How to install brick veneer
Brick veneer provides the same beauty and appearance as traditional bricks, but it is actually more durable, is easier to repair and provides better insulation. Plus, brick veneer generally costs far less than solid brick. Here is how to install brick veneer.
There are basically two types of brick veneer: anchored and adhered.
An anchored brick veneer is a non-loadbearing façade that is supported by a foundation and attached to the wall sheathing by anchors fastened to studs or embedded within masonry. Behind the veneer, an air space and water-resistant barrier direct water downward to the flashing and weeps, which allows circulating air to dry out any remaining moisture. This provides an effective drainage wall system.
Thin-brick adhered veneer is attached to and supported by the backing wall or framing with lath and plaster, adhesive or a proprietary clip system. A water-resistive barrier is typically applied to wood-framed substrate walls to separate the veneer from the wood components. The mortar behind the brick and in the mortar grout joints creates a barrier system to manage water.
Guidelines for how to install brick veneer
Proper design and detailing of brick veneer is essential to achieving durable performance. Before beginning to install brick veneer, you must factor in how to support the weight of the veneer, possible attachment methods, allowing for drainage and movement, and detailing openings, including doors and windows. Always check building codes and local code enforcement offices, as there may be restrictions, such as height and weight limitations for anchored brick veneer applications.
Ideally, brick veneers should be supported directly on either existing or new concrete foundation footings. If that is not an option, the veneers can be supported by steel angles anchored to concrete or masonry foundations of sufficient strength. Keep in mind that the recommended type and spacing of anchors used to attach steel angles can vary according to local building codes and type of veneer.
To install brick veneer, flashing details are crucial with either type of veneer system. Install continuous flashing at the bottom of the air space and above grade. Install flashing at the heads and sills of all openings. Locate weeps at the head joints immediately above all flashing – spacing of weeps varies by type of veneer and weep system.
Provisions for movement due to temperature, moisture, shrinkage and creep are not typically an issue with small buildings, such as a one-story ranch home. Larger structures, such as commercial buildings, may require flexible anchorage, joint reinforcement, bond breaks and sealants.