Is it Solid Brick or Brick Veneer?

Sometimes buyers – especially first-time home buyers – may be confused about the difference between “brick veneer” or solid brick. Both may appear very similar from the outside, especially since both techniques use the same bricks, but there are differences in how they’re built.

Solid brick houses are built from either two layers of brick, or a layer of concrete block and an adjacent layer of brick on the exterior. The brick is part of the building’s structural support system; if the brick were removed, the building would suffer structural failures.

With brick veneer, the house is constructed from steel or wooden framing, and then covered with wood sheathing or insulation. A single layer thickness of brick is attached to the house with metal ties. Veneer brick does not support the structural load of the building; if the brick were removed, the house would continue to stand. Brick veneer is much more common in newer houses.

Solid Brick

  • Solid brick is much more stable in the event of an earthquake or heavy winds. Solid brick houses are resilient and may last for centuries.
  • Because there is no interior wood framing system, termites and decay are not an issue.
  • Solid brick homes are very heavy, and require substantial footing and foundation systems.
  • Solid brick walls are poor insulators, and also may allow moisture to penetrate exterior walls and cause problems in the home.

Brick Veneer

  • It is relatively easy to install, since there is only one layer of masonry.
  • It is generally more affordable.
  • It requires a relatively simple foundation and support system.
  • The air cavity between the brick and the home helps to keep moisture out of the home and acts as an effective insulating space, especially if it is filled with insulation. Note that the house wrap beneath veneer may leak during heavy rain, perhaps due to the holes that are placed in the wrap during installation.
  • Like solid brick, veneer is durable and fireproof, it looks fancy, and it requires little maintenance and no paint or stain.

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