Brick veneer immediately adds warmth and a touch of style to nearly any area. It is an attractive addition to most walls and rooms in the home, particularly walkways. But there are a few things to understand if you are hoping to add brick veneer to your steps.
Brick veneer is a versatile and durable material. On its own, the individual tiles can be brittle and break like ceramic. When brick veneer is applied to a wall, it is basically a timber frame with a covering of brick, either aged or new. It is a sturdy building material, although it is not a structural wall. Technically, it is called an anchored veneer because it needs a support to hold its integrity and shape when on a wall. Veneer for walkways and steps, both indoor and out, takes the individual tiles and applies them to the existing structure.
Build Your Best Steps
Before you begin, check the steps for moisture. If it is outdoors, make sure it has a clear run off for rain water, and that the concrete or other walkway surface is free of moisture. You'll want to complete this project for outdoors when there is a long stretch without rain.
Take a paintbrush and clean out crevices. Get the sticky debris and dust that tends to clump together in those areas.
Apply glue to the dust-free area in long, steady swipes. Start from the top step and move down with generous amounts of glue. Use a masonry scale to ensure the glue is level, and you won't have a wonky walkway when you place the veneer. Don't skimp. Go all the way to the corners so that the veneer can get a good grip on the underlying surface.
Clean the brick veneer tiles with a flannel or work cloth to give it a spotless surface to stick to the glue properly. Take your time. Apply the tiles one at a time and tap the top with the end of a wooden hammer. The gentle tap helps to hold it in place. But don't be too firm as brick veneer is rather fragile and can crack under too much pressure on its own.
Consider the pattern before placement. A herringbone or angled pattern offers an attractive alternative to straight stepped tiles.
Once you have your tiles in place, apply your white cement to fill in the gaps and hold all those perfectly placed tiles in check. Quickly remove excess cement on the top and sides of the veneer for an even surface. You can use a leveler or putty knife; just don't be too firm and knock your work out of whack. A high gloss finish completes the project. Give it a few coats over a few days with a foam roller to protect the veneer from the elements.
By applying copper stripping to the edges of the stairs, you will hold back on erosion and corrosion from weather and use.