2022 Brick Veneer vs Solid Brick

Typical Cost To Install New Siding Price Range: $5,320 - $8,760
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Both the modern veneer and the classic brick are visually appealing and have multiple other benefits, so you’ll have to consider all their features to make an informed decision for your siding replacement.

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Brick Veneer vs Brick – Cost Breakdown

Brick masonry is sometimes called double brick, solid masonry, or brick and block. This construction style has been around for a while, and until the mid-20th century, brick masonry homes were popular throughout North America. They’ve remained in demand to this day.

Modern brick homes feature masonry walls forming two layers, often called wythes. The outer layer is brick, and it obscures the second layer. The inner wythe is typically built from more affordable cinder blocks or concrete.

A bridge of sideways-stacked header bricks connects the two wythes, although you can use wires instead.

Older brick houses sometimes have additional wythes. If the construction predates the 20th century, the wall could be more than 20 inches thick.

If you’re in the market for a brick masonry home, you’ll likely have to view houses built before the 21st century.

Brick is one of the most durable and costly building materials, and few people are willing to build a brick masonry home from scratch.

Thus, most customers revitalize older homes. Depending on the state of the house, the prices could vary.

It’s best to work with a professional with a high level of expertise.

Masons specializing in fixing bowing brick walls usually charge between $7.50 and $40 per square foot.

Repairing a cracked foundation could cost between $2,000 and $8,000.

If you have to repoint the mortar, that will cost you approximately $7 per square foot.

Material Per Square Foot
Solid Brick $5-$14
Brick Veneer $3.50-$9

The word “veneer” does not indicate that brick veneer houses feature faux brick materials. The exterior wythe of brick veneer homes is made from true brick masonry.

Compared to brick homes, brick veneer doesn’t have a second layer. Instead, there’s a gap and a structure from another material, usually wood.

So, although the brick veneer mimics the look of solid brick homes, these brick acts like siding.

During the last few decades, brick veneer homes have become the go-to choice for those who appreciate the coziness and appeal of real brick.

Brick veneer is more affordable, with 2,500 square feet costing between $19,000 and $68,000.

If you have intermediate masonry experience, you could even take the DIY route, something you can’t do with a brick foundation.

Did you know? The oldest brick house in the U.S. has been standing for over three centuries. Built in 1665, Bacon’s Castle was the home of Arthur Allen.

Once called Allen’s Brick House, it became known as Bacon’s Castle when Nathaniel Bacon’s men took control of it during Bacon’s Rebellion in the Jamestown settlement of Virginia back in 1676-77.

The home’s style features elements of High Jacobean architecture. Since the 1970s, the house has belonged to Preservation Virginia.

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Width (Gable Side)
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Siding Tear-off
Trim Windows
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Siding Material
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Estimated Siding Cost: $0
High End
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The Differences Of Brick Veneer vs Brick

Now that you’re familiar with the costs of brick veneer and solid brick, let’s look at other notable differences between the two.

Energy Efficiency

Thermal transfer is perhaps the most substantial difference between solid brick and brick veneer.

Due to its inherent properties, brick provides little insulation insulator.

On the other hand, brick veneer cavity walls have a gap that can house insulation materials between the backup wall and the outer veneer.

Consequently, brick veneer is more energy efficient.

Water Drainage

Unlike some other building materials, brick isn’t waterproof. Both veneer and solid brick walls use the bond between the masonry and mortar to minimize water penetration.

Solid brick walls use their mass to absorb excess water coming from the exterior. Older masonry buildings have cement plaster as their interior finish, which isn’t prone to water damage. Newer brick houses have gypsum, and this material is less resistant to water damage.

Solid masonry walls require regular maintenance, like tuckpointing, to remain in excellent condition. Veneer cavity walls use weep systems to eliminate water hidden behind the bricks.

Structural

Solid bricks are used to construct structural walls, while veneer walls serve as structural backups.

Average Cost to Install
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $6,326 - $7,645
Low End
$5,672
Average
$7,003
High End
$8,193

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Brick Masonry: Pros And Cons

The Pros

Let’s examine why brick masonry would be a perfect choice.

Longevity

People have bolstered the structural integrity of their brick homes for centuries.

Solid brick is durable, fireproof, and impact-resistant. It fares well in extreme weather conditions without losing its effectiveness.

As a result, we can tour many historic brick buildings even today.

Those who want to pass on their forever home to future generations should consider investing in brick masonry.

Solid brick masonry doesn’t rely on wood, so rot, rodents, bugs, and decay are a nonissue. Water can seriously damage wood homes, but with brick, you needn’t to worry about mold and mildew.

Low Maintenance

Solid brick walls require minimal upkeep. The color is fadeproof, and there is no need to repaint the brick every few years.

As long as you clean bricks and mortar regularly, you’re basically good to go.

Eco-Friendly

Modern brick homes are made from shale and clay, two abundant and natural materials.

Also, brick is easily recyclable. Should you ever decide to tear down the house, you can repurpose bricks to line pathways, build garden walls, or create sub-base material.

When they reach the end of their service life and degrade, bricks release no toxic chemicals into the environment.

Did you know? Brick masonry sometimes develops a white scum. This powdery layer is called efflorescence, or scumming. It results from salt deposits deep within the masonry.

Some believe it degrades the visual appeal of the bricks, so certain additives can prevent the development of scumming.

Barium carbonate reacts with magnesium sulfate and calcium sulfate, trapping them inside the clay and preventing them from rising to the surface of the bricks.

Block Noise

Bricks are naturally dense, which contributes to their sound-dampening properties.

You can expect a reduction of approximately 53 decibels with a solid wall.

