What Is Brick Veneer
Brick Veneer

What Is Brick Veneer


What Is Brick Veneer: Brick veneer is a time-tested architectural technique that combines the timeless appeal of brick with the efficiency and versatility of modern construction. In this comprehensive exploration of brick veneer, we delve into the intricacies of this construction method, its applications, benefits, and the vital role it plays in the world of architecture and design.

Brick veneer represents a fusion of tradition and innovation, offering a wealth of aesthetic possibilities while addressing contemporary construction challenges. Whether you’re a homeowner considering a renovation, an architect exploring design options, or simply curious about the world of construction, this guide will provide valuable insights into the art and science of red brick veneer.

As we embark on this journey, we’ll uncover the fundamentals of brick veneer, its structural significance, and its diverse applications in both residential and commercial construction. We’ll also explore the advantages it offers in terms of insulation, durability, and sustainability, making it a compelling choice for modern builders.

Join us as we peel back the layers of brick veneer, revealing its history, techniques, and the myriad ways in which it continues to shape the architectural landscape. Whether you’re seeking inspiration for your next project or aiming to gain a deeper understanding of construction methods, our exploration of brick veneer promises to be both informative and captivating.

What Is Brick Veneer

What is difference between brick and brick veneer?

The biggest difference between brick veneer and solid brick is the main building support. Solid masonry is the structural support of the building. With brick veneer, the structural support comes from the concrete, steel, or wood that makes up the backup wall, and the brick is on the exterior for aesthetic purposes.

Brick and brick veneer are related building materials, but they differ significantly in their construction, purpose, and application:

Composition and Thickness

The fundamental distinction lies in their composition and thickness. Traditional bricks are solid, full-sized masonry units typically measuring 2.25 to 2.75 inches thick. In contrast, brick veneer consists of thin, non-structural clay or concrete bricks, usually around 1 inch thick. The primary purpose of brick veneer is to provide an exterior finish rather than structural support.

Construction Method

Full bricks are used as load-bearing elements in the construction of walls, meaning they carry the weight of the building. In contrast, brick veneer is applied as a decorative or protective layer over other wall materials, such as wood framing or concrete block. It does not bear the structural load of the building but instead serves as an aesthetic and weather-resistant covering.


Traditional brick walls provide some degree of thermal insulation due to their thickness, but they are not as energy-efficient as modern insulation materials. Brick veneer, on the other hand, can incorporate insulation between the veneer and the underlying wall, improving energy efficiency.


Brick veneer is generally more cost-effective than traditional brick construction because it requires fewer bricks and less labor. It provides the appearance of brick without the expense of building a full brick wall.


Both brick and brick veneer are durable and low-maintenance materials. However, in the case of damage or deterioration, repairing or replacing a brick veneer is more straightforward and cost-effective than full brick replacement.


Brick veneer offers a wide range of design options and veneer patterns, allowing for versatility in creating different architectural styles and appearances. Traditional bricks come in various textures and colors but may offer fewer design possibilities.

In summary, the main difference between brick and brick veneer lies in their thickness, structural role, and cost-effectiveness. Brick serves as a load-bearing element, while brick veneer is a decorative, non-structural facing material that provides the appearance of brick while offering flexibility in design and construction.

Is brick veneer real brick?

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.

Yes, brick veneer is composed of real bricks, but these bricks are thinner and serve a different purpose than traditional full-sized bricks. Brick veneer consists of individual clay or concrete bricks, typically around 1 inch thick, which are used as a decorative and protective layer applied over the exterior of a building. These veneer bricks have the same aesthetic qualities as traditional bricks, including color, texture, and appearance.

Bricks veneer is manufactured in a way that allows it to emulate the look of full bricks while offering benefits such as cost-effectiveness and versatility in design. While the veneer bricks are real and exhibit the characteristics of conventional bricks, they do not function as load-bearing elements in a building’s structure. Instead, they serve as a façade to enhance the appearance and weather resistance of the building’s exterior.

So, in essence, brick veneer is indeed real brick, but it differs in thickness, application, and function compared to full-sized bricks used for structural purposes.

What does brick veneer do?

Bricks veneer is a method of construction where a property of either a wooden or steel frame is concealed with a single layer of bricks as the exterior layer. It offers the same look as double brick, however if the bricks were to be removed the structure of the house would still stand.

Bricks veneer serves several important functions in building construction:

Aesthetic Appeal

One of the primary purposes of bricks veneer is to enhance the visual appearance of a building. It provides the timeless, classic look of brick, adding charm and character to the exterior façade. Brick veneer comes in various colors, textures, and patterns, allowing architects and builders to achieve specific design aesthetics.

Weather Protection

Bricks veneer acts as a protective barrier against the elements, including rain, wind, and temperature fluctuations. It shields the underlying wall materials from moisture and helps maintain a comfortable and stable indoor environment.


Bricks veneer can incorporate insulation materials between the veneer and the underlying wall, contributing to the building’s energy efficiency. This added insulation helps regulate indoor temperatures, reducing heating and cooling costs.


