Brick Siding

May 23, 2014

Types of exterior siding

Hot sun, bitter cold, rain and snow — your home’s exterior is under constant barrage from the elements. Choosing the most appropriate exterior siding for your environment is crucial. Siding can be durable and tough without being ugly. Modern siding materials feature both longevity and looks for this key aspect of your dwelling. There are numerous factors that determine which type of siding is best, including eco-friendliness, maintenance requirements and price.


Durable and tough, available in countless colors and styles, vinyl siding is a highly popular material that maintains shape and retains color despite extreme weather. If the home has pre-existing siding, a vinyl installation can retrofit over it. Depending on the brand, this siding has a lifetime guarantee that is transferable. Vinyl is easy to install and lasts more than 30 years.


Steel or aluminum siding is becoming somewhat “old-fashioned.” Modern installations are fireproof, dent-resistant, bug-proof, and require zero maintenance. Metal siding can endure 50 years or longer. Dents in this type of siding are somewhat difficult to remedy.


Portland cement, wood fibers, sand and clay are mixed together to create this type of siding. Fiber-cement is weather-resistant, fire-resistant, bug-proof, low-maintenance and extremely durable. This type of material can be molded to look like stucco, wood or masonry; it does not require painting yet can easily be repainted if desired. Fiber-cement typically lasts 30 years or more.


There are various grades and selections of wood for siding. An expensive grade with a semi-transparent finish will show wood’s desirable natural beauty. If the siding will be painted, a cheaper grade of wood is acceptable. This type of material is easy to cut, easy to install, and can last centuries. However, wood can require frequent re-finishing and repainting.


Also known as masonry, brick siding is highly aesthetic and therefore quite popular. Masonry is extremely durable, but can deteriorate slightly at the joints (mortar-filled gaps in between each brick). A dwelling surrounded by masonry veneer can be markedly cooler during hot weather compared to other types of siding.

A choice of the right exterior siding material entails numerous variables. With so many options to consider, you would be wise to consult a contractor like the professionals at Tri-County Exterior. Siding contractors and siding manufacturers are good sources of information and documentation.

March 14, 2014

Solid Brick vs. Brick Veneer

Solid brick and brick veneer structures use some of the same construction materials, but their installation techniques are different. Solid brick houses (also known as double-brick and solid masonry 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.

Brick veneer is not, contrary to popular belief, composed of thin pieces of brick, such as is found in veneer floors, patios, and decorative interior elements. Brick veneer houses look almost identical to solid brick structures, except that they are built using a very different technique. The house itself is constructed from steel or wooden framing, and then covered with wood sheathing or insulation. A single layer of brick is built near each exterior wall and 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-sample-300x211Solid brick and brick veneer both use the same bricks, although each style becomes defined during installation. Inspectors can use the presence of the following elements as evidence that a wall is solid brick rather than veneer:

Header bricks. These bricks appear smaller than the other bricks, but they are actually the same size; laid sideways, only the short end is visible. The header bricks act as a bridge between the outer wythe (layer) and the inner wythe, and prevent the two from separating, which is especially important as the wall increases in height. Header bricks are found in every sixth row in many solid masonry configurations, although other configurations are possible. On occasion, metal ties are used to hold wythes together and, in this case, no header bricks may have been required, allowing the wall to appear like a veneer.

  • Reinforced arches. Surrounding windows in solid brick houses, there will be reinforced arches with blocks that face in toward the house to reinforce the opening.
  • Older brick houses (older than 30 years) are much more likely to be solid brick than brick veneer.

Brick veneer, unlike solid brick, can be installed any time after building construction has been completed. The home’s exterior sheathing is covered with special paper to protect it against moisture and wire ties are attached at intervals, per building codes. The bricks are all laid horizontally (no header bricks) and are located several inches to a foot from the home. Weep holes are used to allow the space between the brick and frame walls to breathe and to permit accumulated moisture in this area to escape. Unfortunately, weep holes are often clogged by mortar as a result of the construction process. Clogged weep holes will allow moisture to accumulate behind the bricks, leading to decay that attracts pest infestation. Special vents can be installed in the veneer surface to relieve this problem, although many people consider them unsightly.

Benefits of 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 centuries.
Because there is no interior wood framing system, termites and decay are not an issue.
Benefits of Brick Veneer

Builders specifically choose brick veneer for the following functional and stylistic qualities:

  • 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. Solid brick homes, by contrast, are very heavy, and require substantial footing and foundation systems.
  • 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. Solid brick walls are poor insulators, and also may allow moisture to penetrate exterior walls and cause problems in the home. 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.

In summary, solid brick and brick veneer homes use many identical building materials, although they differ by their methods of installation.

Gromicko Nick. (2014 March) Solid Brick vs. Brick Veneer. Retrieved on March 4, 2014 From

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February 7, 2014

Handmade Stone Veneer – a Great Choice for Inside and Out

Using handmade stone cladding or stone veneer for your home – whether it it’s to enliven an interior feature wall or decorate a fireplace surround, or to enhance the look of your house’s frontage or outdoor living space – is an attractive, flexible and cost-efficient alternative to using natural stone.

Stone cladding is made from reconstituted stone that is cast in molds, and this means that it is far lighter than natural stone. It also makes stone cladding a good deal cheaper to instal. In addition, there are a wide variety of styles and colours of stone cladding on offer, meaning that you can choose a colour, look and style that precisely matches your design concept.

During the stone veneer manufacturing process a base color is mixed and blended into the reconstituted stone, which means the color is an integral part of the finished product. This also means that, like natural stone, color changes or fading are minimal and so exposure to the elements will not significantly alter the appearance of your stone cladding, even after many years. Another advantage is that during the manufacturing process the coloring of your stone cladding can be customized to complement your decor and the overall look of your home.

Stone cladding can be applied to any clean, structurally sound wall or surface, including brick or plastered walls, masonry or cement, plywood, wallboards and paneling. Furthermore, as it is much lighter than natural stone, there is no need for additional foundations or for other structural alterations, meaning that stone cladding is a good deal easier and cheaper to install. Likewise, stone veneer’s light weight also means that it adheres easily to almost any surface, so you can achieve the look you’re after in areas of your home where it might not be possible to use natural stone.

As stone veneer is handcrafted, most patterns and designs will include prefabricated corner pieces so your stone cladding can be easily installed around corners, meaning you can achieve a unified look without color or texture variation. It also means that the installation process is relatively quick and straightforward, as the prefabricated pieces are designed and made to be applied in a specific pattern.

Stone veneer is highly durable and minimal maintenance is required. Washing the stone to remove any dirt or debris occasionally is all that is required. If you are using it indoors, spillages are easily cleaned away and stone cladding doesn’t stain. In addition, stone veneer is non-combustible and so is both an attractive and practical solution for a fireplace surround. It is also extremely resilient, meaning that it can take a good deal of wear and tear, making it ideal for installation in a busy family or living room.

There are many advantages to installing handmade stone veneer – its ease of installation, low maintenance, durability and the wide variety of colors and styles available means that stone cladding will enhance the design and look of your home both inside and out, and at a fraction of the cost of installing natural stone. It’s a great choice for either a new house or a renovation project and can be adapted to suit any kind of design concept or style.

Staff Writer (2012 August 17) Handmade Stone Veneer – A Great Choice Inside And Out Retrieved on January 24, 2014 From cadoganandhall

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