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I would like to build panels to put up on my apartment wall, with a backing (probably wooden) strong enough to attach faux bricks onto my 8' high walls. The panel-making process is as follows:

  1. Lay out 1/8"-1/4" foam tape in a brick edge pattern on panel
  2. Mix all purpose joint compound and cement colorant mixture
  3. Fill inside of pattern with compound and texture with rough brush
  4. Allow to firm and remove foam tape
  5. Allow to dry and texture with sanding block
  6. Fill gaps between bricks with accent joint compound and cement colorant mixture

One source lists 1/8 in. plywood as 0.56 lbs/sqft and Sheetrock brand of compound by itself is about 0.6 lbs/sqft. If these are reasonable one of my walls, 17 ft long, would have to support 157.8 lbs. It would ideally cover the entire wall. How many screws into studs will this require per square foot?

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    Cleats may be one option to reduce the number of screws needed. – Hamhot Ptonel Feb 8 '15 at 14:40
  • I've never done this before but I think you'll have an easier time if you first put a base coat over each panel and texture/color so it looks like mortar. Then one that is done and dry tape and do the second layer for the brick finish. I think that will be faster/easier, look more realistic than going back to fill in the gaps. Do a test to see which one works best for you. If you're renting you should really check with your landlord before investing too much time and money. – OrganicLawnDIY Nov 7 '15 at 2:51
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    1/8" plywood is not appropriate here. It will almost certainly result in a wavy, oilcanning surface and eventual cracking of your finish. 1/4" is what I'd consider minimal, and only if it's a high grade product, such as 5-ply birch underlayment. 3-ply BC plywood will still be likely to wave and warp. – isherwood Dec 7 '15 at 14:28
  • @HamhotPtonel Did you end up completing this project? I'd be interested in seeing the results. – BrownRedHawk Jul 6 '16 at 12:02
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If you do opt to go with 1/8" ply, I'd suggest you use "washer head pocket screws" (1-1/4" if you have 1/2" drywall). If you're putting the sheets of ply sideways, I'd use a screw every foot or so on each stud. That might be slight overkill, but my thinking is to mimic the fastening of a sheet of normal drywall, which (a) needs to support the weight, and (b) doesn't flap loosely.

Personally, I'd opt for a slightly more substantial ply (1/4") for better fastener holding. Whatever you use for mud, go for something that advertises "low shrinkage" on the label. Pre-mix is probably not a good choice; setting type compounds are apt to be better.

  • Thicker backing is certainly acceptable. I was just trying to aim for a low weight. Would you recommend the same approach for the 1/8"? – Hamhot Ptonel Feb 9 '15 at 1:01
  • Not sure if the 1/8" was a typo in your comment... the approach I suggested was for 1/8". If you go for 1/4", I'd do a screw (same washer head ones) every foot on the edges and 3 per 4' section on the interior studs. – Aloysius Defenestrate Feb 9 '15 at 1:09
  • Yes, that was a typo. Oops. – Hamhot Ptonel Feb 9 '15 at 17:21

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