When we bought our house, the porch was painted red. So I painted over it to make it grey. Well, every year it chips and every year I give it a new coat of paint. I was sick of that process and want something that’ll be beautiful and classic for my old house. So we’re laying brick over the cement! Here’s a tutorial on installing brick pavers on a porch if you want to try too!
Here’s some pictures of my peeling paint on my front porch.
It is a horrible first impression and every time I walk to my front porch I vow to change it.
Well, today is the day! I’m using brick veneers (also known as thin bricks) from Old Mill Brick. I’m going with the color Vintage Oak because I like that they’re a warm color without being too red. I like that the bricks look older which works nicely for my house since it was built in 1905.
I love old homes and after traveling to Charleston and seeing their beautiful historic homes with brick porches, I figured it’d be a great solution to my paint issue.
Thank you to Old Mill Brick for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own
installing brick pavers on a porch tutorial
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
- Old Mill Brick Vintage Oak Think Brick Sheets
- Old Mill Brick Vintage Oak Corners
- Tile Adhesive
- Back-up Tile Adhesive
- Unsanded Grout- Platinum
- Latex Gloves
- 3/8″ Tile Spacers
- Mask Respirator
- Jobsite Marker
- Angle Grinder to cut the Brick
- Diamond Blade for Masonry Cutting
- Diamond Wheel Cup for paint removal
- Notched Trowel
- Flat Trowel
- Bucket Scoop
- Grout Piping Bag
- Grouting Sponge
- Mixing Paddle
- 3/8″ Brick Joiner
- Utility Knife
- Folding Work Bench
- Chalk Line
- Grout Handheld Saw
step 1- plan
Start by calculating the number of bricks that will be needed based on the porch’s dimensions. My porch is 18′ long by 5-1/2′ deep. That is about 97 square feet. For that, I ordered 18 boxes of the Brickweb Sheets. Each box covers 7 square feet so that gives me 126 square feet of the Brickweb sheets. I like to order at least 15% overage to allow for mistakes.
I also ordered 5 boxes of the Thin Brick Corners. Each brick is 2-1/4″ wide and will have a 3/8″ grout line. Each box of the corner pieces has 18 bricks. I need to cover 212″ for the front ledge of my porch. So I need about 80 bricks. The 5 boxes gives me 90 bricks- so that’s a little tight, but should be fine.
Before starting, it’s also important to decide on the pattern and design you want for your porch. Old Mill Brick creates pre-made brick sheets in a running board or herringbone pattern. I’m going with a running board (classic brick) pattern because I don’t want to deal with complicated cuts. There’s also single bricks available so really any pattern or border can be made.
I ordered my tile adhesive at the same time. I’m using a product made by Old Mill Brick for thin brick. Each bag covers 90 square feet. So for my 97 square foot porch, I got two.
step 2- remove paint from concrete
Because my concrete porch has been painted, the paint needs to be removed before adding the brick. Why? Paint breaks the bond between the tile adhesive & the concrete.
Especially since the porch will experience extreme high and low temperatures with freezing in the winter and sunny days in the summer, it’s important that the bond is good between the brick and the concrete. Water melting into the grout can also loosen the brick from paint. So we want a strong bond to create a sturdy foundation. Thus, the paint has to go.
To remove the paint, there’s a few options
Since it’s already pretty cold and our hose has been winterized, we’re starting with the angle grinder. First, clear the porch of any existing decor.
Second, begin grinding the paint off the concrete. Our 97 square foot porch took about 6 hours to grind all the paint off of. This is hard monotonous work. Make sure to wear a mask and googles because the grinding produces a lot of dust.
During the grinding process, keep a shop vac handy so the excess dust can be removed.
While grinding, we realized the trim on our door leading to the garage needs to be removed so it can be trimmed and then re-installed once the brick is installed. Only one door, needs this step, but keep an eye out if any door trim hits the concrete, it’ll need to be removed too.
step 3- dry lay the bricks
Next, it’s important to dry lay-out the bricks to visualize what it’ll look like. This is also a good time to plan out the cuts, and make sure there’s not small slivers of brick needed for the layout. It’s taking your vision and making sure that it works to make it a reality.
For my layout, I’m using the corner pieces for the ledge of my porch. Then for the rest, I was planning on having running board bricks from one side to the other. Simple and so beautiful!
figure out the layout
Once I actually put the bricks out we saw how much the back wall of our porch moves- there’s a 3″ difference from one side. That’ll be really obvious with the bricks hitting the side of the house parallel to it.
The first alternate we thought of was placing the running bricks parallel to the front corner. But I didn’t like how that would look and keeping the lines straight would be hard.
For the solution, we choose to keep the running brick pattern perpendicular to the front corner. Then in the back, we’ll do another border of bricks solder style on the back wall. That feels like a great solution!
Now that we have that decision, we laid out the brick from side to side to see where to start to have a good amount of bricks finished at the other side of the porch.
Note, if using the Brick Webb (the sheets of brick), be careful when moving them. Sometimes a brick falls off the backing. That’s not a big deal, but if it breaks it can’t just be placed back on the sheet.
