a material that you are going to need before beginning the project. Not only does this prevent you from finding yourself short of materials halfway through, but it also prevents you from wasting money on materials that you won’t use.
You will need to measure the square footage of the area that you intend to cover with thin brick. When doing this, be very aware of corners. One linear foot of corner piece will cover three quarters of a square foot of area. Therefore, if you have a 100 square foot wall with an 8-foot corner, you will only need to be covering 94 square feet with the flat brick because the eight linear feet of corner pieces that you’ll have to use will cover the remaining 6 feet.
You will use three different cements when installing thin brick–scratch coat, mortar and grout cement. These three cements are different because they combine different proportions of cement and sand together.
Scratch coat is made by combining one part Portland cement and two and a half parts sand. Mortar contains one part Portland cement and two parts sand. Grout contains one part mason cement and two parts sand.
Dry mix the cement and sand first before adding water to avoid clumping. When you add water, do it slowly because you can always add more water, but once you’ve added too much and the cement is runny and unstable, it is unusable and will be wasted. Also, try not to use any premixed cement if at all possible because the bonds in it tend to be weak because not enough cement is used.
First cover the entire area that you are applying thin brick to with a layer of scratch coat and roughen it with a soft bristled brush before allowing it to dry. When laying thin brick, try to work from the top down to prevent the mortar from dripping onto the bricks below.
Spread half an inch of mortar on the back of each brick with your trowel and lay it against the wall, pressing and/or shaking it into place so that it’s straight. You may need to cut your bricks with a power saw that has a masonry blade when coming to the end of the bricklaying because you need to fill in the gaps. Be sure to wear safety glasses and a dust mask for this process, because it generates a lot of debris.