Article Line Long1
Design

The Budget-Friendly Brick House Hack – How to Clad Your Home in Brick for The Same Price As Siding (Or LESS)

My mind was blown and maybe it shouldn’t have been. Maybe I should have known white brick was a possibility, that there is a version of it that is within our budget but I didn’t. For the farmhouse’s new sunroom, I really wanted it to be in a different material than the original home, but obviously still something classic. I love white painted brick A LOT and the fireplace inside is the original white brick so it felt appropriate. But traditional masonry is FAR more expensive in labor than applying wood siding so I gave up on it pretty early on. Then I saw on my friend (and amazing designer) Rosa Beltran‘s Facebook page how she redid a client’s house in painted brick for LESS than it would be for wood siding. I immediately texted ARCIFORM about it. They hadn’t ever done this cladding before but were excited to explore it. So I reached out to Rosa to ask how she did it…

So with her generous info, we’re gonna show you a step by step breakdown of the entire process, but first, let’s take a look at what the end result looks like. But wait…how could we show you how it’s going without showing you how it started???

Before

Here’s what the exterior of the home looked like before…

and here’s the wizardry that Rosa did on this home…

AFTER

So here’s the general overview from Rosa so you can get an idea of what she did, but we’ll also break it down step by step in the next few paragraphs so don’t you worry.

From Rosa:So we clad the exterior of the house with “thin brick” that I believe we sourced at Lowes, but is widely available. Behind the brick was a scratch coat of stucco… so we prepared the walls just as you would if you were going to finish with stucco. Then we installed the thin brick using spacers (just like with tile) right on top of the stucco scratch coat. Grouted with sanded grout. And lastly, we painted everything with standard latex house paint (you can use limewash instead but we used paint.) After laying the thin brick we used other types of thicker brick to create some architectural detailing for window sills, arched doorways, little decorative arches above the windows, trim along the roofline, etc.

That thin brick thing?? IT’S GENIUS. And widely available. Here’s a link to the brand that Rosa used for this project and here are the types of brick they have if you’re curious:

So now that you have the gist of what’s going on, here’s a step-by-step on how to actually do it. Also please note unless you’re very skilled at building houses, we recommend this being less of a DIY and more of a hire a contractor thing to ensure it looks (and functions) its best 🙂

Step One: Prepare Walls with a Scratch Coat

The first thing you’ll do in order to achieve this hack is to prep your exterior walls with a scratch coat as if you were going to finish it off with stucco. We found this video (by a very sweet man named Kurt) on how to create a scratch coat and it’s all in all very entertaining and gives you a solid overview if you want more info. Rosa informed us that all the waterproofing and wall prep is done just the same as you would for a fully stuccoed house, so it’s totally up to snuff if that was a concern of yours.

Step Two: Install Brick Using Spacers

This step is pretty much exactly what you would do if you were applying tile. You just take your brick, apply it from the bottom up and put spacers in between each so they are evenly dispersed. You apply them directly onto the stucco scratch coat so it will adhere to that 🙂

Step Three: Grout With Sanded Grout

You probably could’ve guessed what came next, but you just apply sanded grout between the brick (yes, just like you would regular tile!). Just ensure that it’s sanded so it has that brick-vibe to it. Here’s a close up of what the sanded grout looks like:

Then, you basically do the very tedious task of covering the entire house. It might take a second but BOY is it worth it in the end. Also if you’re worried about the cost of labor and materials, know that redoing the exterior siding of your home is pretty much never cheap (especially if you’re wanting brick), and Rosa found this to be even a little more cost-efficient than doing regular siding. Here’s what she had to say on the cost matter:

“As far as pricing, the material cost isn’t crazy and the labor is more like paying a tile setter than a finish carpenter, which I found to be more economical than wood siding which requires so much more cutting and nuance. It was much easier to just brick up the walls and call it good.”