The brick is also available as thin brick single pieces. I didn’t order any of those because I didn’t plan on using them for the layout. So I removed some bricks from the backing. In hindsight, I should’ve ordered a box of the single bricks. They’re a little bit less expensive to buy them in individual brick pieces as well.
Once the layout is figured out, stack the sheets of brick off the porch. For us, we choose to leave the corner pieces in place for the next step.
step 4- install the bricks on the step
cut the bricks
And now, let’s start installing the bricks. Start with the corner bricks that will be laid along the front step of the porch area.
Make cuts on the brick corner pieces that need to be trimmed to fit
To cut brick, there are two options. One, you can use an angled grinder with a diamond blade. Or two, Use a tile saw (which also works as a grinder). Note, if brick is cut with a tile saw it needs to dry before being installed.
Because I have columns on my porch, some of the corner pieces of brick need to be trimmed. Use a full piece and mark it where it needs to be cut. These jobsite markers work great for marking the brick.
To cut brick pieces with the angle grinder, attach a diamond blade. Then, clamp the brick to a work table (I love our folding version) and place a piece of wood on top of the table to protect it. Cut each brick one at a time. Or use a tile saw to cut the brick. Though the tile saw gets the brick wet so those need to dry before being installed.
Make sure to save the extra pieces of brick because they can possibly be re-used.
mix the mortar
Mix the tile adhesive with water slowly to the consistency of frosting by putting the mixing attachment on a drill. The mortar should look creamy. If it is too dry, add more water. If it is too wet, add more mortar. Do not over mix it. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then mix again.
The result when trowling the tile adhesive onto the porch should be thick enough that the ridges created by the notched trowel stand on their own. These ridges are important to create adhesion between the brick and concrete.
Tip- keep a bucket of water handy. After the mortar is mixed, the mixing attachment can be cleaned in the bucket of water quickly.
For the corner pieces, back butter each piece by using a flat trowel with tile adhesive on it and covering the back with a layer of the adhesive. Use a spacer between each piece- brick spacing is typically 3/8″ so I’m using these tile spacers.
lay the corner bricks
Work from one side of the porch to the other and lay one brick at a time. Back butter it, put it down, and put spacers between the brick. Every three bricks, I use a level and make sure all the bricks are pushing against it to lay flat across the level so the bricks are perfectly lined up.
If working with a partner, it goes faster. We like to have one person back butter and the second person place the bricks and the spacers and make sure they are lined up with the level.
Once the step is done, move onto the rest of the porch.
step 5- install the rest of the bricks
Next, install the body of the porch brick.
For this step, take a chalk line and snap a grid on the concrete to see the sections to work in. It works nicely to map out boxes of two pieces of the brick sheets to lay at a time. For the edge, we choose to work with one brick sheet and then the columns of brick to finish the back.
apply the adhesive
Again, start from one side and work to the other and apply tile adhesive onto the porch concrete before laying the sheet over it. Note, for our first sheet of bricks, we trimmed the bricks a bit according to what we learned from the layout.
To apply it the mortar, use the bucket scoop and put tile adhesive directly onto the concrete. Then use the notched trowel- working with the flat side, smooth out the mortar. It works best to hold the trowel at a 45 degree angle. The mortar should stick to the back of the trowel. That way it can be smoothed over high parts and moved to low sections.
Once it’s smooth, take the notched side and create grooves in the tile adhesive. These will create suction with the brick sheets so they hold strongly.
lay the brick sheets
Put the sheets of brick over the tile adhesive. Line it up, then push it in place. The sheets make it so that the brick can be laid quickly!
It’s best to work in sections so the tile adhesive doesn’t dry before the bricks can be laid on top of it. Trowel on the adhesive for 2 sheets of bricks at a time, put them in place, and then repeat for the next section. Work from one side to the other.
Note, make sure to lay the Brick Webb sheets with the bricks that stick out to the left and the side with the mat showing to the right. Work from left to right so that each consequent sheet lays nicely over the last sheet.
To cut the Brickwebb (the sheets the running brick are laid on), pull off excess bricks then use a utility knife to cut the backing. Then use the tile saw or angle grinder on the bricks. Make sure to save the extra pieces of brick because they can possibly be re-used. We only needed to cut the backing for around the columns and at the end of our porch.
If a paver comes loose from the Brickwebb sheet (that happens once in a while), apply tile adhesive to the back of the paver. Then, push it back in place on the mesh backing.
Make sure to keep a damp sponge nearby to wipe any tile adhesive that gets on top of the brick. It’s much easier to wipe it off when wet than later when it’s dry and super hard.
Continue laying down the brick sheets and the border pieces for next to the house until the brick on the porch is fully installed.
Once the brick is laid, let the brick dry for 24 hours.
time spent laying brick
Note, we laid the brick over two days. Each day took 6 hours of work to install the brick on our 97 square foot porch.