Bricks veneer is a durable material that resists wear and tear, making it a long-lasting choice for building exteriors. It requires minimal maintenance and retains its appearance over time.

Fire Resistance

Bricks veneer provides an added layer of fire resistance to the building envelope. Brick is non-combustible, and its use can enhance the fire safety of a structure.


Bricks veneer is versatile in design, allowing for various patterns, colors, and textures to create unique architectural styles. It can be used in both residential and commercial construction.


Compared to full bricks construction, bricks veneer is often more cost-effective. It offers the aesthetic benefits of brick at a lower cost because it uses fewer bricks and requires less labor.

In summary, bricks veneer is a multi-functional building material that enhances the appearance, weather resistance, insulation, and durability of a building while providing cost-effective options for achieving a bricks finish.

Is bricks veneer cheaper?

Bricks veneer is a more cost-effective way to get the look and feel of solid bricks. On average, you can expect to pay $4.00 to $10.00 per square foot. Since brick veneer is much easier to install than solid bricks, you can also bypass the cost of hiring a mason.

Yes, bricks veneer is typically cheaper than full bricks construction. Several factors contribute to the cost-effectiveness of bricks veneer:

Material Savings

Bricks veneer uses thinner bricks, typically around 1 inch thick, compared to full-sized bricks that are 2.25 to 2.75 inches thick. This results in material savings, as fewer bricks are needed to cover the same area.

Labor Costs

The installation of bricks veneer is generally less labor-intensive than full bricks construction. Veneer bricks are applied as a façade over other wall materials, such as wood framing or concrete block, reducing the time and labor required for construction.

Foundation Requirements

Brick veneer does not impose the same structural load on the foundation as full bricks construction. This can lead to cost savings in foundation design and construction.

Design Flexibility

Bricks veneer offers design flexibility, allowing for various patterns and configurations. This flexibility can result in cost savings by accommodating different architectural styles and preferences without the need for custom brick sizes.

Insulation Options

Bricks veneer can incorporate insulation materials, contributing to energy efficiency and potentially reducing long-term heating and cooling costs.

Maintenance Costs

While both bricks veneer and full bricks are low-maintenance materials, repairing or replacing damaged veneer is typically more cost-effective than addressing issues with full bricks walls.

It’s important to note that the actual cost savings with bricks veneer can vary depending on factors such as the specific design, the choice of veneer bricks, and regional labor and material costs. However, for many builders and homeowners, bricks veneer offers an attractive balance between cost and the aesthetic appeal of bricks exteriors.

Is bricks veneer waterproof?

Answer: When determining the proper WRB for behind a bricks veneer the first thing to realize is that bricks is not a waterproof product.

Bricks veneer is not inherently waterproof, but it does offer some level of water resistance when properly installed and maintained. The water resistance of bricks veneer primarily depends on factors such as the type of bricks used, the construction techniques employed, and the presence of moisture management systems.

Here are key considerations regarding the waterproofing of bricks veneer:

Bricks Characteristics

The type of bricks used for veneer can influence its water resistance. Fired clay bricks are naturally porous and can absorb moisture. To enhance water resistance, bricks can be treated with sealants or coatings.


Proper installation is crucial for preventing water infiltration. A drainage cavity or air gap between the bricks veneer and the underlying wall serves as a moisture barrier. Weep holes or vents near the base of the wall allow any trapped moisture to escape.


The use of flashings, particularly at critical points such as windows, doors, and rooflines, is essential to redirect water away from the veneer and protect the underlying structure.

Weather-Resistant Barriers

A weather-resistant barrier, such as building wrap or housewrap, is often installed beneath the bricks veneer to provide an additional layer of protection against moisture penetration.


Mortar joints between the bricks can be sealed to further enhance water resistance. Sealants prevent water from seeping into the joints and causing damage.


Regular maintenance, including inspecting and repairing any damaged mortar joints or sealants, is essential to ensure the long-term water resistance of bricks veneer.

While bricks veneer can provide some resistance to water, it is not completely waterproof. To maintain its effectiveness in protecting the underlying structure from moisture damage, proper construction techniques, materials, and ongoing maintenance are essential.

Is veneer bricks strong?

The durability of a bricks veneer home will depend largely on the material with which the home is built—and the single wythe is more susceptible to earthquakes and other environmental factors than a solid bricks structure with at least two wythes.

Veneer bricks, while not as strong as full-sized bricks used in load-bearing walls, is still a durable and structurally sound building material. It offers several advantages in terms of strength and performance:

Adequate Strength for Its Purpose

Veneer bricks are designed and manufactured to meet the structural requirements of being an exterior facing material. They possess sufficient strength to support their own weight when applied as a decorative and protective layer over other wall materials.

Structural Support

It’s important to note that veneer bricks do not serve as load-bearing elements in a building’s structural framework. Instead, they are applied as a façade or cladding over wood framing, concrete block, or other supporting materials. The underlying structure bears the load of the building.

Resistance to Weathering

Veneer bricks are resistant to weathering, including exposure to rain, snow, wind, and temperature fluctuations. They maintain their structural integrity and appearance over time.