Step Five: Add in Any Additional Brick Details

Geez, Rosa is a genius. And if you weren’t convinced before, let me show you why she is so smart AGAIN. After applying the thin brick & grouting it with sanded grout, Rosa then created borders and detailing with regular brick, so you’d never even think that there was thin brick underneath it. She put her details on rooflines and around windows/doors, and for this home did some really cute archway detailing. I’m a BIG fan.

See that little arch above the window?? It’s just…so charming…

Rosa also did a stacked archway for the entrance and added brick under the window to create a window sill which adds a lot more depth. Check it out:

GAH SO SWEET.

Step Six: Select Paint Color & Paint

Next up, you just paint your desired color using a standard latex house paint. Rosa informed us that you can also use limewash if you’d rather.

Look at how great this looks. You would never know it was “thin brick”.

See how special yet simple that entrance is with that arch?

So there’s the insanely awesome hack I am so excited to steal (with credit) for the farm sunroom exterior. Have you guys tried this before?? Any key learnings or advice? I’m all ears. See you in the comments xx

**Once again this project & genius idea is by my amazing designer friend Rosa Beltran. Check her out for all your design needs as well as custom furniture. She owns an incredible store called Clad Home where I’ve gotten a bunch of custom pieces made for truly affordable prices. Thank you, Rosa!!!

0 0 vote
Article Rating

WANT MORE OF WHERE THAT CAME FROM?

Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

72 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Linda
1 month ago

The result looks wonderful. Will the sunroom be constructed with wood and then cladded? Why not build out of bricks from scratch? It is an addition to the main house and not part of the load bearing set up of the 1st floor. Anne from Germany should be able to plan it. Total normal in Europe. Are the costs that much higher? you have just one contractor, not at least two: wood first, then dry wall, then plaster and cladding.

Tina
1 month ago

I like it for the most part, but there are a few giveaways that it’s not structural masonry. The arches lack a keystone brick, for example, which to me looks off.

Elaine
1 month ago
Reply to  Tina

Had the same thought! Shame the contractor wasn’t advised to start with the keystone and work outwards, instead of inwards. It would definitely have added that extra bit of “authenticity” to the cladding. That being said I’m impressed in a way that I didn’t think I would be, because in Ireland you can spot stone/brick cladding a mile off, it’s so obvious and not in a good way. But the white paint/black windows/styling elevates the whole look and I like it.

Lori
1 month ago
Reply to  Tina

I agree. Those stand out like a sore thumb, especially the sloppy cuts at the top of the door archways. I think it looked more believable as solid brick without the arches.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Tina

If thd arch had a keystone it’d be pretty convincing for sure!

liz
1 month ago

I’m not sure in any place by California or other expensive states to build would this be less expensive than a hardi siding. In Texas stucco scratch coat and tile would be more expensive. Also you have some maintenance issues… I hope they added weep screen and rain drips as you would a stucco house or you could get water penetration. Also in very cold climates or on ‘freeze days’ you can have tiles pop off which is a pretty big risk in climates other than CA. we can see tile pops here in Texas pretty regularly due to the scratch coat tile, thin set and grout expanding and contracting at different rates. We use thin brick on commercial projects regularly in Texas, but I wouldn’t do it in a lot of climates. I don’t think I would do it for an entire house. Here the cost between that and full masonry isn’t too bad and its worth it in my opinion to do a real masonry, The main cost difference here is adding in the brick ledge required for real masonry if an existing house. If a new house real real masonry is the only thing I would do… Read more »

Meredith
27 days ago
Reply to  liz

I agree with, Liz! In Tennessee thin brick is a cheap construction method and it falls off too easily. We should be promoting architecture that is eco-friendly and sustainable. The long-term investment is way better than a quick fix.

Erin Dae
1 month ago

Beautiful! I will say that for longevity of the paint on the brick, they make special paint for that. John and Sherry at YoungHouseLove did it on their Richmond house. https://www.younghouselove.com/painting-our-brick-house-white

Goldie Yawn
1 month ago
Reply to  Erin Dae

I was just going to say the same thing! I looked into painting our traditional brick colored home white and the masonry paint definitely looks like the way to go. A little harder to track down but will last much longer than traditional latex house paint.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Erin Dae

Yessss!! I painted the back section of my house (it’s a full doubke brick build – standard where I live in Australia) and the special paint for brick is much more durable.

