4 Ways to Grout your Thin Brick Project
August 5, 2019
How you grout your project can make a big impact on the final look of the brick. You can choose to use a Type-S mortar mix or sanded grout in your color of choice. Choosing a lighter grout can bring out more of the color in your brick and make the whole project look lighter while using a darker grout can tone down the colors and darken the final look of the brick. In addition to the color and type of grout you use, you also get to choose what method to use to grout. Here are the four most common and easy ways to grout your thin brick project:
Brick Jointer Method
The brick jointer method is one of the most popular methods of grouting thin brick. It results in a clean and professional look and helps keep the grout from getting on the brick face. To do this method, you follow these simple steps:
Use a trowel to fill the bag about half-way. Hold the bag over your bucket of grout and shake it to remove bubbles. Twist the top of the bag until the grout starts to come out of the tip.
Hold the grout bag with one hand in the middle and one hand at the end where it is twisted. Put the tip of the bag in the space between the bricks at a 45 degree angle. Twist the end of the bag and squeeze as you move the tip along the gap. The grout should over fill the gap slightly so that you have enough to tool later. Fill in sections of about 4 square feet at a time. Give each section about 15 minutes to dry.
Note: Do not try to wipe off excess while the grout is wet.
When the grout is dry enough to touch without sticking to your finger, but is still soft enough to squish a little, it is ready to start tooling. Use a brick jointer or wooden dowel to push the mortar into the gap and smooth it out. The excess mortar should fall away and not stick to the brick face.
Repeat the process of grouting with the bag and then tooling with your jointer until your wall is completed.
After the grout has had some time to dry, go back and brush away any excess with a stiff bristle brush. Start with a small section and brush the bricks with a 45 degree angle stroke. The brush will remove any high edges and leave a nice smooth look.
Click here to watch our full instructional video on the brick jointer method of grouting.
Trowel Cut/Flush Joint Grout Method
The trowel cut method gives an old mill industrial look to your project. It is a much more rough technique and can also save you time. If you want your brick accent wall to look like it was built during the industrial revolution, follow these steps:
Apply your grout with a grout bag the same way you would for the brick jointer method explained above in steps 1 and 2.
When the grout is dry enough to touch without sticking to your finger, but is still soft enough to squish a little, it is ready to start cutting. Use a trowel and place the wide edge against the bricks. Cut downward at a 45 degree angle along the wall so that your trowel doesn’t catch in any for the joints. The grout should be dry enough to not smear on the brick faces but cut and fall away easily.
Repeat the process of grouting with the bag and then cutting with your trowel until your wall is completed.
After the grout has had some time to dry, go back and brush away any excess with a stiff bristle brush. Start with a small section and brush the bricks with a 45 degree angle stroke. The brush will remove any high edges and smooth out the grout slightly. Do not brush too much or you can lose the industrial finish on the project.
Click here to watch a video on how to do this method of grouting for more detailed instruction.
Sponge Grout Technique
The sponge technique results in a similar look to the brick jointer method, but a little more smudged. More grout gets on the brick face with this method, which can make your grout lines look a bit larger. To do this technique, follow these steps:
Follow the same steps from the brick jointer method to fill in your grout lines with a grout bag.
Rather than waiting for your grout to mostly dry, use a damp sponge to push in the grout lines and smooth them out. Use your finger like a jointer to create the rounded indent in the grout. Continue to rinse and wring out your sponge frequently during this process.
Repeat the steps of grouting with the bag and then sponging until your wall is completed. Be sure to wipe off as much grout from the brick faces as desired for your final look as it is very difficult to remove the grout once it is dry.
Click here for a more detailed tutorial on this bricksplash project.
German Smear Grout Method
The German smear results in covering a lot of the brick face and only allowing a little of the brick color to show through. This method is typically done with white grout or mortar. There are many variations on how to do a German smear on thin brick. You can follow these steps to achieve this style:
Use a trowel to smear on your grout generously. Then, use a large tile float to push the grout into the spaces between the bricks and scrape over the brick faces so that you have a thin layer on the bricks.
While the grout is wet, use a damp sponge to smooth out the grout and scrub the grout off of the brick faces as much as desired. Typically, you leave the majority of the brick face covered and intermittently clean off more of the grout on random bricks to allow the color to show through. You can choose to have the bricks mostly covered in white or scrub off most of the grout so that you can see the brick color come through on the majority of the bricks. It is up to you and there is no wrong way. However, once the grout is dry, it is nearly impossible to remove a German smear. To be safe, error on the side of less coverage because you can always go back and add more grout over the top, but it is extremely difficult to remove it once it is on.
Note: These techniques are used for grouting projects that are on walls or other vertical surfaces. For flooring, you must use a specific floor grouting method. Read about how to install a thin brick floor project here.