If you love the classic look of brick, you can get it in two different types of siding — solid brick or brick veneers. Bricks are the perfect blend of form and function; they are more weather- and fire-resistant than other siding materials and provide a timeless exterior to match any style.
People have been using bricks to protect themselves and their loved ones and valuables for centuries. Still, modern technology has improved these age-old building mediums with the innovation of brick veneers — just as lovely at only a fraction of the price and weight of solid masonry.
Here are more facts about solid brick vs. brick veneer costs, installation details, and when to call a professional.
What is Solid Brick Construction?
Humans have been using bricks to construct sturdy, warm, protective structures for centuries. These familiar blocks of red are made from natural components like shale or clay, bonded by a process called vitrification after being heated in a kiln to 2000˚.
Depending on regional costs and the expertise of your contractor, you can expect to pay around $14 square feet. Since brick (or double brick construction, as it’s sometimes called) doesn’t require any wooden elements for support, pests like termites or carpenter ants aren’t an issue.
There are usually two walls in this type of construction — an interior made of concrete blocks and an exterior made of brick. Each horizontal layer of concrete block or brick is called a wythe.
To ensure that the two wythes stay together and increase the wall’s stability and strength, header bricks are installed every six rows, laying across the wythes like a bridge. When you’re looking at the exterior, you can tell which is a header brick because it’s shorter than other bricks.
Solid brick masonry is slightly more expensive due to the expertise needed by masons to install it successfully. It is impervious to pests and fire, but brick masonry isn’t ideal for extreme winters, since you can’t install it with insulation. You can only install brick walls when you first build your home. It isn’t something that you can add on after the fact.
Good to Know
Unlike solid masonry, brick veneers aren’t load-bearing and can be installed or swapped out at any moment.
What is Brick Veneer Construction?
It isn’t challenging to tell brick veneer or brick masonry if you know what to look for — mainly the header bricks on solid masonry and weep holes in brick veneer. But to the untrained eye, you would be hard-pressed to know the difference.
Brick veneers look a lot like brick masonry, except they’re lighter, cost less, and the installation isn’t as laborious. A brick veneer is an overlay or facing of brick adhered to a wood and steel frame.
Unlike solid masonry, brick veneers aren’t load-bearing and can be installed or swapped out at any moment. You also need to ensure that the contractor you choose knows to put weep holes every 32” along the foundations and above windows and doors, so the structure isn’t susceptible to water damage.
When Should You Call a Professional?
If you are interested in building with solid brick masonry or using brick veneer siding, you need to have a professional, licensed contractor to help guide you through the complicated process.
Choosing between brick and brick veneer isn’t something you should undertake without the necessary foreknowledge. Contact At Home Pros today. We’re here to help you connect to the very best licensed professionals in your area.