Marisa
1 month ago

It looks really good! But is this in LA? Growing up there, I thought that brick construction was rare because it’s such a risk with earthquakes. Is that not the case with this situation?

emily
1 month ago
Reply to  Marisa

i was told the main reason there’s no brick in LA when i moved here is that the air is too dry and it just crumbles away, which makes a lot of sense when i remembered brick is just dry mud. you need just a bit of moisture to keep brick looking right!

Mélanie Tanquerel
1 month ago
Reply to  emily

It s cooked mud. If it was dry mud it would just crumble at the firdt rain

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  emily

Naaaah!!! That’s not true.
I live in a dry part of Australia and double brick is standard.
Brick costs a LOT more. That’s all.
Brick, ceramics, tiles…all the same.

Sarah
30 days ago
Reply to  Marisa

Yes, real brick masonry is risky with seismic movement.

Diana
29 days ago
Reply to  Sarah

Here in NZ lots of seismic movement, we use bricks lots.

LN
30 days ago
Reply to  Marisa

I live in the LA area and before we could move into our over a hundred year old home we had to replace a brick chimney due to some instability and we were not allowed to rebuild with just bricks. We were told that no new home construction can use straight masonry for chimneys in the area due to earthquakes… we had to cut the bricks in half and do something similar to this project.

Jeanne
29 days ago
Reply to  Marisa

Walls that are structurally brick cannot flex with earthquakes and therefore collapse, so you are correct. They are only seen in really old pre-earthquake code buildings. This brick is fine because it’s just cosmetic and on the outside. Pieces may crack or fall off in a big earthquake but the wood wall should still stand (up to a certain magnitude of course)

Susan
1 month ago

In a dry climate with no freezing this makes sense. In a place with rain and or freeze thaw cycles I imagine this will be problematic over time. Everything I’ve read about both brick and stucco is that it’s made to breathe so moisture can evaporate out, which is why a lime coat (which allows this) and not latex paint is recommended. it will be interesting to see what your local experts tell you.

Christina
27 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Having dealt with repairing a lot of spalling on our 30 year old brick house in Toronto (only on areas that weren’t well sheltered from rain — back stairs down to the basement and a planter box) I would worry about the longevity of this in wet and rainy Portland. After having a mason replace a bunch of spalled/crumbled bricks we applied a coat of water repelling sealant that’s supposed to help the brick keep water out. You may want to look at that t
possibility and how it would interact with paint.

Kelsey
1 month ago

You’ve mentioned that you’re not interested in doing a straight preservation of this historic property, but rather a renovation that honors parts of the older home. But let me just speak the unpopular opinion out loud that wrapping a timber frame historic building in faux brick cladding is… not awesome. I’ve very rarely seen examples that look remotely convincing, never mind that you’re working against what the building was meant to be in the first place. I’m all for making older homes livable and giving them new life, and it works best when you let the house be what attracted you to it in the first place — quirky, patina-ed, solidly built, and historic. If design interventions obscure the original character of the building (especially with Disney-fied faux materials), then you might have been better off with a new build.

I *might* be convinced if this is for an addition to the original farmhouse (which were almost never masonry buildings historically), but this preservationist begs you to proceed with caution.

Carrie
1 month ago
Reply to  Kelsey

Well said, Kelsey, and couldn’t agree more. As an architect I just can’t get on board with tiling the exterior of a home in thin brick, functionally or aesthetically.

Katarina
1 month ago
Reply to  Kelsey

Agreed 100%. I think Emily is planning on wrapping a new build extension? I could be mistaken.

Margaret
30 days ago
Reply to  Kelsey

She indicated this was just for the sunroom, which is an add-on.

