Adventures in Brick Laying


One reason I started blogging was to see if I still loved writing as much as I did as a child.  In Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home she suggests that the things you loved/did for fun as a child reflect your true loves. When I was a child I loved writing stories, and boy were they dramatic.  So I should love writing about our dining room because oh, the drama.

Before we redid the dining room I felt the house could start leaning a little too Bombay Company (may it RIP) and wanted to inject a little industrial edge.  Thus was born the brick wall.

And I won’t lie, it was a bear.  I think I can pin this on a few mistakes:

Curious to see what they are? Click below to see where I went wrong INCLUDING some awesome before and after pictures!

1.  Thinking we could get it done and wrapped up in a few days (we came close, but I laid in bed and cried every night when I went to sleep at 3:30 am)

2. Mixing the grout inside (every time we dumped new mortar mix in the bucket, it let off an atomic bomb looking mushroom cloud of mortar dust that settled everywhere in the house.)

3.  Not carefully ensuring each batch of mortar was the exact same consistency.  (If it was too thin the bricks were closer together making it impossible to keep everything even — and it got all over the bricks.  If it was too thick the bricks were too far apart and they didn’t stick very well)

I’m pretty sure I could go on and on, but I’m guessing you get the idea.

But in the end we got the wall up!  I did all the brick laying, and Jared did all the brick cutting.  And let’s just say there was some suffering there, but he’s not here to discuss it, so we’ll leave it at that.

After preparing the surface per the manufactures instructions, we decided on the “back butter” method of applying the bricks.  We mixed thinset with grout in a buckets, and then applied it to the back of the bricks with a thin trowel.  The thinset/mortar looked like a pyramid on the back when it was ready.  I then pushed it on the wall, squishing the thinset/mortor around the brick.  I then used the corner of the trowel to smooth the grout line between the brick and the bricks around it.  Continually checking for level with — a level.  Every other new row that we began started with a half brick (we cut a bunch in half at one time) to ensure the brick pattern.

Let’s take a look, shall we?




TODAYphoto (6)

Pretty fun, right? And in the end, we do love it.  It gets lots of great comments.  With the fireplace going, I think this was my favorite room in the house this Holiday season.

Has anyone else ever used Thin bricks? Did you cry? Do tell.


4 thoughts on “Adventures in Brick Laying

  1. Kathleen January 14, 2014 at 10:53 AM Reply

    Pain and crying, yes – but the end result is fabulous! Is this the most stressful home reno you’ve done to date?

    • adventuresinsoyland January 14, 2014 at 11:40 AM Reply

      Anything with grout has been tricky but I think this was the most difficult!

  2. Natalie January 14, 2014 at 11:48 AM Reply

    Katie 🙂 Love your writing! Holy cow on the brick wall! Jon was ready to strangle me after doing a backsplash, and he worked silly on a tub surround, but THIS? A whole wall is incredibly admirable. Way to go!

    • adventuresinsoyland January 14, 2014 at 4:32 PM Reply

      The nice thing about walls is there are not too many things to work around like window sills!! I salivate at the thought of retiling our bathroom but I haven’t found the courage yet 🙂

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