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Non-Cheesy Faux Aged Brick – How To Make New Bricks Look Old

Non-Cheesy Faux Aged Brick – How To Make New Bricks Look Old

In this post, we’ll explore different techniques to quickly make new bricks look old/reclaimed/antiqued for the most realistic faux aged brick look.

Over the summer I took on a new landscaping project to create a circular brick patio in my backyard. I wanted the patio to not only have a cool, mosaic look to it, but I also wanted to it look old… as if it has always been there.

Reclaimed brick patio mosaic pattern
Reclaimed brick is absolutely beautiful. But, will this hold up over time? (Source: Rock Road Backpackers)

Problems with using reclaimed bricks

While you could source reclaimed brick on Craigslist, what I don’t particularly like about old brick is the structural integrity. A lot of times these older, aged bricks are crumbling and may not hold up to the elements as well as a new brick. Reclaimed brick can also be a lot more expensive. If you’re doing a large area, the cost per brick can add up quickly.

Problems with faux aging new bricks to make them look old

But, new brick kind of stinks too. You could find some unique new bricks but it’s typically special order and costs a lot of money. So I decided to buy the cheapest new bricks I could find and experiment with some faux aged brick techniques. By staining and whitewashing the new brick, I could have that antique brick look for my circular patio while starting with a structurally sound foundation.

Achieving a non-cheesy faux aged brick look

The trick to this project is to make new bricks look old without looking cheesy or cheap. And while I hate the word “faux” making something look like something its not is pretty much what I’m doing here. Except… it looks very realistic!

In this video I’ll show you five different ways you can achieve a realistic faux brick look quickly, without spending a ton of money or sacrificing the structural integrity of your patio, walkway or wall!

Watch this video on my YouTube channel

Materials you need for faux aging your brick

Faux Aged Brick Before and After
Get a reclaimed brick look with a 25 cent brand new brick.

How to make new bricks look old (step by step)

Once you gather your materials and have your new bricks, you’ll want to practice before you start. If you don’t have much extra brick, you can flip the bricks over and experiment on the underside of the bricks.

Use your paintbrush and lightly dip into the stain or paint. Using different types of paintbrushes, like sponge brushes or chip brushes will give you different effects. Experiment with different brush strokes and techniques to get the look you’re going for.

You can pat the stain or paint dry in between coats. I like to reapply the color several times to get the intensity I’m going for. I also like to layer one color on top of the other.

This is much easier to understand when you watch the video!

If you are having trouble getting this to look and feel natural, I’d highly recommend finding an inspiration photo that you can use to guide you. Look at the photo and try to copy the effects you see in the actual aged brick.

Quick Tip: There are lots of ideas in my Garden Paths and Walkways Pinterest Board that you can use for your own inspiration.

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Top tips for creating faux aged brick

Here are some tips that you can use to make sure that you’re bricks look realistic!

Faux Aged Brick Patio Inspiration Photo
This is the inspiration photo I used for this project (Source: LovelyCraftyHome)

Find an aged brick inspiration photo

Go online and research different reclaimed brick or aged brick photos to find something you like. There are tons of different options — from color variation to pattern to size of the brick. Finding that “dream” photo will help you to determine how much “aging” you should do on the brick.

Remember to check out my Garden Paths and Walkways Pinterest Board for some inspiration photos.

Buy extra bricks to experiment with

With any kind of tile or brick project I always recommend getting at least 10% more than you need. For this faux aged brick project, you may want to exceed that 10% extra. That way you’ll have a bunch of extra bricks that you can practice on.

Practice your aging techniques on the bottoms of the bricks

If you don’t have the budget to get extra bricks, you can always flip the bricks over and practice on the bottoms of the bricks. When you are satisfied with your work, just flip the bricks over and apply the technique to the tops of the bricks.

Apply the stain/paint lightly

I like to do multiple coats of the stain or paint in order to get the desired antique look. Don’t use a heavy hand because it’s much easier to add more and build up your layers than to put on too much paint or stain and try to take it off.

In the video (5:30) I’ll show you how difficult it is to remove unwanted color from the brick and how you can (kind of) fix it if this happens to you.

Faux Aged Brick Patio Before and After
I didn’t use these faux aging techniques on my patio until it was installed. This was helpful in making the aging look more natural.

Install the brick first, then age the brick

This is a big one. If you age all of your bricks using the techniques from the video, then you install the brick walkway, patio, wall, etc., it’s going to be difficult and may not look that natural.

I would recommend installing the brick first. Once it’s in place, use your inspiration photo to age your bricks in place. It will look more natural this way.

Faux Aged Brick Patio Complete
Here’s my faux aged brick patio after installation. I still need to clean up a bit. In this photo, the patio is wet. This really brings out the contrast of the paint and stain. But, when the bricks dry, the contrast is much more subtle.
Faux Aged Brick Patio Complete
For comparison, here’s a photo before we used the polymer sand between the bricks to set it. The bricks are dry in this photo.

Make your own stains

If you don’t want to go out and buy new stains, you can also try using 1 part acrylic paint mixed with 4 parts water. This will give you a stain-like appearance on the brick. Valspar Clear Mixing Glaze mixed with acrylic paint is also a great way to make custom stains.

Quick Tip: If you want to learn more about creating your own stains, check out my post, Staining Wood Any Paint Color You Want.

