Porcelain Bricks installation

Landmark’s porcelain bricks can be installed on the most utilized backup systems, such as wood and steel framing, cement or concrete masonry unit (CMU) and rigid insulation foam. Although this guide focuses on the installation of Landmark’s porcelain bricks on these most traditional backup systems, any properly designed and prepared backup system could be used to receive Landmark’s porcelain bricks.
Please verify with your architect, structural and civil engineer that the backup system and installation methods comply with Federal, State and Local building codes as well as other rules and regulations that might apply to the project by the law and common sense.

WOOD FRAME

  • 1. Sheating;
  • 2. Two layers of Water Resistive Barrier (WRB);
  • 3. Metal lath;
  • 4. Scratch coat;
  • 5. Mortar setting bed;
  • 6. Landmark’s porcelain bricks;
  • 7. Grout joint;

CONCRETE MASONRY UNIT

  • 1. Mortar applied directly to untreated unpainted masonry, concrete or stucco;
  • 2. Landmark’s porcelain bricks;
  • 3. Grout joints.

Note
Concrete Masonry Unit must be free from paint, sealer and dirt. Dirty, painted, sealed and smooth surfaces/wall will require additional preparation to address these condition.

METAL FRAME

  • 1. Sheating;
  • 2. Two layers of water resistive barrier (WRB);
  • 3. Metal lath;
  • 4. Scratch coat;
  • 5. Mortar setting bed;
  • 6. Landmark’s porcelain bricks;
  • 7. Grout joint.

RIGID FOAM INSULATION

  • 1. Rigid foam insulation;
  • 2. Two layers of water resisitve barrier (WRB);
  • 3. Galvanized metal lath;
  • 4. Scratch coat;
  • 5. Mortar setting bed;
  • 6. Landmark’s porcelain bricks;
  • 7. Grout joint.

METAL BUILDING

  • 1. Sheating;
  • 2. Two layers of water resistent barrier (WRB);
  • 3. Cement board;
  • 4. Mortar setting bed;
  • 5. Landmark’s porcelain bricks;
  • 6. Grout joint;

CEMENT BOARD

  • 1. Sheating;
  • 2. Two layers of water resistive barrier (WRB);
  • 3. Galvanized metal lath;
  • 4. Scratch coat;
  • 5. Mortar setting bed;
  • 6. Landmark’s porcelain bricks;
  • 7. Grout joint.

STEP 1

PREPARING THE SURFACE

Verify that the surface on which Landmark’s porcelain bricks will be installed is solid and free of any materials that would prevent the porcelain brick from bonding. Check also that the backup system is capable of supporting the weight of Landmark’s porcelain bricks.

The surfaces on which Landmark’s porcelain brick will be applied must have a rough texture to ensure a good mortar bond. If necessary, attaching a lath and applying a scratch coat can bring the surface to a desirable level of roughness. Please note that, whenever a lath is utilized, a scratch coat is needed.

A scratch coat may not be needed over Cement Masonry Unit (CMU) and cement board. If the lath is installed, apply a ½ inch thick layer of mortar ensuring that the mortar completely covers the lath. Scratch the mortar horizontally to create a scratch coat that will help the porcelain brick to adhere, not only chemically but also mechanically, to the surface.

Before starting the installation, ensure that the Water- Resistant Barrier (WRB) and flashing are correctly installed. It is worth noting that different elements and materials within a structure can react differently in response to temperature and moisture fluctuations or to different loads pressure. In cases where differential movements are expected, such as at the transition between a framed backup system to a concrete masonry unit system, movement joints (control joints and expansion joints) may be needed.

Movement joints must be specified by the architect or the engineer according to ASTM C 1063 control joints requirements. Do not cover the movement joints with Landmark’s porcelain bricks as this might lead to cracking.

STEP 2

ESTIMATING THE PORCELAIN BRICKS REQUIRED

Determine the amount of Landmark’s porcelain bricks products needed by calculating the area to be covered. Multiply the length by the height, the result will be the area of the surface to be covered. Subtract square footage for any space that will not be covered such as windows and doors. Measure the height of the corner walls and compute the linear feet of corners to determine the amount of corner pieces needed.

One linear foot of corner pieces covers approximately 1.3 square foot of surface. Subtract the area covered by the linear feet of corner pieces from the area required. It is suggested to order extra porcelain bricks to allow cutting, trimming and waste.

FORMULAS
  • Wall Area = Length × Height;
  • Windows and doors areas = Windows and doors Width × Windows and doors Height;
  • Wall Area Covered by Corners = Lineal Feet of Corners Required × 1.3;
  • Square feet required = Wall Area – Windows and doors Area − Wall Area Covered by Corners;
  • It is recommended to request extra square feet.

STEP 3

PLANNING THE LAYOUT

Choose the type of wall pattern desired. Calculate and mark off the number of lines required. Adjust joint size to minimize horizontal cutting. Run level guide lines to ensure proper placements of the bricks.

