We often are asked to construct exposed brick walls within Kitchen and Living areas to create a cool Urban space. We have completed several and then end result is always satisfactory but in all honesty we don't feel the real authentic look is achieved as the 'rustic' feel is not achieved even when you use a lime based mortar and carefully brush up the pointing to give it a weathered look. Some clients just go for standard sand:cement and pointing however we feel this just leaves you with a nicely finished wall that looks like it should be in the garden.
Over the last two years we have been using faux cladding ranging from brick to stone and now concrete panels. They are constructed in a variety of materials but our main supplier uses a foam type sub base material and a hard finish layer. They are delivered in panels approx 1sqm and slot together after being mechanically fixed or bonded to the wall. The joints between the panels are filled with a specially supplied mastic that once dried seamlessly joins the panels so they appear as one unit.
There are a huge range of brick and stone finishes to choose from and we are delighted with the product as are our clients. We have used in various rooms from the Kitchen, living room alcoves, bedroom walls. Its so effective and everyone believes its the real deal even when touching.
Some other beneficial qualities: increased thermal and acoustic qualities, quick clean installation, no maintenance required, can be painted over, non-permeable.
We thoroughly recommend considering the use of faux panels and can provide details of our supplier and provide estimates for you and your project. See below photo of the panels in use on a job we recently completed.