Sarah
1 month ago

I can’t imagine that holding up in the midwest. Too much thawing and freezing for a flexible grout. Are the bricks manufactured as one regular brick and then are just thin slices or are they manufactured as thin bricks? Seems like if they are sliced you would need to seal both sides of the bricks so the cuts are less likely to spald but maybe not. It is a very pretty finished result though.

Asuncion
1 month ago

There is a solution for that even cheper in labour.
https://www.rusticoslamancha.com/producto/plaqueta-enmallada-manual-blanco/

Brittany
1 month ago

I’ve heard that putting regular latex paint on a house like that can be bad for a house and actually result in it not lasting as long. Any insight on that? We can’t get limewash in Canada so I’m looking into ways to do our brick in white properly.

thanks!

Asuncion
1 month ago
Reply to  Brittany

In Spain siloxano paint is considered the best for exterior. I painted my house with it and it is very good and beautiful

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Asuncion

I believe that is the same as the US product silacote.

Jessica
1 month ago
Reply to  Brittany

Sarah Richardson recently posted about a house painting project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyOYRw79Uw8
And the Young House Love post that was linked above is about another good product: https://www.younghouselove.com/painting-our-brick-house-white/

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Brittany

It has to do with the real bricks ‘breathing’. In a brick build the bricks breathe. If regular paint is used, they don’t breathe.

Asuncion
1 month ago
Juanita
1 month ago

Somewhere between 2000-2005 a row of new townhouses were built in DC, but they needed to look like they fit in with the old surrounding ones. The builders used red brick facades at front of building and scored cinderblocks in the rear of the building. They scored the cinderblock with a brick pattern. I remember thinking at the time “that’ll never look real (authentic)”. Well 15-20 years on…. it looks perfectly real/ natural to the other homes. I bet not many people remember it’s just solid cement cinderblock under that white paint. This may work well up in your area vs doing stucco finish.

650 C St NE Google Street View.JPG
Yvette Lemieux
1 month ago
Reply to  Juanita

beautiful. What street is this?

Juanita
30 days ago
Reply to  Yvette Lemieux

232 7th St., NE is address for the house. The photo above is from Google Maps view along C St., NE

Deborah
1 month ago

My aunt has the thin brick as an accent on her house, but it’s only on the front of the house, and you can easily tell from the side that it’s not the real thing. I was probably about 15 years old when they had their house built, and my very first reaction to seeing the house was that I didn’t like the “fake brick”. My general philosophy on things is that I prefer real over fake. For example, I can always spot the fake veining of quartz countertops.

Hilary
1 month ago

This is when you feel like paying a designer is 100% worth it – that transformation is straight up incredible!

1 month ago

Looks BEAUTIFUL and such a creative solution! I’d be so curious about the all in budget for going this route vs. a glazed thin brick. With the glazed brick I’d imagine you’d cut down on some labor costs (as they’re not having to go back and paint it) and avoid the potential for paint peeling later.

Fireclay Tile has a lovely thin brick in a whole range of colors. They also have the corner pieces to create the illusion of more depth to the materials.
https://www.fireclaytile.com/brick/colors

Roberta Davis
1 month ago

Very interesting! What a transformation of that house.

1 month ago

It looks lovely! A word of caution (from someone whose father-in-law is an INCREDIBLY talented brick mason who will talk your ear off about this very thing)– This stuff can begin to chip and fall off fast, especially in climates with lots of freeze and thaw. Might take a few years, but it’s super common. And it’s not an authentic/antique/historic looking chipping. It’s “why are there big holes in the wall with stucco and mesh showing through and no bricks left on the corners??” look. It seems to be the most prevalent with fake stone veneer, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s just because people have used that more than brick veneer over the last couple decades. You know, the whole brown rocks, brown and tan stucco look… At least in the west.
Whatever you do I’m sure will be stunning! Just throwing it out there since marrying into my in-laws family has made me keenly aware of newer, but cheap, not-holding-up-like-we-hoped masonry all over our town. 😂😘

Lucy
30 days ago
Reply to  AnnaLynne

I agree it does look really nice! This is an interesting discussion to me since old brick houses are completely the norm where I live and I guess I have always taken it for granted that the walls will last a long, long time (with some repointing every few decades) . I appreciate the work of all the skilled masons like your father in law 100 ago! I guess there are all kinds of differences in climate, budget etc that go into a decision of brick veneer vs solid brick, but I’m not sure the exterior walls of my house are where I want a ‘hack’ if I can afford not to.

