A brick backsplash can add a classic, timeless look to any kitchen. Brick has been used as a building material for centuries, prized for its durability, aesthetics, and versatility. Installing a brick backsplash in your kitchen allows you to bring some of that old-world charm into a modern setting.
While it requires some special consideration, adding a brick backsplash is a DIY project that can be managed by many homeowners. With proper planning and preparation, you can create a stunning focal point in your kitchen that provides the look of brick with the easy-care functionality required for a kitchen backsplash.
Planning Your Brick Backsplash
Before you start demolition and installation, invest time in planning your backsplash design. Measure the space and make a plan for the pattern and placement of your brick tiles.
Consider the following when planning your backsplash layout:
- Brick style – Do you want standard bricks or distressed, antique-looking ones? Decide on size and shape as well.
- Pattern design – A basic running bond or stacked layout is easiest. More complex herringbone or basketweave patterns take more precision.
- Border tiles – Border or trim tiles allow you to frame the backsplash area and provide a finished look.
- Backsplash height – Standard height is 4 feet, but you can go higher or lower if desired.
- Outlet placement – Plan outlet placement carefully if cutting into the brick.
Take measurements and sketch out your backsplash design before purchasing materials. This will ensure you buy the right amount of brick and accessories.
Purchasing Materials for a Brick Backsplash
Once you’ve settled on a design, purchase the necessary materials:
- Brick tiles – Brick veneer tiles come in different sizes and shapes. Buy extra in case any break.
- Mortar or thinset – Use mortar for a traditional installation or thinset for easier application.
- Grout – Choose grout color to match or contrast your bricks.
- Border tiles – Purchase coordinating trim tiles for edges and around outlets.
- Backerboard – Cement board provides a stable base for installation.
- Tools – Trowel, grout float, sponge, mixing paddle, and wet saw at minimum.
Shop specialty tile stores for the best selection of brick tiles and accessories suited for backsplash use.
Preparing the Work Area
To ensure a successful project, prep your work area properly before installation:
- Clear the space – Remove everything from walls and counters in the backsplash area.
- Protect surfaces – Cover counters, floors, and appliances to avoid damage.
- Clean thoroughly – Scrub the backsplash area to remove grease and residue.
- Install backerboard – Secure cement backerboard to provide a stable, water-resistant surface.
- Turn off electricity – Shut off power to outlets that will be behind the backsplash.
Proper prep prevents problems down the road. Take your time to get the workspace ready before moving on to brick installation.
How to Install a Brick Backsplash
Once your prep work is complete, it’s time to install the brick tiles:
Step 1: Mix Mortar or Thinset
- Mix mortar according to package directions. Thinset can be prepared similarly, following manufacturer guidelines.
Step 2: Apply the Mortar
- Use the trowel to spread a layer of mortar onto the backerboard where the first bricks will be placed.
Step 3: Set the First Row of Bricks
- Place the corner brick first, then work outward, setting additional bricks in place along the bottom.
Step 4: Check Alignment Frequently
- Use a level often to ensure your rows stay straight and evenly spaced.
Step 5: Continue Applying Mortar and Setting Bricks
- Work in small sections, spreading mortar and installing bricks row-by-row until completed.
Step 6: Let Mortar Dry
- Allow the mortar to fully cure according to product guidelines before grouting.
Step 7: Mix and Apply Grout
- Prepare grout and use a grout float to spread it over the brick joints. Let it set briefly.
Step 8: Clean Excess Grout
- Use a damp sponge to wipe away excess grout in a circular motion. Rinse sponge frequently.
Step 9: Seal the Brick
- Once grout has cured, apply a protective sealer to the brick to help resist staining.
Follow all product instructions closely during the installation and grouting process for best results.
Tips for Achieving a Quality Brick Backsplash
Focus on these tips as you complete your brick backsplash installation:
- Maintain 1/8-inch spacing between bricks for proper grout lines.
- Keep bricks clean during installation; wipe away excess mortar right away.
- Use plastic spacers to help maintain even grout line width.
- Check level and pattern alignment frequently as you install bricks.
- Clean all grout residue from brick face when wiping joints.
- Avoid smearing or scratching brick surface when cleaning.
- Allow full drying time before sealing bricks at the end.
Take your time and apply best practices throughout the installation process to get professional-looking results.
Maintaining Your Brick Backsplash
Caring for your brick backsplash helps keep it looking its best:
- Seal brick every 1-2 years to protect from kitchen stains.
- Use gentle cleaners and avoid abrasive scrubbing.
- Re-apply grout in any areas that show cracks or damage.
- Avoid exposing brick to excessive moisture that could cause damage.
- Use trivets and hot pads when setting hot pans on backsplash surface.
With proper care and maintenance, your brick backsplash can stay beautiful for many years before ever needing repair.
Achieve Timeless Appeal with a Brick Backsplash
Installing a brick backsplash brings classic material into a contemporary space for a look that never goes out of style. With thorough planning and care taken during installation and finishing, you can execute a brick backsplash project successfully. The end result will provide natural beauty, texture, and warmth that enhances your kitchen decor for decades to come.