Stabilize Indoor Temperatures

Bricks capture outdoor heat and gradually release it, which helps preserve indoor temperature levels. This is a plus for homes in cold but sunny climates.

The Cons

Solid brick houses may be beautiful, but they do have a few drawbacks.

Expensive Repairs and Restoration

As we mentioned, brick masonry homes shave steep building costs. Should you notice any problems with the walls, be prepared to deal with costly repairs.

You’ll likely have to cover the restoration costs if you’ve bought an older home.

While you can resolve minor issues like dirty or loose bricks with household items, you’ll need professional assistance to tackle more severe architectural problems.

Finding bricks that perfectly blend into the exterior can be challenging, and adding plumbing, wiring, or windows can also run up the restoration costs.

Poor Insulation

As we’ve discussed, older brick homes usually lack effective insulation.

Bricks are porous, making a house dank and cold in areas that do not have much warm and sunny weather.

While adding some insulation materials can improve the brick’s performance, investing in brick veneer is the simplest solution.

Limited Color Choices

The color palette of brick masonry includes gray, yellow, and red.

Although the tones may vary, your color choices are limited.

If you want a different shade, you’ll have to repaint the brick, but this is ill-advised. It’s an expensive and time-consuming task that could ruin the brick’s aesthetic appeal.

Weather Fluctuations

Solid brick is highly durable and rigid, but if the land underneath shifts frequently, you may notice cracks and foundation issues.

Moreover, structural problems can result from extreme weather fluctuations because the material has no give.

Length (Front)
ft.
Width (Gable Side)
ft.
Number of floors
Roof Slope
Job Complexity
Insulation
Siding Tear-off
Trim Windows
Trim Doors
Siding Material
Low End
$0
Mid Range
Estimated Siding Cost: $0
High End
$0

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Brick Veneer: Pros And Cons

The Pros

Here are the most attractive benefits of brick veneer siding.

Effective Insulation

Increasingly stringent building codes require buildings to have proper insulation, and unlike brick masonry, brick veneer checks all the boxes.

The gap between the wythe and other materials traps air. For some homes, this level of insulation may be sufficient. But you can also fill the cavity with additional materials and bolster insulation.

Did you know? The oldest bricks archaeologists have uncovered date back to approximately 750 BC. They were discovered in the southeast region of Anatolia, in the Tigris area. It’s believed that the Indus Valley cities started using bricks as early as 3000 BC.

Better Waterproofing

The gap between the wythe and other elements improves waterproofing.

While brick has little difficulty fending off the elements, it’s not impervious to leaks.

Homes with brick veneer typically feature several weep holes along the cavity that enable optimal drainage.

Energy Efficient

When it comes to heat capacity, brick by far outperforms wood.

While moisture and improper insulation can minimize the energy efficiency of a brick masonry home, this is a non-issue with brick veneer.

The Cons

Although brick veneer comes close to replicating all the benefits of true brick, there are a few drawbacks you should keep in mind.

More Susceptible to Damage

Brick veneer wythes are less durable than their solid masonry counterparts. They may crack more easily and burden the household budget with costly repairs.

Additionally, if the house is made from wood, fire, rot, pest, and natural disasters endanger its structural integrity.

Requires More Maintenance

Unlike solid brick, brick veneer requires additional upkeep to stay in top-notch condition.

You must regularly check the weep holes and unclog them if necessary.

Furthermore, you should inspect the caulk joints attaching the veneer to the house and remove plant growth annually.

Average Cost to Install
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $6,326 - $7,645
Low End
$5,672
Average
$7,003
High End
$8,193

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


Should You Paint Your Brick?

Painting your brick exterior is a matter of personal preference. However, the action is irreversible, and homeowners should understand what they’re getting into.

Whether you want to put your house on the market or upgrade it to improve its value, painting the exterior seems like the natural choice.

But is it a good idea to paint a brick exterior?

It’s up to you, but a lot of hard work goes into it. You’ll have to remove the paint from the trim before picking up the paintbrush.

And once the deed is done, it becomes a permanent feature.

If you change your mind about the color and try to remove it with chemicals, you will be unable to erase it from the bricks completely.

Moreover, you’ll risk damaging the home and the bricks.

Note that painted brick requires more upkeep, and you’ll have to repaint it periodically to maintain its fresh look.

If you’re sure painting the brick is the right thing, make sure it’s completely dry. It’s best to give it a few days if it’s been raining. That way, the brick will release excess moisture and the paint will be less likely to peel after you apply it.

How Do I Know If My House Is Solid Brick Or Brick Veneer?

Here’s how you can determine whether your home has brick veneer walls or solid brick construction.

First, examine the brick pattern. While a brick veneer wall is just a single wall, a solid brick wall is formed from two walls connected by header rows.

A header row features bricks that sit perpendicularly against the wall. The bricks connect the two individual walls, becoming part of both.

If you notice such rows in your home, you’re dealing with brick masonry.

You can also check for finger-sized holes above the windows and foundation. These are weep holes, a telltale sign that your house has brick veneer walls.

How Long Does Brick Veneer Last?

If you use high-quality materials, a brick veneer house can last up to 100 years.

While impressive, this lifespan pales when compared to the 300-year service life of brick masonry.

Get The High-End Brick Look Without The High Costs

Although few materials can beat the look of solid brick, brick veneer comes pretty close.

Brick veneer is less durable than brick, but it’s more affordable and equally as attractive.

Plus, brick veneer offers better insulation and water drainage, two essential features of modern homes.

If you’ve decided a solid brick home is the best fit for you, look for older houses in good condition to minimize restoration costs.

Remember that while you can paint brick, you’ll struggle to remove the color if you change your mind.

Average Cost to Install
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $6,326 - $7,645
Low End
$5,672
Average
$7,003
High End
$8,193

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


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