RUNNING BOND

FLEMISH BOND

STACK BOND

STEP 4

CHOOSING THE CORRECT MORTAR

Choosing the proper mortar is critical to ensure that Landmark’s porcelain bricks do not come off and that the bonding agent will not comprise the other essential functions for an exterior coating system (soundproofing, steam barrier, resistance to water, etc.).

For this reason, it is crucial to contact one of the mortar manufacturing companies (Laticrete or Mapei to mention a couple) to find out what solutions they might have available (and consequently guarantees).

Between all the products suggested from the mortar manufacturers for the bonding of the material, it is critical to choose a product that is suited for porcelain tiles for exterior application.

In some cases, the construction norms provide constrains, mandatory precautions and/or limitations on the bonding of construction materials (whether they are tiles, natural stones, manufactured stones, thin brick or other masonry product). Moreover, it is important to remember that the Building Code in the United States poses, for commercial use, a limit on the maximum dimension and weight for the glue bonding (without the assistance of mechanical hooks) of tiles, stone slabs or other materials used for exterior wall covering.

Because of this, it is important that the contractor verifies upfront these constraints keeping in consideration the characteristics of the building and its location.

In any case it is very important to contact the representative of the company manufacturing the mortar up-front to verify that the solution identified by reading the literature is correct, keeping in mind:

  • The type of wall that the user is trying to cover (how it is made and what characteristics it presents);
  • The type of material that the user wants to utilize (porcelain in this particular case).

ATTENTION
When contacting the representative of the company manufacturing the mortar, it is important to communicate him or her the thickness, dimension and weight of every piece of porcelain material to be installed (the information is available in the Landmark Ceramic’s price list or can be requested directly to Landmark). This way, the glue representative can suggest the best bonding material to the contractor/customer keeping in consideration the characteristics of the material to be installed.

STEP 5 - METHOD 1

USING MORTAR SPECIFIC FOR PORCELAIN

After the scratch coat mortar, if present, has cured sufficiently, dampen the wall before starting with the application. No residue of standing water should be left.

Note: Landmark’s porcelain brick applications should be protected from temperature below 40°F during and immediately following the installation. The use of anti-freeze admixtures to lower the freezing point of the mortar is not recommended.

Spread a layer of mortar (above the scratch coat if present) on an area about 3 square feet to create the thinset. Use the notched trowel at a 45-degree angle to create an even ridged bed. Then, the porcelain brick should be firmly pushed into the setting bed mortar, wiggling it a bit as you push to help it adhere.

Mortar should be slightly weeping out from the entire perimeter of each piece after they are installed. Clean excess mortar off of surrounding joints during the installation process.
With the right mortar mix, moisture content and scratch coat preparation, the porcelain brick will be stable within a few seconds of the setting movement process.

Continue to spread mortar and lay the porcelain bricks onto the rest of the wall in sections, checking with a level that each line of porcelain bricks is leveled. Place spacers between porcelain bricks to ensure even spacing. Tap each porcelain brick with the mallet to firmly set them.

In exterior application, to guarantee even a more bonding of the unit to the surface, it is possible to back butter the Landmark’s porcelain brick. The back-buttering process consists of covering the entire back, not only the perimeter, of the porcelain brick with mortar using the flat-end of the trowel. This will ensure a proper adhesion of the porcelain brick to the surface. Note that, since Landmark’ porcelain bricks are non-absorbent material, it is not necessary to wet the piece before the back-buttering process.

It is critical to verify, when creating the mortar bed and back buttering the unit that the mortar is spread evenly on the surfaces to prevent the creation of air bubbles and water infiltration that may lead to cracking.

Once all the porcelain bricks are lay down and the wall is covered let dry the wall for 24 hours.

STEP 5 - METHOD 2

USING MASONRY ADHESIVE (INTERIOR ONLY)

Using a masonry adhesive could be a faster and easier alternative to the installation performed with mortar.
This kind of application, with masonry adhesive, can be used over clean and structurally solid interior surfaces such as plywood, concrete block, concrete or plywood sheeting fastened to the wall over existing or removed materials. It is important that this kind of application is performed over rough surfaces and not over smooth surfaces such as polished tiles, metal, wallpaper, drywall or surfaces that are often wet.

Also, in this case, as highlighted in step 4 of this guide, it is critical to choose a masonry adhesive that is suited for porcelain tiles for interior applications.

Setting porcelain brick with masonry adhesive. When applying the masonry adhesive to the porcelain brick follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Place the adhesive on the back of Landmark’s porcelain brick. Press and wiggle Landmark’s porcelain brick into place on the wall unit it is set. Always start from the corner or an edge and complete one row at the time, ensuring that the width of the joints is consistent between lines.
As in STEP 6, once the bricks are all installed, complete the process with grouting and let it dry.

APPLY ADHESIVE TO THE BACK OF EACH BRICK

STEP 6

GROUTING THE JOINTS

Once the wall is cured, grout the joints. It is critical to use an exterior-grade grout and mixing it with according to the manufacturer instruction.
Use a grout float at a 45-degree angle to spread the grout over the wall. After the grout is dried, wipe the excess grout with a sponge.

AS ALTERNATIVE, USE A GROUT BAG TO FILL ANY UNMORTARED SPACES BETWEEN BRICKS.

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