On our second day we ran out of tile adhesive at the very end. The alternative product we purchased we couldn’t get to mix correctly. We spent a few hours trying to make that work. Then we bought this Back-up Tile Adhesive and it immediately worked! It was frustrating to have an issue at the end of the day.
I wish I would’ve order more of the Old Mill Brick Tile Adhesive because it is made for the product and super easy to use.
The last few bricks also took longer to install because we could only work one person at a time as we had a small work area at the end of the porch.
temperature and laying brick
It’s best to lay brick when it’s between 40 degrees and 90 degrees outside. Because it’s November, it’s starting to get cold where I am in Utah. Overnight, we have the risk of the temperature dropping below 40 which would effect the brick from properly curing.
To assist in keeping the brick at the proper temperature, we covered them in canvas dropcloths and towels at night. That way the brick can still breathe.
We also tented our porch in tarps. This helps with the temperature too and ensures that any rain doesn’t fall on the curing bricks.
Note, these steps are only necessary if it’ll be slightly below 40 degrees or if it’s going to rain.
step 6- grout
Finally, it’s time to grout. This is adding a mixture of water, cement, and sand between the pieces of brick. It fills the gaps and reinforces the brick. To prep for grout, vacuum the porch.
If any excess mortar is on the bricks, use a grout saw to remove it.
I choose a platinum grey color in sanded grout to contrast a bit with the brick. We’re also using a quick setting grout because the weather is getting colder and it seems smart to get it set as soon as possible (before the weather gets worse).
Prepare the grout by mixing it with water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how much water to use and how long to let it sit. I really like our grout because for each bag, it called for 1 quart of water. That makes for the perfect consistency. Once done mixing, the grout should be thick like peanut butter.
Next, load the grout into a piping bag with a trowel. When using the piping bag, the grout goes directly between the bricks.
The grout can also be applied with a trowel and float. That smears the grout over all the brick and makes for a bigger clean-up so I prefer this method. Work section by section and squeeze the grout into the cracks.
smooth the grout
Once the grout is applied, let it dry for at least 15 minutes. Then, use a 3/8″ Brick Joiner to smooth the grout joints between the bricks. For brick, the grout dips down. Hold the brick joiner and press it along the grout lines to flatten the joints uniformly.
Grouting is messy work. After using the brick joiner, there is lots of excess grout or spots with gaps in the grout. So I like to use my fingers to further push the grout into the spaces.
Note, grout should go between two pieces of brick. When it’s against wood, silicone that matches the grout is best to use to prevent cracking.
Use a wet sponge to clean up any excess grout. Make sure to switch out the water to get as much grout off the bricks as possible.
It’s important to know that brick needs to be sealed before grouting to keep the color true. I choose not to seal and so the grout lightens up the color of the brick. Most likely, this should naturally wear off over the years. I like the slightly softer look for my porch.
Most bricks don’t need to be sealed. And not using a sealer means that the brick is better able to breathe. Plus a sealant can trap water in bricks (which can cause damage). But, by not using a sealer, it means the grout (and other things) can stain the the brick.
Note- we took one day to grout. It took 8 hours and 5 boxes of grout. The work is tiring as you’re on your hands and knees and using your hand strength to squeeze out the grout from the bag. Or washing off the grout- it’s all hard work.
after- installing brick pavers
Now the brick is down and I LOVE how it turned out!
It honestly feels like it was always meant to be here. This old 1905 house was begging for a porch full of character.
The brick adds so much texture to the space. I’m so happy that I won’t have to paint the porch every year. And I think the brick will camouflage dirt better than the paint did.
Thank you to Ruth Cozier from Developing Bliss Photography for the beautiful after photos!
Once grouted, the thin brick looks like full pieces of brick! Especially with how the corner pieces lay on top of the ledge.
Here’s my price breakdown for installing bricks on a porch-
Note, this is a very expensive project. Brick is labor intensive to make thus it’s expensive to buy.
- Old Mill Brick Vintage Oak Think Brick Sheets $114/box- 18 boxes come to $2,052
- Old Mill Brick Vintage Oak Corners $66/box- 5 boxes come to $330
- Tile Adhesive $45/bag- 2 bags come to $90
- Unsanded Grout- Platinum $44- 5 boxes add up to $220
- Latex Gloves $5- 2 sets for $10
- 3/8″ Tile Spacers $5- 3 sets for $15
- Mask Respirator $6
Subtotal- $2723 in supplies
Tools we had to buy-
- Angle Grinder to cut the Brick $100
- Diamond Blade for Masonry Cutting $32
- Diamond Wheel Cup for paint removal $66
- Grout Piping Bag $7
- Grouting Sponge $3
- 3/8″ Brick Joiner $6
Subtotal- $214 in tools
This project is definitely an investment. It is not a cheap and fast upgrade. But I feel like it was worth it. I’ve been wanting to do this for years so it feels really special to see my vision come to life.
In conclusion, even though this was a challenging and expensive project installing brick pavers on a porch, I’m so happy with this upgrade to my house! I think it looks like it was always meant to be there and adds so much character. What do you think of this project? Would you try it? Do you have any questions on the steps?
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