Brick Veneer is essentially a single layer of full-sized bricks installed adjacent to the exterior walls of your home. In comparison to solid brick walls, brick veneer is typically used as a decorative piece rather than bearing the weight of a home. Solid brick walls contain two layers of brick that hold the home together while veneer can be installed by the homeowner after construction. When we say brick veneer, we don’t mean those little thin slices that you glue on your kitchen wall. We mean an honest to goodness brick. However, the wall is only one brick thick. Behind the brick veneer is a wood frame wall which is actually holding up the house. The brick veneer is, in effect, siding, but here at Mobile Vinyl Siding Co., we find vinyl siding most effective.
Brick veneer became the norm when building codes began to require insulation in the exterior walls. One of the best insulators is air. Most good insulation does nothing but trap air; that’s why most insulation are light and fluffy. Brick is not exactly light and fluffy. Therefore it’s not really a very good insulator. A brick veneer house then, is really a wood frame house where the cavity between the studs in the wall can be insulated.
The walls are built, covered with sheathing and often insulated before the brick is even installed. As the brick is being installed, metal ties are nailed onto the wood frame wall. It is important that they be nailed into the studs and not just into the sheathing. The metal ties are then bent so that they are horizontal where they become embedded in the mortar joints as the brick veneer wall is constructed. The brick veneer is built on the outer edge of the foundation wall so that a one inch air space remains between the brick veneer and the sheathing. Air is one of the best insulators, and given that your wall is already equipped with an air space, your wall will be just as well insulated as any other siding product.
Another great benefit of brick veneer is that, compared to natural brick, veneer is extremely lightweight. The surface beneath brick veneer doesn’t need to have an excessive weight bearing element, making it easier to handle and manipulate during installation. This is one of the main advantages when it comes to investing in brick veneer rather than solid brick. It’s much more affordable in all aspects – spanning construction, installation, maintenance and cleaning. For those of you on a budget, brick veneer is a great option to consider. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns just lie regular brick. Today’s modern brick veneers are made from clay and shale to ensure the feel and texture is virtually identical to regular brick. The only difference between the two is thickness. Solid brick is three times thicker than veneer.
So how waterproof is brick? The short answer is “not very”. With a wind driven rain, moisture will pass right through a brick wall. The one inch air space behind the brick allows this water to run down the back surface of the brick. At the bottom of the wall cavity, a plastic or metal flashing collects the water and allows it to drain out through weep holes. You’ll find weep holes spaced at approximately 32″ (every fourth brick) along the top of foundation walls and above doors and windows.