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Old 05-08-2019, 03:35 PM   #1
madmax64
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Subway tile over exposed brick wall, how?

I would like to install subway tiles on the wall in my kitchen. There is an exposed brick wall (please see attached photograph).

I was thinking maybe I can apply thinset mortar over the brick. Let it dry then install subway tiles? If so, how do I make the wall FLAT before I install subway tiles?

Advice, suggestions, opinions, please?

Thanks!
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:14 PM   #2
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How about putting CBUs over the brick as a tiling substrate? My concern would be the total thickness of the CBU, mortar, and tile. Looks like you have maybe an inch or so to the back of the range, which would leave you kind of cramped.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:35 PM   #3
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Are you sure these bricks are full size? We've installed a few brick backsplashes that were a thin veneer, maybe 1/2 - 3/4 thick. A picture taken of the end of the backsplash might help. Or does the brick cover the whole wall, even beyond the backsplash?
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:19 PM   #4
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If that's a brick veneer, they sure did a clean job around the countertop, and it looks like the range hood above was set afterwards. My guess is, it's a brick wall.

If I'm right, then I would use a straight edge to identify any brick that are sitting proud of the rest of the wall. Those areas need to be chipped off with a hammer and chisel. Then I would use wet brick mortar to cover the whole wall and fill in the joints, sort of like a stucco job. Then you'd be ready for tile.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:06 PM   #5
madmax64
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No, not brick veneer. These bricks are REAL. Check out the picture I just attached...

Ignore blue tape you see in the picture. I am painting the cabinets.

thanks
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:12 PM   #6
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Kman, I like your idea. I might do that way. Brick mortar? Not sure if I can find "brick mortar" at Home Depot. Can I use regular mortar (not thinset)?
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:42 AM   #7
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They'll have it.


Like this.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:19 PM   #8
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I would check the age of those bricks. If they are old (pre-1920's or so) they are soft and portland cement based mortar, which is harder than the bricks, can cause the bricks to crack due to expansion and contraction issues. This is obviously a much bigger issue outdoors with freezing and thawing, but even here you can have chipping on the faces which can add up to an issue in time. If these are indeed old, a lime based mortar, which is softer than old brick, might make for a more stable substrate.

That said, I'd probably put up furring strips and mount backer board to that.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:56 PM   #9
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Wet shim some Kerdi board
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:56 PM   #10
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No need to complicate anything, do like Kevin suggested and itll be just right for tile. Leave yourself a soft joint at the counter and cabinets and there wont be any issues down the line.
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:25 PM   #11
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My house was built in 1958. The brick wall (behind that stove is a fireplace in the family room) was built in around 1980's. So, the brick and mortar are still in good condition.

I will apply brick mortar (much like stucco work) to the brick wall, maybe sometime in June. Thank you for your advice and suggestions.
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Old 05-10-2019, 06:54 PM   #12
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They look like Old Chicago Antique bricks, at least that's what they call them around here. They were real popular back in the 80's. Another vote for mudding it out. Embed a plumb screed stick in the mud on each end and use a straight edge to cut the mud.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:58 AM   #13
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I know this is anathema for this forum, but have you considered simply painting the bricks? They're already a durable surface and have great texture.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:58 AM   #14
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Ah, yes! Paint it. Turn an interesting, but impossible to clean backsplash into a truly ugly backsplash that's impossible to clean. That's progress if ever I've seen it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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