View Full Version : calling DR Allen...

07-03-2012, 10:52 PM
Hey Allen I ran into you ( @ least I think I did , LOL ) @ MHC this year but unfortunately didn't get a chance to BS...and I got a ? for you...have you run into a quick way to carve (or otherwise) a brick veneer into foam than hard coating it & than painting it? I'm rrrreeeaaalllly pressed for time (& am not one to cut corners) but I have about 16,000' sq ft of warehouse/brick facade to pull off for my interior haunt & could use the help...this would be inside in my concession/ queue line area...am just trying to detail all areas as much as possible & as time permits. Thanks.

PS: And what I wanted to tell you, had I had the opportunity there was... thanks for all your insight & help! Being from another industry I can tell you there are not many people as yourself, willing to give their time (which is by far, IMO is the most valuable commodity we ALL have) & their expertise to help others in what could be possibly be your competition, advice on how to do things. That in itself should tell others you are genuine... & for that I commend you! You've inspired me a little to SLOOWW down & share with others...so I'm going to do just that. As a fabricator & general contractor, I'm going to attempt to share my trials & tribs & builds with others. Thanks again Allen...I truly appreciate the time you dedicate to helping others in these forums!


Allen H
07-03-2012, 11:54 PM
There are so many ways to do brick in foam. Here are the two fastest that I know.

Buy 3" masking tape. that will be the width of your bricks.
Run the tape in strips vertically across the foam and leave space, that will become a mortar line.
continue all the way up the foam, 3" strip of masking 1/2" of open space for mortar line.
next determine you brick length I like 10-11"
use an exacto type knife to remove a 1/2" strip of tape in between each brick.
Go along each line of tape separating it into "bricks"
once you are finished the tape is the bricks and the foam shows through creating the mortar lines
Now spray paint all the mortar lines. The spray paint eats away the mortar lines and does all the "carving" for you
color does not matter since you are still hard coating after this.
Pull the tape off all the bricks and hit a few of them with a wire brush for texture
You can get down to 12-1 min a panel with a few people working assembly style.
coat with synergy then paint. I paint mortar color on the whole thing then drybrush the bricks with a darker brick color then a lighter brick color.

Basically the opposite of #1
Paint the whole piece of foam your mortar color- do two coats using a sprayer makes this fast
Use electrical tape as your mortar lines, they will cover and protect the mortar color you applied
leave the "Bricks" exposed and use the electrical tape as all the lines even between bricks
then spray the bricks with your synergy hard coat
pull the tape and you have brick colored bricks and mortar colored mortar lines
the thickness of the synergy coating makes the thickness of the bricks
you get less relief this way but it is faster

Hope this helps,
Allen H

07-04-2012, 09:37 AM
I like your #1 idea...should be fast with a few people. I was thinking of having a Granite/Stone company I deal with, water jet cut a 4'x8' sheet of 1/8" sheet of aluminum to my exact brick layout. Basically cutting in all the mortar joints so this will than become my pattern. Than using a small router/dremel "plunge" into the foam and follow the pattern. Or I could just lay up the pattern over the foam spray paint it & remove the pattern & cut out mortar joints via exacto knife/dremel/router, whatever works the best. I just got to get a price from them to do this on the aluminum & way the cost vs. time saved i guess! Thanks again though for your help.


07-04-2012, 11:41 AM
Allen's tape and spray paint sounds a lot cheaper and faster than having a metal template made and cutting with a dremel or router. Then you need to think about where you're gonna store the metal template. Cutting and routing will take up some time and will get old real fast if you're doing multiple pieces. The thing I like most about the spaypaint is that it leaves a none uniform look. More natural for laid bricks...

Greg Chrise
07-04-2012, 01:47 PM
You can already buy stencils from companies that supply concrete overlays, design concrete. Or you can use 3/8 inch packaging tape (I have never found where you buy less than 72 rolls)

So then you can paint or drywall the brick, pull the stencil and clean it. take a small wire brush like for detailing something, a wire tooth brush kind of thing, just slightly rough the surface of the foam and then hit it with a heat gun and it will shrink back. This leaves the bricks sticking out as the paint or drywall insulated the heat and then just paint everything to taste.

It is easiest to go all spray rig on the mortar color on the whole sheet and then sponge or dry roller the raised bricks in a couple colors. Done.

Actually carving mass quantities sucks, actually taping off mass quantities can be done but it also sucks. Having a stencil and the ability to spray or roll something is good. If there is no actual depression there is no reason to have styrofoam at all and just go on plywood.

07-04-2012, 02:48 PM
I might try a sample board doing it your way...if it works out & quick, I'll run with it. I absolutely want textured brick, NOT flat. I have to do a ton of sheets so whatever method I use it's got to be quick! Thanks for the tip.


Greg Chrise
07-04-2012, 07:24 PM
The tape to find is nylon fiber tape or the tape from a concrete overlay supply house is a heavy masking tape with nylon fibers, to connect stencils. Shoot it with a hopper, you can tint the material you are shooting, pick up the stencil and move them as the stuff begins to dry.

Final finish is adding a wash of green and black maybe 20 parts water to 1 paint to tone down the antiquing of the bricks and make everything look like it is older.