1 month ago

I had actually thought about using the thin brick from Lowes for my front door step, and side patio. While I actually liked the overall look of it the one thing that put me off is that the grout lines seemed really thick. Maybe it would be OK on a larger area, but for a small surface it just seemed like too much grout.

danielle h
1 month ago

Jenny Komenda did this in her beautiful kitchen and she talks about trying to make it look like real masonry as well! Of course it is in doors so the climate concerns people are mentioning are nil. I think this looks pretty and hope Portland is temperate enough for it to work.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  danielle h

People use these thin bricks for kitchen floors, too.

Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  danielle h

The Portland climate isn’t as mild as people think it is. We can have severe ice storms and it’s not rare for it to be below freezing in winter, and every summer it is drought conditions. Right now we’re on our FOURTH heat wave since June of it being over 100 degrees for several days.
People have an idea of Portland as being rainy and green, but that’s for a couple of months, not at all what it is during the entire year.

Rusty
1 month ago

It can look great when done well (note the point someone made about the keystone in an arch).
It’s SUPER IMPORTANT TO USE THE RIGHT PAINT ON BRICK!
Usjng ‘standard’ paint might be a misrake after a hot minute or so.
Limewash would be more appropriate for the period of the house, but it has to be redone every coupla years. Tho, it’s easy to do.

Christina
1 month ago

Kind of out of left field here but I am SO curious to know if anyone has any experience or thoughts on doing a thin brick floor in the kitchen? I love the warmth of it but am not sure about the longevity or if the style would still be attractive down the road?

Sharon
1 month ago
Reply to  Christina

I would be interested in this too! Joanna Gaines did a brick floor in one of the early fixer upper seasons. It was an office that was a converted porch and I liked the vibe. I would do brick floor in my mudroom if it is durable!

Mel
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharon

I did a limewashed, herringbone thin brick in a mudroom/laundry room in an investment property. While it looked amazing, a couple of bricks did crack under the washer/dryer. I think it’s great for an interior accent wall or backsplash, but would personally not use in a a large exterior project or a interior floor that gets high traffic.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharon

Saw it done on Home Town, too.

Emma
30 days ago
Reply to  Christina

I did thin brick in my mudroom and it looks awesome. I did a herringbone pattern with a double border for interest. The only drawback is it is not easy to keep really clean. It’s not a perfectly flat surface like a tile, and the grout has a way of collecting dirt. That said, it’s fine for the mudroom. I would not be happy with it in a kitchen.

Emma
30 days ago
Reply to  Emma

Also, I have it had the thin brick mudroom floor for a few years now and it’s holding up just fine. The only place the grout has flaked is at the threshold of the front door where it gets kicked a lot.

Dani
1 month ago

I live in an older neighborhood in SW Portland and you do not see too many houses with stucco exteriors, unlike the neighborhood I grew up in California where every house was stucco. If you go with this method for the sunroom, I’m curious to know if there are any additional weatherproofing that needs to be installed to handle the PNW rain.

Meg
1 month ago

I think it looks nice because it’s painted white but otherwise the brick is pretty fake looking. There’s just something about this kind of fake out that I don’t love – I’m not sure exactly why because I appreciate a good DIY. I just find this ultimately cheap feeling somehow in a way that I can’t shake.

Angie
1 month ago

I am curious if this can be done over a basement area that is already stucco. Anyone have knowledge or better experience with putting the thin brick over stucco.

1 month ago

You might want to look into mineral paint for the brick. It’s UV stable, never fades, and most important, it breathes! Brick needs to breath in order to avoid future peeling.

