Interior Brick Flooring
The good, the bad and the ugly. All you need to know from selecting the product to cleaning it, and living with it.
Some design ideas are non-negotiable. At least, that's what I told my husband when we were renovating our house. At the time, brick floors were not a common addition to home interiors, but they were gaining in popularity when I selected them, for our mudroom. There was a ton of old, original brick, on the exterior of our property, so I felt adding brick indoors made sense, felt old, and matched the original aesthetic.
Finding The Right Material
My contractor had never had a client ask for an interior brick floor, but he was open to the idea, and helped me look for brick options. That said, it was evident immediately that full bricks, were not an option. My first request was for reclaimed bricks, but using a full brick would have been something we needed to decide on at the time of pouring the foundation, adding the floor joists, subfloor, etc. A full brick doesn't work, unless you plan ahead, otherwise it will not be flush with the other flooring surface it meets up to.
After ruling out full reclaimed bricks, I looks into several options...
Option #1: Reclaimed Thin Brick
This type of brick is sliced from actual reclaimed brick, to give that authentic look, but suitable for floor or wall installation. Depending on the type of brick you select, it can be a pricey option.
A great resource for this type of brick is online at Vintage Brick Salvage.
Option #2: Thin Brick Veneer
Thin brick veneer is clay, face slices of brick, without the weight of a solid brick. It can be applied to walls, floors, interiors, exteriors, etc, and is similar to option #1, only it is not actually reclaimed, but made to look reclaimed by creating different face texture, and color blends. It is typically less costly than the reclaimed brick, but gives a very similar look and feel.
General Shale offers a great selection. The option pictured here is my favorite (and what we ended up selecting) English Pub.
Option #3: Porcelain Brick Tile Floors
You can't go wrong with the durability of porcelain, especially if it's a good brick representation. I love this option if you are on a budget, and you can find these items through your local home improvement stores.
This brick comes in two different colors and can be found at Home Depot.
Selecting The Pattern
Lots of patterns to choose from, but my all time favorite brick pattern is herringbone. We went with a herringbone pattern, with a border. I like the way the border gives the space a smooth transition point where it meets the baseboards and our hardwoods.
**We used a natural color mortar, because I wanted it to all blend together, and not have the mortar stand out. The natural color mortar gives a more historic and aged feel. It would have been easy to change the mortar to white, and this space would have instantly felt more modern. Mortar makes a big difference, so make your selection carefully.
Although herringbone, with a border, is the option we selected, there are several other options to choose from, so check this pattern guide to see which one makes sense for you.
Caring for Brick Floors
I think it seems more intimidating than it really is, because it's one of my most frequently asked questions. Cleaning brick flooring is really straight forward, and simple. You treat these floors pretty much the same as you would any other floor.
-I use a regular old broom and dust pan, or I pull out my Dyson. Ok, most days I just pull
out the Dyson, because it's quick, easy and does the job for quick pick ups.
-I use a regular string mop, to wet mop. Sometimes the best techniques are the most
simple, and don't require fancy products. I either use 1 TBSP of Borax mixed with a
gallon of warm water, Mr. Clean floor cleaning solution (I like that there is a fresh clean
scent after I mop, it makes me feel like I've done something), or I just wet mop without a
cleaner, if the floor is not heavily soiled, requiring a detergent cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this floor practical?
A: Very practical for everyday use, especially in our mud room. This space does collect dirt with the many shoes that come through the door. Our brick floor hides the dirt very well, which I appreciate in a heavy traffic area.
Q: Is the floor uncomfortable to walk on?
A: It's not the most comfortable floor to walk on bare foot. I'm very accustomed to how it feels now, but walking barefoot on it is not my favorite thing to do. That said, my kids have NEVER complained, so it's just my old, sensitive feet that have even noticed it.
Q: Would you put this flooring in a kitchen?
A: I think there are a lot of positives about having brick floors in the kitchen (as I mentioned before, they hid a lot of dirt, crumbs, etc) they look incredible and bring so much character and texture to the kitchen as well. That said,I personally would not want them in my kitchen because of the comfort factor, and my sensitive feet. I am constantly in the kitchen, and half of the time I am barefoot or in stocking feet, so because of the comfort factor, I would not choose them for this particular room. I know others who have brick floors in their kitchen, and love them, so I think it's a personal preference. Check out @styledbysorrells for an amazing brick floor kitchen!
Q: My contractor says thin bricks are not the best for flooring, have you had any problems?
A: Contractors want to be able to guarantee their work, and ensure you don't have problems that they would need to come back and fix. Sometimes, in an effort to guarantee the work, they scare you with scenarios that "could" damage your flooring. While most of the time, the scenarios are valid, often times those situations will not occur. For instance, we were told these thin bricks would be very susceptible to breaking, and that they were typically used for walls and not floors. While not as durable as some flooring, it would take a major impact to break these thin brick floors, so we took our chances. Over two years in, and we've not had a single problem with these floors.
The thin brick floors were my non-negotiable item when we built, and today, they are still one of my favorite selections in the home. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would select these same bricks, this same pattern, and make them my non-negotiable all over again.