How to Create a Faux Exposed Brick Wall Using Veneer

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A cracked plaster wall can reveal the bricks underneath.
A cracked plaster wall can reveal the bricks underneath. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

When older brick buildings were first constructed, the inside walls were often covered with plaster. Over time, the plaster cracked and fell off the wall, leaving areas of exposed bricks. If this is a look that you find appealing, you can recreate it in your home with brick veneer and plaster. Veneer is blocks of concrete cast to look like bricks or stone.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild cleanser
  • Washed sand
  • Portland cement
  • Masonry brush
  • Trowel
  • Veneer bricks
  • Wet saw
  • Safety goggles
  • Ear protection
  • Grout
  • Grout bag
  • Joint tool
  • Concrete sealer
  • Plaster
  • Hawk

Installation

Wash the wall and the back of the veneer bricks with a mild cleanser.

Mix two parts washed sand and one part Portland cement until it is as thick as mashed potatoes. This will form the batch of mortar.

Brush water onto the back of the first brick. This will keep the brick from drawing moisture from the mortar, which can cause it to crack.

Use a trowel to apply a 1/2-inch of mortar onto the back of the brick and the spot on the wall where you're installing the brick. Start at the bottom of the wall, and work your way up to the ceiling.

Press the brick into the mortar on the wall. Twist the brick slightly as you install it. Install each brick until the wall is complete. If necessary, cut the bricks with a wet saw to allow space for electrical outlets and light switches. Space the bricks about 3/8-inch apart to simulate the appearance of a brick wall.

Place grout between the bricks with a grout bag. Run over the grout with a joint tool to create a curved surface in the grout. Allow the mortar and grout to set for the time specified on the packaging.

Cover the veneer bricks with concrete sealer to protect the surface.

Adding Plaster

Mix a batch of plaster following the manufacturer's instructions.

Wipe water onto the hawk, then place a couple of scoops of plaster onto the hawk. The hawk is a metal tray with a handle on the bottom in the center used for plaster and stucco. The water prevents the plaster from sticking to the hawk.

Slide the trowel across the hawk to scoop plaster onto its bottom half.

Hold the trowel at a 30-degree angle along the bottom of the wall, and spread the plaster onto the veneer. Slide the trowel up toward the ceiling, flattening it as you spread the plaster. Turn the trowel upside-down, then go back down the wall following the same path.

Leave certain sections of the brick veneer exposed to simulate the effects of plaster falling off of the wall. Run the edge of the trowel into the plaster to create the appearance of cracks. Allow the plaster to set for the time specified on the packaging.

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