If it is a stone design we will trace the pattern with a pencil and hand form the stones instead of shoot it. Usually before we put material on the stones, we will melt that a little so the stones are all shapes, then shrink back all the mortar.

Greg Chrise
07-04-2012, 07:40 PM

Greg Chrise
07-04-2012, 08:01 PM
I have no idea what quick is. You might be able to finish 400 SF a day or 2,000 SF per week with two people, The tape is about $4 a roll and stencil packs start out at $300 a roll. You can use a roll over and over if you are clever. All I know is what work is. Ya want bricks? You get to work. If you are hand taping a pattern, you might be able to do 150 SF per day. IN haunt words that is only 4 to 5 walls per day. In construction terms that is only 16 to 20 linear feet.

Allen H
07-04-2012, 08:55 PM
I think 10 to 15 panels a day is perfectly doable with four people in an eight hour day.
Build a jig for running your tape so you dont have to measure each time,
Get all your panels done then detail paint them after you are up.
Tatto's crew did 14 foam brick walls in an 8hour demo at Transworld last year. they carved it all by hand with a dremel trio.after two people chalked out the lines.

Another option if you are not skittish and dont mind wearing a respirator is to use a soldering iron to do the mortar lines, its very fast.
Allen H

Greg Chrise
07-04-2012, 09:46 PM
In the really old days they ( Bad Boys Scenic Design) would just melt the mortar lines with a brush and thinner then go for kidney transplants. Their stuff does not have any additional texture coating. Each brick is detailed with a wire brush and heat gun quickly and painted. Overlaying everything does take some serious time and it is unlikely you will find 5 people that have skills to do this all on the first try, my numbers are doing it everyday and as a result feeling like a 75 year old and doing 3 more steps than Bad Boys for a something you are going to see and feel queue line or exterior facade method. Possibly even punch or kick.

Allen, next time I'm up, I will bring some samples just so you have an idea of what they look like. I have pieces Bad Boys made and some from the Texas State Fair facade we did. I charge money so it has to be kind of elaborate. Some patterns can be $6.75 to $10 per square foot. Really quick is they have brick pattern masonite at Lowes fo $23 a sheet. Or if anyone ever gets their vacuform machines working they are $280 to $300 a wall painted. So far it seems 4x8 panels are hard to afford to stock and ship. They might also be lots of work no one planned on until after they bought expensive machines.

Absolutely nothing wrong with Bad Boys work, or methods, buy their DVDs! I love them all as people. It all has a purpose for back ground and not being paid or costing a lot of money to make panels. I actually do concrete overlays for a living and match existing patterns others have done in some cases or have an architect give me a sample of marble to match exactly in my materials for exterior installations. So I think wrong. Please, no one be like me. Read all my posts and think "I don't want to be like stupid Greg" I want to do things cheaper and faster. I want QUICK! and Greg sucks and wasted my time reading his diatribe crap again.

And we are not answering the phone until next January (2013), there is no answering machine or service. We are not going to have a web site or give out promotional embossed pens at any time. Too many companies already have my pager number and it seems you CAN pimp from a pay as you go phone!

Happy 4th of July and happy almost full 98% moon.

Greg Chrise
07-05-2012, 01:08 AM
If you do use drywall compound for texture, you will need to add a bonding agent of some kind. Basically glorified elmers glue to allow it to stick to styrofoam. Or actually watered down elmers glue added to the mix. I'm used to using concrete that start out as straight powder and use various liquid additives depending on what they are applied to. Even acrylic resins and styrofoam don't stick together well. Using the proper bonding agent means you don't have to rough up the surface for it to stay adhered.

The monster mud formula is like 4 gallons of drywall mud and a gallon of paint. Percentage wise it still doesn't have the adherance qualities of just adding a bonding agent. Monster mud was intended to have color and some of these properties but it can be better. Usually it is in something that keeps it all together like burlap or sprayed onto a wall that is more porous than styrofoam is.

07-06-2012, 07:38 AM
LOL I built 9 panels in the time it to me to read Greg's response...& I tried paging you too! LOL Seriously though, thanks for all the tips...I may try samples of each idea or a combo of some of the above...if I come up with something new I'll let you all know. Once we start rolling on these I'll try & post some pics. BTW Greg, I have a concrete subcontractor who does work for me that I am going to speak with about your one version. Thanks again to all who chimed in...appreciate it.


Greg Chrise
07-06-2012, 08:18 AM
I would be intrested to know if you sub contractor know of products available in your area. I have always assumed that overlays have been a southern thing because of being tempermental with humidity and temperature. So as an alternative you end up getting into drivit, stucco type products. Some already have a polymer in them, just add water but you have to test what reall does stick to stryfoam. You should be able to hit it lightly with a hammer and it doesn't come off. Or rather completely destroy it and the materials don't seperate is how I roll.

07-07-2012, 01:38 PM
Yeah, other than the ones you mentioned, I'm not sure. If I can drag him out of the bar I'll question him! I think he recently went to a two day school for these overlays & I heard he has done some driveways so I'll pick his brain...what's ever left of it!