Veneer bricks are durable and can withstand the effects of normal wear and tear. They are not susceptible to rot, decay, or insect damage, contributing to their long lifespan.

Low Maintenance

Veneer brick requires minimal maintenance to retain its strength and appearance. Periodic inspections and repairs of mortar joints may be necessary, but this is relatively straightforward and cost-effective.


Veneer brick is versatile in design, allowing for various patterns, colors, and textures. This versatility contributes to its strength in architectural aesthetics.

In conclusion, veneer brick is sturdy and suitable for ornamental and protective external cladding, but it cannot carry as much load as full-sized bricks. Veneer brick can survive environmental elements and beautify structures if properly built and maintained.

What is the life of brick veneer?

A brick veneer house can last 50-100 years if made with the best quality material. Its lifespan does depend on the quality of the brick. As brick veneer is thin sheets of brick, they are expected to be less durable than solid brick. Bricks are porous, meaning they’re able to absorb water.

The lifespan of brick veneer can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of materials, the installation method, maintenance practices, and environmental conditions. However, when properly installed and maintained, brick veneer can last for decades, if not longer.

Here are key considerations that influence the life expectancy of brick veneer:

Quality of Materials

The quality of the veneer bricks, mortar, and other components used in the installation can significantly impact longevity. High-quality materials are less likely to deteriorate over time.

Proper Installation

Correct installation techniques, including the use of appropriate flashings, weep holes, and moisture management systems, are essential for extending the life of brick veneer. Improper installation can lead to premature deterioration.

Weather and Climate

The climate and environmental conditions in the location of the building can affect the lifespan of brick veneer. Extreme weather, such as heavy rainfall, freezing temperatures, or exposure to saltwater, can accelerate wear and tear.


Regular maintenance, including inspecting and repairing damaged mortar joints, resealing sealants, and addressing any signs of moisture infiltration, is critical for preserving the life of brick veneer.

Supporting Structure

The condition of the underlying wall or supporting structure can also impact the longevity of brick veneer. A stable and well-maintained structure provides a solid foundation for the veneer.

Exposure to Environmental Factors

Buildings located in areas prone to pollution, corrosive substances, or excessive moisture may experience a shorter lifespan for brick veneer.

In general, well-maintained brick veneer can last 50 years or more, with some structures exceeding a century in age without significant issues. Regular inspections and timely repairs are key to extending the life of brick veneer and ensuring its continued durability and aesthetic appeal.

Does brick veneer crack?

Over time foundation settling also leads to inevitable cracks in your brick veneer. Since cracking is common, you might find it necessary to make superficial foundation repairs, depending on where the brick veneer is located. However, it is possible to repair the exterior brick veneer on your own.

Yes, like any masonry material, brick veneer can develop cracks over time due to various factors. However, the occurrence and severity of cracks can be minimized with proper installation, design considerations, and maintenance practices. Here are some factors to consider regarding cracks in brick veneer:

Structural Movement

Cracks in brick veneer can be caused by the natural settling and movement of a building’s foundation and structure. These movements can transmit stress to the veneer, leading to cracks.

Weather and Temperature Changes

Exposure to extreme weather conditions, such as freeze-thaw cycles or rapid temperature fluctuations, can cause expansion and contraction of the bricks and mortar, potentially resulting in cracks.

Inadequate Expansion Joints

Expansion joints or control joints are designed to accommodate the movement of masonry materials and reduce the likelihood of cracking. Improperly spaced or absent expansion joints can increase the risk of cracks.

Moisture Infiltration

Moisture can weaken the mortar and bricks, making them more susceptible to cracking. Proper moisture management systems, including flashings and weep holes, can help prevent this issue.

Structural Issues

If the underlying wall or supporting structure experiences settling or damage, it can transfer stress to the veneer, leading to cracks.

Lack of Maintenance

Cracks can result from neglected maintenance, such as not repairing mortar joints or fixing moisture issues.

Brick veneer cracks are ugly but may not signal a structural problem. Repointing, which replaces mortar joints, can fix smaller fissures. Fix cracks immediately to avoid water intrusion, which can worsen the problem.

Design, installation, and maintenance can reduce brick veneer cracking, extending its lifespan and structural integrity. Using flexible sealants and expansion joints during installation can help prevent structural movement and environmental cracks.

What Is Brick Veneer


Bricks veneer stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of bricks in the world of construction. It marries the timeless charm of brick with the efficiency and adaptability required by contemporary building practices. Throughout this journey, we’ve witnessed the versatility, structural significance, and aesthetic appeal that bricks veneer brings to architectural projects.

Brick veneer is used in residential, commercial, and historic preservation projects. Its significance in insulation, durability, and sustainability makes it relevant in modern building.

As we examine brick veneer, we see that it bridges history with innovation, allowing architects and builders to create beautiful and functional structures. Brick veneer will continue to embellish architecture.

As a homeowner, architect, or enthusiast, this exploration of brick veneer can inspire and show you how artistry and workmanship impact the built world. Brick veneer continues to tell its tale in every brick-laid wall and elegantly veneered facade.