Brick masonry walls have been constructed for hundreds of years and are one of the most common masonry structures seen today.
There are primarily 3 different categories of brick structural walls and each one offers unique qualities with individual advantages.
Solid Masonry Walls
These walls stand up holding 2 or more courses of brick throughout the cross sectional detail of the structure. These wall types are held together using a combination of metal ties and header bricks. It’s essential to install the header bricks perpendicular to the plane of the wall in order to create a load-bearing design with positive reinforcement. Today, these solid types of walls remain the most reliable by providing optimal wall thickness combined with high strength mortar bonds throughout the numerous layers of brick. It’s important to invest purchasing top quality materials for a solid wall in order to see substantial longevity over the years to come.
Cavity walls are composed of only 2 outer layers of brick and a 2” – 4” support wall inside the air space separating the inner and outer layer of bricks. The inner support wall may be constructed from poured concrete, CMU block, or another type of brick. Cavity walls are superior at preventing water penetration as the inside air space acts as the water barrier keeping unwanted moisture from deteriorating the surrounding brick and mortar.
Brick Veneer Walls
Lastly, we will cover your standard brick veneer wall. These are typically seen around the exterior walls of wood framed aka “light construction” style homes which are more decorative and not load-bearing. The inside wall consisting of wood or metal studs supports the structure while the outside exterior is covered up with a single course of brick. These brick walls are quickly assembled around a single layer of brick connected with metal ties anchoring the wood sheathing and masonry wall together. The only downside of having a single layer brick exterior remains in the low insulation value. In this case, most builders will apply layers of insulation behind the wood sheathing and inside the framing cavity to allow for adequate insulation.
We highly advise you keep an eye out for the typical warning signs of brick and mortar break down.
Common signs of wall decay include mis-alignment, missing or eroded mortar, loose brick, cracked joints, and mortar joint separation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are experiencing any of the unwanted symptoms listed above. Our team is dedicated to providing you with superior service that meets your expectations and work quality. Please call today to schedule your free on site evaluation.
Hundreds of years ago houses were traditionally built out of solid brick creating a load bearing wall design (also known as double-brick and solid masonry houses). All surrounding brick is essential to the home’s structural support system; if the brick were removed, all other structural systems would certainly fail.
Today, the vast majority of homes across the U.S. are built with a combination of wood framing and a brick veneer exterior (also known as light construction). This design is constructed from wood framing and then covered with insulation, wood sheathing, and a single course of brick along the outside exterior. In this case, the house would remain structurally in place if the exterior brick veneer were to be removed.
Building a solid brick house has many pros compared to a wood frame design and is resistant to many natural disasters including fires, storms, high winds, and heavy rains. The lack of wood framing will prevent any nuisance from termites and wood decay. Also, solid brick houses allow for a sufficient thermal ability as the brick material holds heat that will slowly release over time. This build up of heat allows the surrounding rooms to sustain warmer temperatures during the colder winter months.
It may be best to construct a solid brick house for those living in areas with predominantly colder environments as a brick house will store and release heat giving off warmer temperatures throughout the night. Concrete floors and brick walls provide a better sound insulation as compared to light construction and will block outside noise better than traditional drywall applications.
On the other hand, many builders prefer light construction simply for the benefit of reduced building cost and ease of installation. Solid brick homes are extremely heavy and will need substantial reinforcement along the foundation system compared to the light weight design wood framing will provide. A single layer of brick around the home exterior is relatively easy to construct and the air cavity between the brick and house assist with keeping moisture out, especially if filled with insulation. Solid brick designs may eventually cause moisture leakage as water penetration enters inside the house. Also, wood materials are more abundant and cost less to transport while reducing logistics and transportation cost.
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