The mechanical characteristics of infill walls retrofitted with carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) sheets are really important for the realistic prediction of seismic performance of the vulnerable reinforced concrete (RC) frames retrofitted through CFRP strengthened infill walls. In this study, 36 hollow brick wall specimens were tested either under uniaxial compression or diagonal tension before and after retrofitting externally with CFRP sheets. The test parameters are the dimensions of the walls, the orientation of holes of bricks, the type of mortar, the amount of CFRP sheets and the details of strengthening application. At the end of the tests, a significant contribution of CFRP sheets on the mechanical characteristics of hollow brick walls was observed in terms of several important structural design parameters such as Young and shears moduli, axial and shears strengths as well as the deformation capacity. Finally, the strength and deformability characteristics of the walls and frames retrofitted with CFRP sheets were predicted analytically. The predictions were in good agreement with the experimental data. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.