What is a brick veneer? Brick veneer is a decorative outdoor wall facade. It renders the exterior of the house to look like it was made up of solid brick instead of being made up of wood and frame. This is very common in most states of the US where houses are mainly built from wooden frames rather than actual solid brick. The bricks used for brick veneer are not as thick as solid bricks as they are only meant for decoration rather than being structural support. The most common dimensions of brick veneer used in the US are 9″ x 4.5″ x 0.5″ inches (length x width x depth). Some brick veneer bricks can be as deep as 1″ to 1 3/4″ inches. Though their applications are very limited in general usage.
Why is brick veneer recommended by contractors?
The most common brick veneer use is to make the house look like it was made from brick. Which means that it is purely decorative. This is a shocking statement for many to hear as most general contractors tell their clients to use brick veneer because of its protective properties and ability to stop high-pressure winds. This all is pure pseudoscience and it ain’t true.
The biggest reason why general contractors recommend brick veneer is so that they can charge you a bit more on an already finished house. You can probably get the house painted easily either by hiring someone or by doing it yourself but to apply brick veneer you would need the help of a mason. This would require the help of a contractor. So you can quickly get stuck in the contractor trap.
Should you use brick veneer for your house?
In my opinion, a Brick veneer is a great look. It makes the house feel like it was built from solid brick and can add a lot of value to the house appraisal. This is why most building companies use them. But, if you are building a family home, then you can absolutely do without it. As the added cost can not be justified if you are on a budget. If I were in your place I would just paint the exterior of the house with weather-resistant paint and call it a day. Because in this way I can quickly move into the house, which saves both money and time.
Is brick veneer used outside the US?
Most houses outside the US are built with solid double brick walls such as in the UK. While solid brick is in itself a very hardened material that can bear the weight of even concrete roofs, mostly it comes down to cost when deciding between the two. Most houses outside the US are built from solid bricks so they don’t have to install brick veneer to fake the look of a brick house.
Should I build a solid brick house in the US?
For most areas in the US, brick veneer is a common decision while deciding to build a house. Building a solid brick house in the US can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the house with no added value. Most US houses are built from wood as wooden houses are easily and cheaply built.
The biggest hurdle in building solid brick houses in the US is the non-availability of masons. Masons are people who are trained in the art of bricklaying. Most masons are mostly used in the US to either build high-rise buildings and apartment complexes or giant brick mansions. Hence masons are not available as readily in the US. Thus the supply and demand issue causes the cost of acquiring a son on contract to go through the roof. Hence for US houses, I would still suggest building a wooden frame house and using brick veneer if you like the decorative appeal of the brick walls.
Another option if you are on a budget can be to just use paint which can cost even less than brick veneer. Do make sure that you are using weather-resistant paint.
What is the difference between a solid brick and a brick veneer house?
Solid brick is a structural component brick veneer is not
Brick veneer is just like a tile. Let me explain. Brick veneer is applied for decorative purposes, that is why its depth is only about 0.5 to 1 inch. It is not meant to bear the weight of the wall nor does it provide any structural support to the wall itself. It is merely a facade as I mentioned earlier. Hence it should not be confused with solid brick as it will not provide any structural support to the house. The dimensions of a brick veneer are 9 inches in length, 4.5 inches in width, and 4.5 inches deep.
A solid brick on the other hand is a structural component of the house. It is meant to bear the weight of the house and hence it is applied in a double brick configuration. A normal brick is about 9 inches in length, 4.5 inches in width, and 4.5 inches deep. This means that a normal wall would be about 9 inches deep, as bricks are always laid in double when they are meant to weight bear.
Consider the image below to get a better idea. The brick veneer is only used as a rain screen. This is further reinforced with a rain screen drainage plane and a weather-resistant barrier. The structural backup wall in the image is the regular drywall which we all are aware of.
If you considering starting the construction of your dream home you should check out our article on the best month to start the construction of a house.
Solid brick walls are thicker as compared to dry walls with brick veneer
So a double-layered brick wall will be thicker when compared to drywall used in wooden houses, even after the brick veneer is applied to their surface. This is because regular drywall will be 0.5 inches in thickness. If you add the brick veneer thickness to the drywall then it will add up to only an inch. While a solid brick wall will be about 9 inches thick. This is because bricks are always laid in double. This basically means that two bricks are laid side by side to make up a single wall.
Find more articles similar to “What is a brick veneer? Brick veneer vs brick house” here. To learn more about calculating the number of bricks required for the construction of a normal family home you can check out our article “How many bricks does it take to build a house?”.