Brick veneers consist of thin bricks attached to the front of a conventional wall structure. Unlike solid masonry walls, which serve primarily as foundations for the building, brick veneer walls rely heavily on their structural counterparts for support. Let’s look at the advantages, disadvantages, and potential areas your commercial space could benefit from brick veneers.
- Customization: Brick veneers have a wide variety of colors and sizes to choose from, making it convenient to find a matching design that complements the look of your building.
- Affordable: brick veneers are less expensive than actual brick walls. The veneers are less complicated to install than actual brick, resulting in lower labor and material costs.
- Conducive to Airflow: air fills the small voids between the inside and outside walls. The space between the two provides insulation.
- Insulation: Bricks are highly porous, so moisture can quickly pass through the walls—the cavity between the two forms an insulator.
- Intermediate Project: Installing brick veneers requires a good deal of effort. For instance, you need to make sure that each brick is installed far enough from the other to achieve flat surfaces, and you need to ensure that the mortar paste on the back of each brick is thick enough to minimize gaps between bricks.
Furthermore, installing brick veneers can be time-consuming, mainly if you’re covering a large surface area. To avoid these problems, you can hire professional installers for a fee.
- Energy Inefficient: While conducive to airflow and insulation, brick veneers cannot store heat or cold for later use. This means you’ll have to use appliances to maintain adequate temperatures.
- Prone to Water Damage: Brick veneers trap moisture behind the wall, leading to water damage. This is usually resolved by installing drainage holes.
Installing Brick Veneers
Though brick veneers work as design elements indoors and outdoors, their installations are radically different. To install interior brick veneers, prepare the wall by installing a layer of mortar on the surface. After the mortar hardens, place the bricks in rows on top of it, with plastic spacers between each row. Once you have installed the bricks, seal them to improve wall stability.
For outdoor brick veneers, you must place them as a freestanding wall that connects to the structure rather than directly on it. Then, attach the anchors or brick ties to the surface with mortar joints. Finally, place the bricks on a foundation and construct them from the bottom up.
Aside from their installation variations, there are challenges since brick veneers are an intermediate project. For instance, you’ll have to Install each brick on the wall by hand! To ensure uniformity, you’ll need to work continuously and accurately to achieve the desired result. This is why It is more advisable to hire a skilled mason or other professionals.
You’ll also need to repoint the mortar when it gets old. Repointing is an industry term for removing the existing, damaged mortar and replacing it with new material. However, most DIY contractors find it more challenging to repoint the bricks because they can’t find the right color to match the existing mortar on the surface.
This ends the basic guide about brick veneers. If you can handle installation and maintenance on your own, this project shouldn’t be a problem. Remember to clean it lightly with a mild detergent and a soft brush to prevent surface damage.
Or, if you’re not confident in undertaking this intermediate project, contact Forza Construction Services now! We build envelope and exterior finishes like brick veneers for commercial purposes. For an idea of how we work, visit our online portfolio!