Most Australian new houses will typically have the garage adjacent to the home, sharing a common wall on one side (sometimes two). The shared garage wall will be plasterboard, the rest will usually be brick. This article documents an installation we completed of wall panels on a garage brick wall. It will hopefully act as a guide to help you with any StoreWALL install you might be considering.
The rules/lessons around any StoreWALL installation are the same. Installing on a concrete or brick wall however will likely be a tougher ask compared to plasterboard. This is due to the drilling effort and because bricks (and therefore the wall they build) are often not a straight flush cut on all sides. What you get is a nice flat/straight section followed by either a brick that looks indented or one that extends out further than the others. These will appear throughout the wall. However don’t let that scare you. StoreWALL on a brick wall works and as you will see the results are pretty impressive.
The wall we are talking about today is just over 9m in length and 2.5m in height. It is a very big wall. Most StoreWALL clients install the wall panels on part of their garage wall, not the whole wall. Most also don’t have a garage that is 9m in width.
Measuring Your Brick Wall
First step in any StoreWALL installation is measuring your wall and ordering the panels you need. If you measure the area you want covered (width and height) you will get your total surface area. With this measure we can help you calculate how many panels and InstallStrips you will require. (Call us or send an email).
The total area covered by this 9.5m x 2.35m wall was: 22.2 squared meters.
Required Tools to Install Wall Panels on a Garage Brick Wall
- For a brick or concrete wall, you will require a Hammer Drill. If you don’t own one, buy one or rent one from a friend or local hardware shop.
- 5mm x 150mm (length) Masonry Drill Bit (atleast 2).
- Brick Nylon Anchors. These are what you will anchor the Installstrips to the wall with. Whilst I have an image of the Ramset brand here, you can use any brand you like. The quantity you need is minimum 3 or 4 per strip. So you if you have 24 InstallStrips you need around 96. You can buy these from your local hardware store, electrical store or Fastener store. The size you will need is 5mm X 40mm. The cost of a box is about $15 from Total Tools.
- Thin Packers. You can use cardboard tear-offs (from StoreWALL packaging) as well.
- Spirit level
- Ladder depending on the height you are working towards
- Strong spatula or something to help lift the InstallStrips from wall if you make a mistake.
- Second person to help you
Wall Panels on a Garage Brick Wall
The task we were given was to install the full wall, floor to ceiling and end to end.
The first step was to work out how close to the end of the wall we wanted to place the first InstallStrip. We went about 200mm from the end. You can go closer and we did for many of the other panels (in some cases 50mm or 100mm). Having the InstallStrips close to the edge reduces movement and aligns panels better as you join them side by side along the length of the wall.
Each panel needs to be connected to 6 InstallStrips. We actually tried starting with 4 InstallStrips but quickly realised that 6 connections which is what is recommended added additional strength to the panel. By strength I mean it was fastened better to the wall, less movement if you pressed on it with your hand.
Brick Nylon Anchors
One of the many reasons to use the Nylon Anchors when installing the InstallStrips is that once the hole has been created you can push the plastic part of the Anchor into the wall to secure the InstallStrip and then begin working on your levelling. You don’t need to hammer the nail in as well (you will later). By using only the plastic bit, if you make a mistake you can simply pull it back out with relative ease. If you hammer in the nail as well, removing the Anchors is much harder.
We drew our levelling line on the wall with a Cross Line Laser Level. The Laser level was placed opposite the wall on a ladder. We had to adjust the height a few times so that the levelling line sat exactly on the nail we hammered into the InstallStrip. The line went across 90% of the 9m wall and showed us where we needed to drill our first hole for each of the InstallStrips. The same result can be gained with some string if you don’t have access to a laser level.
What do InstallStrips Do?
The InstallStrip is about 90mm long and can be split into 3 equal parts of about 30mm. Each of these parts has several holes in it to allow you to anchor the InstallStrip to the wall. It also has these claws used to hook into the back of the panel to secure it.
The work you do levelling the InstallStrips on your wall is about ensuring that each claw from each InstallStrip hooks itself onto the panels. This ensures that the panels sit straight and level on the wall. It also ensures that the panels are strong the withstand the weight of anything you hang off them.
Each InstallStrip is made from metal and each Claw extends by about 10mm. The claws can be tapped slight up or down to provide greater connection to the panel.