Wrapping Up

There you have it; 5 different techniques that you can try to age your bricks. My favorite technique is using Whitewash pickling stain by Mixwax. You can also try grays, browns and tans to achieve the effect you’re looking for. If you have some acrylic paint handy, you can also try mixing 1 part paint with 4 parts water to create your own custom stains.

Search online for an inspiration photo of a reclaimed brick installation that you like. Use this as your guide as you work on the aging techniques. Remember to practice first. You can buy extra brick or experiment on the back of the bricks. And, I would highly recommend installing the brick FIRST. If you age the brick in place using your inspiration photo as a guide, you’ll get a more natural look.

Charming brick paver walkway project

Charming brick paver walkway project

Forking over the cash for new sidewalks is not my idea of a fun project. Nor is it a DIY project. So… since I had to do it, I figured I’d splurge by adding an extra charming brick paver walkway to my house! I think the results speak for themselves on this one!

A charming brick paver walkway adds tons of curb appeal
A charming brick paver walkway adds tons of curb appeal!

Pouring new concrete sidewalks

I’ve been putting off getting new sidewalks poured since I’ve moved in. Now, it’s been 5 years and I decided it’s finally time. But… boy… it’s so expensive and just seems like such a crappy way to throw money. I know it will make a difference and adds curb appeal, but there’s nothing exciting or interesting about pouring concrete sidewalks.

So, I decided to seize the opportunity and while I had the contractor there, I talked to him about some ideas to create a really charming brick walkway to my house.

The concrete pour was really straight forward. I called 3 contractors to get quotes (see below for my tips about working with contractors). I talked to the contractors about how they would pour the concrete. Here’s what we covered:

  • pouring as a separate sidewalk and curb or pouring together — they poured them together
  • adding rebar to reenforce the concrete
  • mixing fiberglass into the concrete for extra strength (he said lots of people opt out of this because you can see the little fiber glass flecks in the concrete. I decided to do it anyway and I’m happy I did — the durability and strength outweighed the cons for me)
  • expansion joints and score lines
  • addressing the walkway — I wanted to add pavers, but would these be a separate project, laid onto the ground with sand, or laid overtop of a thin concrete layer. I decided to go with the thin layer of concrete so that laying the walkway would be easier, level and (hopefully) last longer through our harsh Northeast PA winters.
  • sealing the concrete afterwards

Charming brick paver walkway project

The brick paver walkway was the most exciting part of this project for me. I went online and found some photos of what I liked, and was able to show these to the contractor. He picked out the brick and sent me photos of the options. And, since I was home during the install, I was able to give some extra input about the design and how I wanted the bricks to lay out. Just a note, my contractor was super friendly and accommodating — not all are as nice as this and would probably be annoyed if you were hovering over them as they work.

Cottage-Style Walkway Inspiration Photos

I wanted small bricks or something “cottagy” for the walkway. So I went on Pinterest and found a bunch of photos I liked so I could give the contractor an idea of what I was looking for.  Here are the example photos I pulled from the internet.

After I got the pricing, I picked the best contractor fit for me. And— was immediately put on a waiting list. The 3 week wait-list quickly turned into 7 weeks. But, once they were ready to work it went really quickly. The project was started on a Friday, they worked on Saturday and Tuesday, and finished up on Wednesday. All in all, the entire project was about 20 hours of labor.

Sometimes working with contractors feels really difficult. But if you follow my tips below, you’ll have a much better experience and feel more prepared when it’s time to hire!

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Before & After Concrete & Walkway Photos

Here are some before and after photos of the entire project! What a difference the new concrete sidewalk an the brick paver walkway makes. I’m all smiles when I drive up to the house!


Here are some before photos… as you can see I really did need some help with my concrete sidewalks!


All of the old concrete was removed and disposed of. Then, new concrete was laid on both the sidewalk and the walkway. The brick pavers were placed a few days later when the concrete dried. They are layed directly onto a layer of concrete.


I’m sure you can see what an incredible difference this project made to my home’s curb appeal. I love the way it came out.

Brick paver walkway - After photo
New sidewalks and a charming brick paver walkway up to the house.
Brick paver walkway - After photo
Here’s a view of the brick pavers from the front porch.

Wrapping Up

Overall, spending a ton of money on something like concrete can really suck the life out of you. Where I live, our borough does not care for the sidewalks in front of your home, although if it gets very bad, they can actually mandate you to get them repoured. Check your local township/city/borough website for details on pouring sidewalks… you may luck out and they will take care of them for you.

If you are in the same boat as me and have to pour them yourself, you may want to consider adding something special to the project. This always helps me to feel a little better about spending the money.

  • I needed basement windows, so while the contractor was there I had him enlarge a window in my office.
  • I needed sidewalks poured, so while the contractor was there I had him install a cute brick paver walkway to add a little more charm.

Doing this helps you to appreciate the project more, and not feel like you are wasting your money on items that don’t bring you joy. You deserve a little joy, and while you have a contractor already coming to do something else, you may as well inquire about those little touches you wouldn’t otherwise do!

As with any project, gather sample photos and make sure that you have a clear idea of what you expect from the contractor. Follow all of the contractor tips in this post to make sure you are picking one that’s a good fit for you and the project you are working on. Most of all, enjoy the process, have fun, and use these types of projects to add a special touch to your home!

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