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Cladding – mortarless brick vs fiber cement?

I have a question about cladding. I’ve always liked brick, but it’s easy to screw up and moisture management and insulation questions abound. So, I’ve been thinking about fiber cement siding with a rain screen. However, it appears that it’s difficult to put rain screen strapping on over exterior insulation without having bowing, and this tends to telegraph through to the cladding. This leads me to ask about mortarless bricks like Novabrik. If you don’t have mortar and do have a rain screen gap, don’t most of the moisture and insulation issues with brick veneers go away? I’d hate to use an item that shows up on one of Martin’s “Just Say No” lists. [Note: I’m in zone 5.]


Asked by andrew c
Posted Aug 27, 2014 9:38 AM ET


1 Answer

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I find your resistance for brick unfounded. Brick is one of the easiest cladding to install and its almost mistake proof. ANY product, if not installed correctly, it will not performed as intended and it will fail. Having said that, brick has a 1" built-in rain screen, or air space. There is no need to install any rain screen. Any good and experienced brick layer should provide you with good brick cladding, for a lot less cost than fancy products.
FYI, here is some good information for you. You may want to look at their technical writings and detailing - http://www.maconline.org/index.html

Answered by Armando Cobo
Posted Aug 27, 2014 11:29 AM ET

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