Back to Levelling
Let me advise that after installing 9m of wall using this Laser Level method, I realised that we needed to start again. The method was correct for installing the InstallStrips but the issue was the wall itself. Brick Walls are not always vertically straight. If you place a piece of wood vertically on your brick wall, you will notice gaps (between the wood and the brick). These gaps are all over the wall and are caused by the bricks all being slightly different in shape. It can also be the laying itself which can cause it. The problem we found after beginning to lay panels on the wall was that the Installstrip claws were NOT ALL catching the back of the panel. We could sense gaps in sections.
We decided to start again and this time level each 2.4m section individually. With our first InstallStrip at the far left of the wall, we then drilled and added our last InstallStrip at the other end of the 2.4m section. We made sure of the levelling by adding a panel and then checking with the Spirit Level.
Once we were happy with this we then added 4 other InstallStrips in between (with just one Anchor to start with), evenly spaced. As described above we installed the anchors with the plastic bit first to allow us to check the connections and levels.
We realised this approach allowed us to check how each InstallStrip claw connected to the panel and if packing was needed. Where packing was needed, we added a small piece of cardboard at the back of the InstallStrip and checked it (vertically) with the Sprit Level or a piece of wood.
The checking needs to be done with each panel so that it is connecting to enough claws to be securely fastened. It means adding and removing the panels a few times and is time consuming but the results are much better. You also get quicker at it as you progress along the length of the wall.
(Note: the irregularities in the wall will not be present on a plasterboard garage wall, certainly not the extent of a brick garage wall.)
Once we were happy with all of the InstallStrips and how they worked with the panels we drilled any remaining holes and hammered the Anchors in. These steps were repeated along the 9m length of wall.
Cutting the Panels
Cutting StoreWALL panels is just like cutting any piece of wood. You need a circular saw and a guide to ensure that the cut is straight. The finer and sharper the blade the better.
One of our cuts was a horizontal cut to the panel. This was the final panel at the top of the wall. Once we measured the size of the panel, we left enough clearance to be able to lift and fit the panel on to the InstallStrip. I would suggest 10mm – 12mm clearance. We used a guide to cut along the length of the panel (2.4m length). Using the guide the cut was straight and looked really good.
In addition to the 9m of wall we also had 2.4m of height. So we had two full InstallStrips and two sections of a third InstallStrip.
The height of our wall was not exactly the same along the length of the wall either. This meant that at one end of the wall we had to manually cut the InstallStrip so that it would fit.
At the base of each panel is groove. This groove is used to allow the top panel to snuggle into the lower panel. The groove ensures that both panels sit flush.
Installing the Second Row
An InstallStrip will hold 3 panels vertically. The top panel finishes a few mm higher than the top of the InstallStrip. To add our second row of InstallStrips and 4th row of panels we placed a panel on top of the 3rd row, ensured it had fitted into the groove of the 3rd row and then loosely added an InstallStrip. We adjusted its placement so that all claws had connected to the panel and then drilled the required hole. We secured it with a plastic anchor and then repeated the process at the other end of the panel to ensure we had our level.
Once that 4th row of panels was secure and level, we added the inner 4 InstallStrips.
You will notice in the photos on the page that in some areas we have two InstallStrips side by side. To add some extra strength to the Installation we added an additional section (300mm) of InstallStrip connecting the joining row of panels ie 3rd and 4th panel or the 6th and 7th panel.
Final Top Row
The height of our wall was roughly 2.4m. The very top row was about 195mm. It wasn’t a full panel.
The manage this we trimmed an InstallStrip to fit the space. We allowed for 1 or two claws to be available for securing the panel.
As noted earlier the panel was cut horizontally to fit the space. We required some clearance at the top in order to lift and then lower the panel onto the InstallStrip.
This got a little complicated. Whilst we were able to connect enough claws to secure the panel, we also added a few extra nails directly through the panel. Coloured screws would have been better as they would have colour matched the panel and not been obvious. We touched up the nail with some paint (white in the case) to blend it in. It was barely noticeable so high on the wall.
We transformed what was a very boring wall into one which was quite dynamic in colour and very practical in terms of storage. We hope these instructions assisted you if you are considering installing Wall Panels on a Garage Brick Wall