Frequently Asked Questions - Homeowners

Cleaning is much easier if care is taken during application to avoid smearing mortar on the faces of the thin brick. Special grout release chemicals may be applied to the brick before the joints are filled to make cleaning easier.

Water may be used to remove much of the adhesive and mortar before they have set. Remove cementitious mortars according to recommended cl eaning procedures for thin brick. Procedures vary due to color and texture. Remove other mortars according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove dried adhesive according to the adhesive manufacturer's instructions. Do not saturate the surface or smear. Never use muriatic acid, wire brushes or other abrasive methods to clean thin brick.

A brick's color can be attributed to its clay composition, any added compounds, its firing temperature and any surface treatments. Because brick is composed of naturally occurring materials, all brick will not necessarily be exactly the same. For this reason, some brick may be of a slightly different color than others in a given batch. Usually, this adds character to a wall, but occasionally it is desired to blend these brick with other brick in the wall. This can be done by individually staining the brick in question.

Staining is a common practice and is usually done by a professional with expertise in its application. The stain itself is a proprietary product made specifically for brick. A local brick supplier in your Yellow Pages should be consulted for a product and professional applicator. Since the surrounding mortar joints must be masked, it is a time consuming process and is usually only done when a limited number of brick are involved. If staining is done properly, it should have no detrimental effect on the bricks and should provide a long lasting finish.

Nothing else can match the classic beauty and elegance of a brick home. Building with brick says, "You have arrived." But there's more to brick than just looks. Brick offers lasting value. It can enhance the resale value of your home by as much as 6 percent. Brick is virtually maintenance free. It doesn't rot, dent, or need to be painted and it won't be eaten by termites. Brick is also energy efficient, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In short, brick offers you a combination of advantages not found in any other siding material. The world's most beautiful and most practical homes are built with brick.

Single-face fireplace dimensions including the firebox depth, width, and height along with the proportionate flue size are given in Technical Notes 19. The Technical Notes address all the necessary features in a brick fireplace and their relationship to one another.  Details are provided in Technical Notes 19A, while proper chimney construction is outlined in Technical Notes 19B.

Brick costs more than some other commonly used siding materials because brick is a premium product, but it's not nearly as expensive as you might think. In many parts of the country, a new brick home will cost you only a small percentage more than a comparable vinyl-sided home. Other products, such as artificial stucco, cost about the same as brick, but are far less durable and require much greater maintenance and upkeep. 

Brick is a building material that has exceptional "thermal mass " properties. Thermal mass is the ability of a heavy, dense material to store heat and then slowly release it. For you, this means that during the summer months your brick home stays cool during the hottest part of the day. During the winter, brick walls store your home's heat and radiate it back to you. Vinyl, aluminum, wood or EIFS (artificial stucco) are all thin, light building materials that don't have good thermal mass properties. The superior thermal mass qualities of brick have been known for centuries. Most notably, the Pueblo Indians in the Southwest used adobe masonry to moderate weather extremes and keep their homes comfortable. 

A brick home is fire resistant, pest resistant and weather resistant. Brick is such a strong and durable building material that your insurance companies may even offer you a discount on your home insurance costs. Check with your agent for more details. 

Brick is not a one-dimensional product like stucco or siding. Brick allows you to personalize the look of your home with elegant detailing, such as arches and quoins, different bond patterns and special shapes. Brick expresses your personality and style like no other building product can. 

Take a look through this Sunday's real estate section of your local newspaper and read the home listings. Notice how people always list brick as a primary selling point. Brick's beauty and practicality are always a plus when you resell. On average, a brick exterior adds 6% to the resale value of your home.

Brick can be added to an existing home. This can be done by adding a nominal three- or four-inch thick brick in front of the wall and supporting it by either the existing footing or on an angle fastened to the existing concrete or block foundation wall. It is important to properly detail the wall by providing flashing and weep holes at all points of support. The area beneath the angle at or below the ground level should have gravel at least six-inches deep to provide good drainage. The brick should also have at least a one-inch air space between itself and the existing siding. Building paper should cover the existing siding unless it is already provided behind the existing siding. Corrosion-resistant metal anchors should tie the brick to the studs in the existing wall. The joint between the brickwork and all doors and windows should be closed with silicone caulk. Insulation may also be added to increase the total thermal value of the wall. For additional information on installing brick on your existing home, see Technical Notes 28A. Another alternative is to use thin brick in panels and attach them directly to wall studs. This may mean removing the existing siding in order to attach the thin brick. Insulation may also be added if desired. For additional information on installing thin brick, see Technical Notes 28C.