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In addition to its attractive appeal, durability makes brick siding a popular choice. Under normal conditions, brick siding will last the life of the building with little more than an occasional wash with the hose.
Brick siding is generally not a structural part of a house but rather a veneer constructed on the outside. The bricks are held together with a mixture of Portland cement or lime, sand, and water that is referred to as mortar. Water does penetrate brick veneers so it is important that a membrane is installed between the structure and brick veneer.
Although brick siding is considered permanent, masonry does deteriorate, generally at the mortar joints, which are the gaps between bricks that are filled with mortar. Repointing, or pointing--removing and replacing deteriorated mortar from the joints--may be necessary but generally not for many years if installed properly.
Brick allows for the personalization of a home with detailing such as patterns, arches, quoins, and even flowerboxes. Since brick is a three-dimensional product unlike many siding choices, it allows the home to express the personality and style of the homeowner.
The thermal mass qualities of brick have been known for centuries. Thermal mass is the ability of a heavy, dense material to store heat and then slowly release it.
For your home, brick walls mean that in the summer months, the interior stays cool during the day as the heat of the sun is slowly absorbed. By evening the bricks will be warm enough to raise the temperature indoors just as the sun is setting. During winter, brick walls store the heat emerging from inside and can help keep heating costs low.
Brick is a natural building material made from a mix of clay and water and baked until hardened. Clay comes from a variety of sources, and each type of clay produces a unique color in the final brick. Natural coatings, such as limestone and sand, can be added to create various colors, textures, and finishes.
Painting a brick home is absolutely doable with the right preparation, paint, and application process. Latex and Portland cement-base paints work best on bricks but must be applied over a coat of primer suitable to the selected paint. Alkyd, oil-based, epoxy, and rubber paints don't allow vapor to escape and will cause long-term damage.
But before you begin, make sure you really want to paint the bricks. Removing paint from brickwork is difficult, requiring the use of non-steel scrapers, chemical strippers, or professional sandblasting.
Brick can be added to existing homes by building the new wall in front of the existing wall and supporting it with a concrete foundation built upon properly drained earth. Flashing and weep holes will need to be installed to guard against moisture damage. The brick should also have at least an inch of air space between itself and the old siding. Building paper should cover the existing siding. Corrosion-resistant metal anchors should tie the brick to the studs in the existing wall. Joints between brickwork and doors and windows should be sealed with silicone caulk. Insulation may also be added between the walls to increase the total thermal value of the wall.
Brick siding is one of the oldest building materials still in use. The primary reason brick has been so popular is the ease of maintenance. Under normal conditions brick siding will last the life of the house with nothing more than the occasional wash down. Brick does not need painting, doesn't rot, doesn't dent, and is not bothered by termites.
This American foursquare-style home uses several colors of bricks and masonry lintels (above the windows) to create texture and visual interest. The brickwork is precise and uniform with joints between neatly manicured. The thick walls and straight lines are tempered by the use of arched terra-cotta roofing tiles for an overall feeling of strength and permanence.
Adding a basic whitewash to brick siding can create the look of a traditional English cottage. Whitewashing brick is a relatively easy process of painting the whitewash on to the brick's face and wiping away portions so the natural brick shows through and the wash looks as though it's been there for many years. Whitewash for bricks is a mixture of ivory hydrated lime and regular table salt. Adding Portland cement to the whitewash will provide added protection to the bricks and assure that the finish lasts for generations.
Create the fairytale feel of days gone by with rough, uneven placement of bricks, thick walls, and untooled mortar. The old-world style of the brickwork combined with the rounded edges of the roofline and hand-cut, wavy patterning of the shingles make this rustic gem feel like it has been lifted right from a retelling of Hansel and Gretel.
The painted brick on this Tudor softens the transitions between the masonry and the white, half-timber framed adobe panels. The inclusion of the unpainted stonework adds texture while complementing the earthy feel of painted brick.
The combination of the classic red brick with precise white mortar work, arched passageways and windows, and cream-color adobe with decorative half-timbering trim details creates the feel of a contemporary Tudor.
Mixing unpainted cedar shingles and untreated brickwork helps this home to fit naturally into its forestlike setting. The addition of the white-painted trim ties the earthy colors together and assures that the house does not get lost in the beauty of nature's palette.
Combining unpainted but naturally varying colors of brick with painted brick and lap siding creates visual interest through subtle transitions in texture. The white trim and dark shutters and roofing materials tie the palette together.
The versatility of brick makes it a perfect choice for modern homes. Whether used as accents or for full coverage, it is difficult to beat the shapes, textures, and overall impact that can be created.
The combination of golden bricks and dark brown cedar shakes makes this bungalow stand out. The colors of the brickwork with the white trim and pergola provide an eye-catching departure from the surrounding greenery.
Today, most bricks are made by machine, but some are still created the old-fashioned way--in handcrafted, sand-dusted wooden molds, so no two are exactly alike.
Those old-fashioned bricks give this home the look and feel of the 17th century. Bricks made this way are solid with slight irregularities and softened shapes. They are sand-dusted to help them achieve the color variations and to create the velvety texture. When placed in a wall, the slight variations translate into a subtle elegance that's perfect for a stately mansion or a cozy cottage.
Image provided by boralbricks.com
Love the look of brick? Check out these magnificent homes, many of which feature brick siding in classic colonial style.