HOW TO INSTALL PORTSTONE THIN BRICK
Installing PortStone for Floors
PortStone Thin Brick panels are very easy to install, especially when compared to ceramic tile or regular brick pavers. A good installation job begins with floor preparation and the proper handling of the panels. Care should be taken to not put excessive force on the corners. This material is very strong and durable once installed, but the bricks can be cracked if not handled properly. Sometimes a cracked brick can be installed without the crack showing in the surface, but if there is any question regarding whether or not a cracked brick should be installed, simply cut the cracked brick out of the panel, lay the panel in place and the replace the broken brick with an unbroken brick in its place. Use the panel you just cut a brick from to get more individual bricks that you will need along the edges and for other cut pieces.
Proper adhesion to the subfloor is vital to any flooring material. Make sure the area to be covered is free of any dust, dirt or debris. Small bits or flakes of material may fall off during the handling of PortStone. This is perfectly normal and the material that might be falling away is actually very small pieces of concrete that may have gotten trapped in the mesh between the individual bricks during the manufacturing process. Sweep these away as you progress with the floor installation.
As much paint should be removed from the floor as possible. A good rule of thumb to follow when trying to determine how much paint should be removed is to apply drops of water to the area that has the paint on the floor. If the water soaks into the concrete or leaves a noticably darker, damp area, this means that there is not too much paint to prevent thin-set adhesion to the concrete.
Prior to installing PortStone, or any hard surface flooring material, if there is a concrete subfloor, check carefully for cracks in the existing concrete. Hydration cracks are very common, but a crack suppression membrane should be applied over the cracks in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations to help minimize the possibility of subfloor cracks being transfered through the surface of PortStone or any other hard surface flooring product. A good grade of polymer modified thin-set mortar should always be used when installing PortStone.
PortStone is laid onto a bed of thin-set mortar just as you would do with ceramic tile. It is then grouted-in with any type of sanded grout that you would like to use, provided it will withstand grout joints of ½” in width or more. For a regular brick mortar look, we strongly suggest using our Brick and Paver Grout Mix. It is specially blended for use with PortStone and works extremely well. When grouting your floor, work in small areas to give you time to clean as you go.
The entire floor is then sealed. In most cases, PortStone can be sealed the day after it is grouted, unlike regular brick pavers that have to cure for 28 days or more to allow the moisture to escape before sealing. Just make sure that the grout has properly cured before sealing.
Once the sealer is dry enough to walk on (usually within 2 to 3 hours) 2 coats of floor finish are applied. Our floor finish dries within about 30 to 40 minutes between coats and is ready for light foot traffic after a couple of hours.
We do not recommend the use of cement or gypsum backerboard underlayment when installing PortStone over wooden subfloors. We recommend using an uncoupling membrane such as Ditra or ProvaFlex. For more information on ProvaFlex, click here. For information on Ditra, click here.
Installing PortStone for Walls
The installation method shown here is for interior walls and under-roof exterior walls where water penetration is unlikely. If you are installing PortStone on an exterior wall that is not under roof, the underlying wall must be prepped according to MVMA (Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association) guidelines. A diagram showing the proper exterior wall installation method when going over wood framing can be seen at the bottom of this page. Much more complete instruction can be seen in great detail at this link - http://ncma-br.org/pdfs/masterlibrary/MVMA%20Installation%20Guide%204th%20Edition%20web.pdf
When installing PortStone over interior drywall walls, ceramic tile mastic or thin-set mortar can be used to adhere the PortStone panels in place. Ceramic tile mastic tends to be stickier than thin-set mortar and has a quicker “grab”. In some cases, the panels might tend to slide down that wall when thin-set is used as the adhesive. If you do have panels that slide downward when using either thin-set or mastic, a drywall screw can be placed in one of the joints between the bricks to temporarily hold the panels in place until the adhesive has had time to cure enough to hold the panels in place on its own. Remove any such screws before grouting in. Use a ¼” V-notched trowel to apply the mastic to the wall. If thin-set mortar is used, this can be applied using a ¼” square notched trowel. If installing over wood paneling, we recommend sanding with a heavy grit sand paper to roughen the surface so that the mastic or thin-set has more surface to grab onto.
Allow the installed panels to remain in place over night before grouting the wall. There are several methods that can be used to grout-in PortStone Thin Brick walls. A grout bag can be used to place the grout directly into the joints. This can require less cleanup but it can take longer to apply the grout to the joints. If using the grout bag method, allow sufficient time for the grout to stiffen somewhat before striking the joints with a jointing tool or small stick. Brush off any excess grout. It may be necessary to use a damp sponge to touch up the bricks.
Another method is to use a grout float or sponge to apply the grout into the joints. You can also just use your hands to work grout into the joints. Be sure to wear good protective gloves using any of these methods. Use a damp sponge to remove excess grout and grout haze. You will most likely need to wipe the wall down 2 or more times to remove all of the excess grout and haze.
Here is a drawing taken from the Masonry Veneer Manufacturer’s Association website showing the proper installation steps for exterior installation of PortStone or other brick or stone veneer products over wood framing.