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Charisse

I had not heard of mineral paint, thank you. I’m looking into painting interior brick, but I want to do it once and never again

Charmaine
1 month ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

I don’t think you could paint anything just once and never again, unfortunately.

Lucy
1 month ago

I actually liked the “BEFORE” picture with the historic wood siding that could have been restored.

Susan Schulz
1 month ago

I used thin brick to clad an accent wall in my kitchen in the house I just sold- I loved it so much and it was way cheaper than tile for a huge feature wall. We line washed it for a vintage schmear effect. I miss that house already!

Everyone thought it was original to the house.. it was a few hundred bucks IIRC.

This is a great hack for an exterior.

Sarah
1 month ago

Did anyone catch the before picture for the front elevation on Emily’s insta post? I’m so curious about all the changes beyond the brick cladding! How did they do that with the driveway?!

Sarah
1 month ago

Before picture of the front elevation.

Screenshot_20210813-202136~2.png
Myriam
1 month ago

It might not be considered as fireproof by the city, so it might not be accepted by the city code. If you are near neighbours, it might not be approved because of fire hazard…

Very cute, however, details should be given more thought so that it does not look fake (central stone in the arches…) I’m not sure it would hold up in harsher climate and It seems to be missing weep holes and other key brick components…is it because it’s not necessary or it’s missing a real component? Will it hold well in their gift as sa a

I would get the advice of a professional bricklayer and contractor before going that route. I can see several scenarios where it might not be appropriate. Can’t wait to see how it will turn out!

Sarah
1 month ago

The place where this sort of thing always falls down is at the doors and windows, where you can see the thickness of the walls. Where I live, masonry walls are thick and stud walls (like in a wooden house) are thin. So are you going to somehow be making thicker walls and then covering them with these thin bricks? Cause otherwise it will look fake irl.

Erin
1 month ago

I would caution you against any sort of stucco or synthetic stucco in Portland. When we bought our house in NW PDX there were significant moisture issues beneath the stucco. In fact, in PDX there are specific inspectors who assess hairline fractures. We had to completely reface our home within 6 months of moving in, which thankfully, we negotiated in the purchase because we hired a specialist to inspect the siding.

tammy
1 month ago

I’m guessing that you would still get step cracks on a new build due to settling. I liked the look of the old siding over the brick. I agree with everyone else that the arches are a big flag that it’s not real. Most of the old brick homes here in New England have granite above the windows since that is what holds the support for what is above. Very rarely are they arched brick like that.

Nancy
1 month ago

Wow, that is one seriously impressive transformation, even the bricks appart! And certainly a bang on the buck

BreAnn
1 month ago

This is amazing. And funny enough, I thought the exterior looked familiar. Then I realized it was for sale in my neighborhood (Silver Lake, LA) a few months ago and I had saved it on Redfin because the interior is just a stunning as the exterior. I never would have guessed it was thin brick!

1 month ago

We have thin brick on small portions of our (otherwise stucco) house and matched it to skin our front porch. (AND our double-sided fireplace by quartering the Queen size brick.) I’m obsessed. It’s an awesome product and these before and afters are mind-blowing!!!

IMG_3420.jpg
Yvette Perez
1 month ago

We used BrickWebb in our house which is thin brick on a mesh so the install is quick with no spacers required. They also sell corner pieces and loose brick if you need them. Grouted with sanded grout. We bought it at Lowe’s. Something for you to check out.

DanishRoyal
30 days ago

I was so excited to see this and what a beautiful job she did, but….I couldn’t be less of a fan of Rosa & Clad Home. Absolutely terrible experience as a customer of her shop. She’s someone nice only to the trade, but if you’re a regular person she’s the literal worst.

Patti Mojonnier
28 days ago

Looks A MA ZING! I would love to add something like that to my stucco covered house. Question though: how in the heck are the added brick details attached solidly so that they don’t just fall off? Real brickwork like that is embedded and surrounded by the wall brick when it’s put together. How do the heavier bricks stick out like that and stay there just laid on the surface of the brick “tiles”?

Go To Top