If the exterior of your steel building needs an upgrade to improve your property's curb appeal, brick veneer provides an attractive and affordable solution. Brick veneer provides the same attractive appearance as brick, but costs thousands of dollars less. Veneer installation typically can be completed much more quickly than conventional brick masonry work, and veneer projects can be accomplished by people with only basic carpentry skills. Below is some helpful information to consider about adding brick veneer to your steel building.
What is the difference between brick and brick veneer?
Brick veneer is a layer covering some other kind of wall construction material behind it. Whereas, a brick wall constitutes the entire wall thickness, and typically is not used to cover another type of exterior wall.
- Brick veneer does not support the building's roof or other parts of the structure. So, the total design weight is much lower. This means that a less costly foundation can be used, which reduces construction cost.
- A brick veneer wall requires weep-holes to prevent moisture accumulation between the inner wall and the veneer from potentially damaging the building frame and/or interior.
On which kinds of buildings can brick veneer be applied?
Using brick veneer in home building and various kinds of commercial construction has long been a very common design approach. And, over the past 50 years, adding brick veneer has become a very popular method of upgrading the exterior appearance of steel buildings. Brick veneer can be installed over:
- Concrete masonry
- Various other kinds of framing materials
How is brick veneer installed on a metal building?
The process for brick veneer application on metal framing is very straightforward and easy to follow.
- Space the steel frame members 16 or 24 inches apart (measuring from the centers of the members).
- Install gypsum wallboard or other waterproof sheathing material as a sublayer.
- Install the brick veneer, leaving a minimum of 2 inches separation between the veneer and the inner wall. (This will inhibit moisture from migrating across the wall structure.)
- Include weep holes (to channel water to the exterior of the wall cavity).
- Use adjustable metal ties to attach the brick veneer to the building frame. NOTE: Do not use the corrugated metal ties that are common in other types of construction. And, use the most corrosion-resistant screws available to fasten the ties to the building frame.
- Fill the space between the frame members with insulation material (fiberglass batting or other).
- Install flashing (at a 45 degree angle) to route water away from the wall.
Benefits of brick veneer on a steel frame?
There are multiple significant benefits for building owners who choose brick veneer exteriors, including:
Low maintenance — Stays beautiful and is virtually maintenance-free.
Energy efficiency — Brick has a high thermal mass, which means that it holds heat, slowly releasing it over time. And, the isolated air space (called the cavity wall) inhibits transmission of heat through the system of combined walls.
Moisture resistance — Resists moisture and helps guard against water damage to the frame. NOTE: Weep holes drain any water that enters the space between the steel inner wall and the veneer exterior.
Fire resistance — High fire resistance rating (just as steel has), which helps prevent fire from spreading. And, it reduces property insurance premiums.
Noise insulation — In very high-noise areas, sound insulation material can be installed in the space between the inner wall and the exterior veneer, to help further reduce vibrations in the building.
Character and warmth — In addition to increasing the structural strength and acoustics of your building, adding brick veneer can transform a steel or concrete building into an exceptionally inviting environment.
Ease of Construction — Brick veneer is lighter in weight than brick. The reduced weight design permits easier, shorter (and therefore less expensive) construction processes.
Keep in Mind
Adding brick veneer hard wall to a steel building affords the property owner an array of benefits, including increased durability, aesthetic appeal, fire resistance, noise reduction, greater energy efficiency, and lower design weight.