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December 2014

Project Underground - She's a brick .. wall

With the arrival of cold weather, my running days were put on hold as I jump-started my basement remodel.  I've made great progress since we successfully completed the drywalling.  And it's caused me to learn more about carpentry and tiling along the way from both friends and my own research.

Once the drywall mudding and sanding were finished, I completed several odd jobs that needed to be done,  including:

  • priming all the walls and ceiling for paint
  • replacing some remaining electrical recepticals and running some new wiring
  • digging out 1/2 ton of clay from my crawl space (specifically around the sump pump area)
  • installing all the door and window trim

I had planned to start researching tile and paint samples but had to switch projects due to a surprise we encountered during a trip to the Chantilly's Habitat for Humanity's store

B needed a new garage side door and I said I'd help her haul it on my FJ.  We found one she needed and I loaded it on my roof.  While I was busy, B ran into someone donating Thinbrick veneer to the store.  She knew I had wanted to use it on an interior basement wall, but the original price was going to cost too much, so I dropped the idea.  But the Habitat store said they'd sell it to me for $5 a box!  Each box contained a couple dozen thin-bricks.  Ultimately, I bought 14 boxes for $70.  I estimated it was around a tenth of the price I normally would have paid.  Major find thanks to B. 

Thin bricks
Thinbrick named this variation Peppermill


Installing the bricks required several tubes of caulk adhesive, four 4x8' sheets of cement fiber board, and a few bags of regular brick mortar.  It took a couple weeks to line up the rows of bricks and meticulously use a tuck point tool and trowel to add the mortar between each brick. 

Brick wall
Lining up thin-bricks on full wall

As you can see, I started from the top since I planned to hide any disleveled bricks behind the trim along the sub floor.  The whole basement was never square since the framing had to conform to the crooked concrete walls and corners.  I used the wooden planks to support the bricks around 3 rows at a time.  

Mortar
ProFinish Blended Masonry Mix from Quikrete

   Completed wall
I ended up with more than enough bricks to do another 1/2 wall on the other side of the room, running parallel to this wall, so I knocked that one out over a weekend too.

Midway through the brick laying I was torn on what color of mortar to use.  Eventually, I realized I was over thinking it and stuck with a regular grey mortar.  As you can see, it turned out great.  I often forget it's a faux wall even though I'm the one that built it.  The only minor complaint I had was I couldn't get any corner pieces that could wrap around the door way, so the bricks just end when they get to the door frame.  But it will be covered up by a barn-door style door eventually so I'm not going to sweat it.