After painting the house I realized that our concrete porch/steps was in need of some attention. My mind immediately jumped to aged herringbone brick. It is just SO beautiful and classic! I knew immediately that this is what our porch needed. I found these thin brick pavers by Old Mill Brick. They are the perfect warm aged look that I was going for!
Because my porch and steps are concrete, I was able to install the pavers directly on top. The whole process was pretty simple! I laid the brick out onto the area to get an idea of how I wanted them. For my 96 sq. ft. porch and two 4 ft wide steps, I purchased 9 boxes of the Herringbone Brickwebb, 3 boxes of the Thin Brick Singles, and 3 boxes of the Thin Brick Corners (all from the Castle Gate Collection). I also purchased two bags of the Old Mill Brick Tile Adhesive.
Products used for this project:
My first step was to start arranging my border brick pavers. I love this look on a brick pathway/patio. It looks more intentional than just a pattern with no border. I used the brick singles turned facing away from the walls to create the border. Once my border met a corner, I would turn the bricks.
I arranged my corner pavers along the edge of the porch. While doing this, I made sure to space out each paver the same width of the bricks in the herringbone sheets to get it all cohesive. My corner pavers needed to be slightly shorter (about 1 in.) in order to sit flush onto the step. I clamped down each piece to a piece of plywood on my sawhorses, and cut each one down with my angle grinder (using a diamond blade). My corner pieces were then ready to be installed!
Now that my border is ready, I mixed up my tile adhesive! I used the Old Mill Brick brand adhesive that is recommended by the company. I mixed the adhesive in a bucket using my hammer drill and a mixing paddle. After my adhesive was mixed, I began scooping it out of the bucket with my trowel to smooth onto the concrete in the area where my border would lay. I worked in sections, smoothing out adhesive and then carefully replacing the pavers spaced evenly. I worked in groups of about 6 pavers at a time. While tile spacers would have been helpful for this, I just eyeballed the spacing. Since I was going for a more aged/rustic look I felt that it didn’t really matter if it was perfect. Once each section of brick was laid, I went back behind to shift the bricks until the spacing was even.
The trick with tile adhesive application is to apply with a notched trowel while tilting it slightly. You want the trowel to not flatten the adhesive, or take too much adhesive away. Tilting right about in the middle is key! This give you the ridges needed for proper adhesion.
After working my way around to complete the border of the porch, I began preparing to placing my herringbone sheets. I marked the center on the porch and marked with a pencil to line up my first brickwebb sheet so that it was exactly centered. I then continued placing my sheets and lining them up so that the spacing between each was even. This gave me the opportunity to find out where I needed to cut my brick sheets before placing with the tile adhesive.
On the areas that ran into the brick border, I just laid the brickwebb over and marked with a straight edge where each would need to be cut (being mindful off cutting for grout line consistency). I had many areas where only a small corner was needed. I also marked and prepared pavers to cut for these.
I purchased a wet tile saw to use for quickly cutting my pavers. This was such a great decision! I reccommend using this over an angle grinder. It can be a bit messy, but it is so much easier! I was able to cut all of my little corner pieces within about 15 minutes. I even cut my brickwebb sheets down easily with it. It was especially helpful for cutting the little striangle pieces that would fit into all of the empty spaces around the border. There were probably forty of these! I was able to use the miter guide on my saw to quickly cut all of these.
Once my pieces were all cut, I began applying the tile adhesive to the concrete surface working in rows. The goal was to press down the brick sheets until the adhesive squeezed through the webbing. Once an entire row was installed, I would then go back to make sure that the spacing was even. It takes a while for the adhesive to dry, so there is time to shift the paver position before it is too firm.
Along the way, there were some pavers that came loose from the brickwebb sheets. When this happened I would apply my adhesive to the back side of the paver to replace it.
I then made my way down to the final row of brickwebb. I placed my corner border pieces along the edge of the step to mark where these sheets needed to be cut. After cutting and applying, I was able to move onto the steps.
I began repeating the process with the corner pieces on the top step. The corner pavers only needed about an inch cut off of each to fit flush onto the steps. After cutting, I applied the first row with adhesive. For these pavers I found that applying the adhesive straight onto the paver was much easier. I continued to use the same method with my trowel for the application. I applied each paver with about the same spacing as the brickwebb sheets. Once the entire step was filled, I was able to shift them to fit full bricks without having to cut one down.
I repeated this for the next two steps making sure to line up each brick with the top step. I also made sure to align the end corner pavers so that they hung over the edge of the step by about 1/2 inch. I did this because I wanted the pavers on the sides to be flush with the side of the steps. Once the corner pieces were installed, I applied single. pavers to the top of each step to line up with the corner pavers. I could have used other paver layouts than this, but I thought that this looked really good.
I moved onto the sides of the steps, arranging the pavers vertically in rows. I cut down the first several on the top to line up with the step. I ended the pattern with some horizontal pieces along the bottom on the steps. during this process, I had to use thicker adhesive and press/hold a bit to keep the pavers from sliding down. After this was done I let the tile adhesive set for 24 hours.
During the process of laying my pavers, there were several corner pieces that broke. After running about six short on these pieces, I was able to use the tile adhesive and use them with no issues. Ordering a new box was an option, but I only needed six pieces which felt silly. I mixed the fixed pieces throughout the steps (and on the edges where there will be less foot traffic) and they are not even noticeable!
It took me a while to figure out the best method for this. I’m still not convinced that I even figured that out. But, I will share what worked best for me and some ideas that I think could also work even better!
I gathered my supplies and began mixing the grout (I used this All-in-one grout in the color Pewter) with water until thick and creamy like frosting. I used a trowel to scoop my grout into my piping bag. I began working in sections and squeezing the grout into the cracks. I found that it worked the best when the grout was filled just up to flush (or slightly more) with the pavers. Anything more than that gets messy. After filling cracks in a section ( I worked my way the entire width of my porch by about 3-4 feet), I let the grout sit to firm up a bit. This is HUGELY important. I then went back and lightly scraped the excess grout with my fingers. After this was complete, I used a wet sponge to press the grout down and smooth it out. Afterward, I went behind to clean up the grout from the brick surface with a wet sponge.
This process was very time consuming and messy. At the end of it all I was left with some significant grout haze. However, I was able to successfully clean that off with my pressure washer once the grout was dry.
As I said before, I am not sure that this was the best method. It was very time consuming and VERY messy. After some research, I found that there is a specific tool for this job that makes it a breeze. Although I did not try it on my porch so I am not sure, a friend of mine shared that she used this method and it worked great! I wish that I knew about this before starting my porch. THIS tool (brick jointer). It is made specifically for this job. The trick with using it is that you have to wait until the grout is pretty firm. Once the grouted section is ready, you use this tool to scrape the grout, and a brush away excess grout with a bristle brush.
Brick Pavers – $1,090 (about 100 sq. ft)
Tile Adhesive – $ 100
Grout – $120
Tile Saw – $130
Trowels/Piping Bag – $30
Sponges/Bucket/Scrubber – $20
TOTAL – $1,490
This was definitely one of my most difficult (and most costly) projects. But I truly love how it turned out and think that it added so much character and warmth to our exterior! It really looks like it has been here for YEARS which is exactly what I wanted. Maybe one day (when I recover from this) I will take on that walkway!