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Community and Q&A

Exterior Insulation Above Brick Wall

hertzr | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on


I am planning to reside the second floor of my house in the Baltimore, MD, area to match the siding being used on a new kitchen addition we’re planning. Am wondering if anyone has experience or advice applying exterior insulation on a second floor wall that sits above a traditional brick/masonry wall.

Am mostly worried about the aesthetics – adding insulation to the second floor will add depth to the wall and cause it to sit a few inches proud of the brick wall below it (am hoping for 2 inches of exterior insulation).

Am I overthinking the aesthetics?

Am also considering interior insulation for both floors. We’re not interested in covering the old brick, so the only way we’re considering insulating the first floor (brick) is on the interior —we’d have to do that very carefully on the brick walls, but we could easily repeat the process on the second floor (vinyl).

Many thanks in advance for any advice!


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  1. Expert Member
    Akos | | #1

    You just have to embrace the slight overhang. This is house around me where the main floor had a small jog past the bay window. You can skirt the siding on the 2nd floor and install a band as transition. Not a big fan of mixing black and gray but in this case works reasonably well as it hides the overhang into the shadow.

  2. hertzr | | #2

    Awesome, thank you for the feedback. Have attached a photo of my house.

    Do you think a piece of trim board below the vinyl siding wall would do the trick?

    1. Expert Member
      Akos | | #3

      The horizontal band works when you have one rectangular block sitting above another rectangular block.

      Your place is closer to 1 1/2 story, since you have the gables there already, a slight overhang won't be noticeable.

      I would just install a color matched L-shaped drip edge on the bottom of the new siding. The drip edge should stick out just past the exterior of siding. Since it will be visible, make sure the bottom of it is also painted. The new insulation and siding would sit about 1/4" up from the drip edge. Make sure the bottom of the foam (and rains screen cavity if there is one) is protected, perforated U shaped flashing is the simplest, fine metal mesh can also work in a pinch.

      Your bigger issue will be your gable ends, it doesn't look like there is much of a roof overhang, adding insulation there might be challenging.

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