Brick Veneer Siding: Pros & Cons, Costs, Top Brands, Installation and Repair
Brick veneer siding and/or faux brick siding is a lightweight, more affordable alternative to full brick siding that delivers the look of the real thing. It’s ideal for home renovation because it can be installed over the home’s sheathing in much the same way vinyl or wood siding would be. Prefer stone siding? Read our stone veneer siding guide.
WHAT IS BRICK VENEER SIDING?
Traditional veneer brick siding is made with real clay brick and mortar. However, the brick is just ½” to 1” thick, so it’s a fraction of the weight of full brick. Some manufacturers use reclaimed bricks and cut them thin to get several veneer bricks out of each one. Others simply make veneer bricks out of fresh material such as clay or concrete. And finally, you can also buy what we would call faux brick vinyl siding, vinyl siding molded to give the appearance of real brick; we won’t talk much about that here, you can read up on types of vinyl siding here.
Exterior brick veneer panels are very popular. Each panel consists of several rows (courses) of veneer bricks mounted on a fiberglass mesh backing. The rows are staggered as they are in traditional brick walls. The panels are produced in a factory setting, so assembly is quite fast. This reduces the time it takes to install siding which reduces the overall cost of the material and installation.
Installation starts with a footing at the base of the wall that will support the weight of the brick veneer. While it is much lighter than real brick, brick facade siding still requires additional support to prevent it from settling and cracking. The contractor will check the home’s footing first to see if it extends out far enough to accommodate the veneer, thus eliminating a step in the process and considerable expense.
The next step is to cover the home with a vapor barrier. This is installed because bricks and mortar absorb moisture, and the barrier will prevent it from passing into the home’s structure where it can cause mold and rot.
Wire lath or metal grid is attached to the sheathing and used to hold the adhesive. Whether using individual veneer bricks and mortar or brick veneer panels, the siding is glued to the lath or grid with mastic or other adhesive. In some systems, the individual bricks are snapped into a metal grid, and no adhesive is used.
After the individual veneer bricks or the veneer panels are in place, the spaces between bricks is filled with mortar.
PROS AND CONS OF BRICK VENEER SIDING
There are many good reasons to consider brick veneer vs solid brick or, indeed, other popular types of siding such as wood, stucco or vinyl siding.
Brick veneer advantages:
- Traditional beauty and elegance for any home
- 50+ years durability and home protection
- Low maintenance
- Easier installation than full brick
- Costs 30% to 45% less than full brick
- Much of the brick used is reclaimed brick (used), so it’s a green building material
There are a few drawbacks compared with other siding options.
Brick veneer disadvantages:
- Costs slightly more than wood or fiber cement siding and significantly more than vinyl
- Mortar can crack where vibrations caused by earthquakes/tremors or by heavy-vehicle traffic are common
- Moisture retention in climates with heavy rainfall may cause moisture issues in the home’s framing
BRICK VENEER SIDING COST FOR MATERIAL AND INSTALLATION
We include brick veneer siding prices in our guides to give you the opportunity to compare siding costs head to head on the materials you’re considering.
The total price of a complete job using brick veneer panels will be 10% to 20% less than installing individual bricks because installation costs are significantly reduced.
- Individual veneer bricks: $4.50-$9/sq. ft.
- Brick veneer panels: $7-$15/sq. ft.
- Vapor barrier, grid, adhesive & mortar: $1.25-$3.50/sq. ft.
- Footings: $6-$10/linear ft.
Installing brick veneer siding is a slower process than installing vinyl, wood or fiber cement siding, especially when individual veneer bricks are used instead of panels. Whether single bricks or multi-brick panels, mortar must be added into all the spaces between bricks and then tooled. Consequently, the installation cost is higher:
Brick veneer installation cost: $2.75-$6.00/sq. ft.
WHERE TO BUY BRICK VENEER SIDING
All of the large home improvement chains – Lowes, Menards and The Home Depot—carry good selections of brick veneer siding, both individual bricks and brick veneer panels. Other local building supply stores in your area will have it too. Most stores have in stock a small selection of popular styles and offer many more that can be ordered for delivery within a few days to a few weeks.
The top online retailer is Build Direct. The site has some of the best prices of any retailer to go with an excellent selection of styles and colors. Searching eBay will also yield a number of sellers of individual veneer bricks and brick panels. A few of the brands below sell direct too.
TOP BRICK VENEER SIDING BRANDS
As you shop in stores and online for brick veneer siding, these brands will continue to surface:
Black Bear sells manufactured bricks by the pallet. Black Bear offers a range of colors and styles from antique-looking bricks to contemporary. Prices are also excellent.
Faux Panels offers a good selection of brick veneer panel siding from quite light through rich, classic reds to mixed and dark brick patterns.
Brick It sells thin brick and installation systems. Both new and used bricks that have been cut down to ½” thickness are available. The selection is one of the best, and the site does a good job of categorizing the brick styles to help you visualize what the finished siding will look like. Sample brick panels are available from Brick It, and it makes sense to have a sample in-hand before you commit to any veneer style.
Novabrik is one of the brands sold by Menards. It’s a mortarless product which means that the veneer bricks are snapped into the metal grid rather than fastened with adhesive before the spaces are filled with brick mortar. Prices for individual veneer bricks range from $4.50-$6.00 per square foot.
Z-Brick has been in business since the 1950s making brick veneer for residential and commercial use. Its products are sold at Menards, Lowes, Do-it Best, Ace, True Value and many other retailers.
Tru-Brix manufacturers an appealing color spectrum of brick veneer with style ranging from classic to modern. Installation uses a metal grid system that the veneer bricks snap into without adhesive. The spaces are filled with mortar.
Old Mill thin brick systems are constructed using individual veneer bricks.
Brickweb veneer siding features brick panels of four courses. These brands are featured at home improvement giants Lowes and Home Depot.
BRICK VENEER REPAIR COST
Repairs to brick veneer and mortar are rare in the first decade. After that, mortar might occasionally crack and come loose. Repairs typically involve removing all loose mortar and replacing it with mortar that has been pigmented for the closest color match possible.
Replacing veneer bricks is even less common, but it does make sense to keep an extra box on hand from the initial installation to use in the event that repairs are needed. Most commonly, a brick will need to be reset with adhesive or re-attached to the metal grid, and then the mortar surrounding it can be replaced.
Repairs always cost more than installation because they are more time consuming. For minor jobs, contractors often charge a service fee of $75-$200 to cover their travel and time. For larger jobs, expect repair prices to range from $10-$16 per square foot of siding that needs to be repaired.