Currently – Railing Coming Soon!
When we first bought our house, the porch was a hot mess. The railing was half missing and Teddy managed to take out the remaining parts with his leash. The concrete porch floor was painted blue and it was more chipped than it was painted. The wood steps (which were painted teal) were rotted with little to no charm. And keep in mind that our house had barn red siding with Christmas green shutters. That’s quite the color combination isn’t it? Now that I’ve painted a picture for you, care to see what it looked like?
The True Before Image
We did a few phase one improvements to get us through until we could do a full porch renovation. Aside from re-siding the house, phase one involved scraping and repainting the porch floor. But painting it was always the temporary plan because I’ve dreamt of having a brick porch for years! And this fall, that dream came true!
There’s something about a brick porch that feels so historic and charming. Tumbled bricks just have a way of looking old and original to the home which is a big reason why I chose this material. The muted brick colors paired with the warm cream grout is a stunning contrast against our green home, and I just can’t stop looking down.
I would consider this project beginner friendly. The grout application may take some practice, but all in all, it’s a very doable project. So if you’re intrigued by the thought of having a charming brick porch, I’m happy to share a step by step guide so you know exactly how to achieve it.
In order for the mortar to have the best adhesion, it’s best to clean your porch floor to remove any dirt, grease, residue, or paint. Our power washer worked well for us. In our case, we had roughly 7 layers of chipped paint on our porch floor so we spent a good couple of days power washing that off.
We started by installing all the corner bricks along the entire front of the porch. We troweled mortar onto the concrete floor and sides as well as the back of each brick to ensure there were no voids or air bubbles. I then pressed each brick on firmly and inserted a 1/2” spacer to maintain even spacing.
NOTE: We didn’t install the brick corners on the sides of the porch until later because we wanted to make sure the corner bricks would line up perfectly with the brick flats. I’ll explain more in a bit.
Because we were working outdoors, the mortar dried fairly quickly so we worked in small sections at a time. Chris troweled mortar on roughly a 36”x36” section and I laid the brick sheets.
We used this mortar and a 1/4” trowel. Don’t be shy with the amount of mortar you use and work quickly. We found that when the mortar was sparse or if Chris got too far ahead of me that the bricks didn’t stick as well.
Right after Chris troweled the mortar, I laid the brick sheets. The bricks are in a running bond pattern and are glued to a mesh backing so it makes application a lot easier…and faster. They stack end to end seamlessly!
I eyeballed a straight line against our house and was happy with the outcome. But if you’re not one for risking it, marking a level chalk line first would eliminate any risk of installing the brick at an angle.
To ensure that the bricks stuck, I applied pressure on each individual brick after laying the sheet in place.
TIP: Some excess mortar may squeeze through the mesh backing where the next row of bricks need to lay. While the mortar was still wet, I scraped up the excess mortar from the mesh to ensure it wouldn’t dry before we could get the next row of bricks on.
When you come to the edge of your porch, you’ll need to decide how you want your bricks to end. To make it look at authentic as possible, we installed brick corners along the sides of the entire porch. (Just like we did on the front of the porch.)
This step requires a little bit of brain power. We dry fit the flat bricks to the edge of the porch and then we dry fit a corner brick on one end. We took note of where the corner brick ended, added a half inch (to account for a gap) and made a mark. Then we did the same thing on the other end.
You still with me? Using our two marks, we made a chalk line across the flat bricks (that are dry fit). This line is where we cut our flat bricks. We peeled the bricks off the mesh backing and used a wet tile saw to cut them one by one. Once all the brick flats were cut, we dry fit both the flats and the corner pieces to ensure we cut everything correctly. And then we mortared it all on. The flat bricks first, and then we installed the corner pieces in line with the flats.
In the end, your porch edge should look a little something like the photo below –
During our laundry room brick install, we tried every grout application method on the internet and finally landed on a method that worked best for us. We used the same method for this project. Chris piped the grout into the gaps so that it was level (if not slightly above) the brick.
Again, Chris worked in small sections and I cleaned up the grout behind him. See next step.
I let the grout dry just a little (about 5 minutes or so) before I went over the grout with my finger to clean it up. With wet gloves, I removed all excess grout by sliding my fingers across the grout. Once all excess grout was removed, I smoothed out any rough surfaces with wet fingers.
You’ll most likely notice that some of the bricks have grout residue on the top of them. Once the grout has dried for 3 hours, you can wet this scrubber and brush the surface of the bricks. I rinsed the scouring pad every 3 bricks or so to ensure it stayed clean and I wasn’t wiping more residue back on.
To ensure that the bricks and grout don’t stain, and to create a water barrier, it’s best to brush on sealer. We used this water based sealer. Brush it on, wait 3 minutes, wipe it off with a white rag. We did two coats.
Railing Coming Soon!
I hope this helps you feel confident that can take on a project like this. You got this!
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