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Community and Q&A

Brick veneer

John Nooncaster | Posted in General Questions on

In my area, brick veneer is a common sometimes required exterior finish.

What effect does the brick have on the energy efficiency of the building? It is an external uninsulated thermal mass.

Would it cause you to eliminate from consideration any particular construction material such as sips or icf?

My area is zone 4 in a mixed humid climate.



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  1. Riversong | | #1

    Brick cladding has little to no effect on energy efficiency, since it requires an air gap for drainage between it and the sheathing. But brick that does not have a good drainage path behind it with open weep holes can be the source of a great deal of water vapor diffusion inward after a rain when the sun shines on the walls.

    Any building system can be used as long as there is a secure attachment for brick ties and a capillary break and drainage path.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Brick veneer is a type of siding. As Robert explained, it doesn't affect the energy performance of your walls one way or another.

    It's certainly possible to install brick veneer over ICF or SIP walls, although there are cheaper ways to build a high-performance wall.

  3. John Nooncaster | | #3

    Could you expound upon your last statement:
    "...although there are cheaper ways to build a high-performance wall."

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    It's cheaper to install brick veneer over a conventional framed wall than over a SIP or ICF wall.

    You can build a conventional frame wall to have as high an R-value as you want, by either making it thicker (for example, using two rows of 2x4 studs) or by adding as much rigid exterior foam sheathing as you want. Either method of construction is cheaper than a SIP or ICF wall.

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