Brick Veneer vs Solid Clay Brick: Which is the Smart Choice for Your Home?
Brick veneer is one of the more popular materials for homes and commercial spaces. Its versatility and classic look are a few reasons why it’s such a popular choice, but the benefits don’t stop there. While solid clay brick has been a reliable building material for thousands of years and comes with its own set of advantages, brick veneer offers tempting benefits for both homeowners and contractors alike, especially when it comes from a team of dedicated artisans like Creative Mines.
In this piece, we will share the major differences between concrete brick veneer when compared to full-sized solid clay brick and clay veneer.
The Differences Between Concrete Brick Veneer vs. Solid Clay Brick
Full-size clay bricks (solid brick) and concrete brick veneer have several key differences. These may sway your decision depending on your priorities.
Traditional full-sized, solid bricks are made of clay and fired in a kiln while thin, concrete brick veneer is usually made of cement, water and aggregates. There are also clay brick veneers that we will discuss later in this piece.
Full-size clay bricks are larger than thin, concrete brick veneer, with dimensions of about 8 inches x 4 inches x 2.25 inches. In comparison, thin, concrete brick veneer is typically around 8 inches x 2.25 inches x 0.5 inches.
Due to their larger size, clay bricks are also much heavier than concrete thin brick veneer. Full-size bricks weigh around 5 pounds each and thin brick veneer weighs about 3 pounds per square foot. This weight difference plays a big part in the structural integrity of a structure so make sure to take note of this weight difference when making your choice.
Another key differentiator between solid and veneer is installation. Solid brick requires mortar beds to hold the brick in place then various tools to keep the installation properly aligned and set correctly. Often a learned skill, brick masonry is left to trained professionals with the experience and knowledge for the job. Brick veneer, however, is a more approachable installation because it’s not load-bearing and can be installed with either mortar or commercial-grade adhesives — easing the process for more general labor.
Solid brick is generally more expensive than concrete thin brick veneer with the former costing around $0.70 to $1.50 per brick and the latter costing around $4 to $9 per square foot. Price is typically contingent on region, type and availability of product.
Concrete Brick Veneer vs. Clay Brick Veneer
Thin brick veneer can be made of concrete or clay. Concrete brick veneer and clay brick veneer are two popular options for exterior cladding when compared to full-sized, solid clay brick.
Here are some key differences you should know about concrete brick veneer when compared to clay brick veneer:
Concrete brick veneer is more durable than clay brick veneer. Concrete is resistant to weathering and is less likely to crack or chip over time than clay brick veneer. This durability difference may also impact the maintenance cost needed in the long term.
Concrete brick veneer is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors to give designers and architects more design options than clay brick veneer. If you’re looking to find brick to match your specific design aesthetic, then concrete brick may be a better option than clay brick veneer.
Concrete brick veneer weighs less than clay brick veneer, which makes it quicker and easier to install. This also means that less structural support is required, which will reduce construction costs and help streamline the build timeline.
Concrete brick veneer requires less maintenance than clay brick veneer. Concrete is less susceptible to moisture absorption and staining than clay, and it can be easily cleaned with a pressure washer from normal wear and tear.
Which Option is More Green?
Of the two different materials, concrete brick veneer is considered a greener option than clay brick veneer for several reasons, including:
Raw Material Availability
The raw materials used to manufacture concrete bricks, including cement, sand and aggregates are widely available and abundant. In contrast, clay bricks require clay and shale, which are not as plentiful. In some manufacturing, production waste is repurposed into material for making new brick units, helping create a closed loop and reduce waste destined for the landfill.
The manufacturing process for concrete bricks requires less energy than the manufacturing of clay bricks. Concrete bricks are cured at a lower temperature and for a shorter period of time than clay bricks, which reduces energy consumption. (see chart below)
Concrete bricks are recyclable and can be crushed and reused as aggregate in new concrete. Clay bricks, on the other hand, cannot be easily recycled and reused. If you’re looking for a more sustainable material for your project then concrete brick veneer should be considered.
Concrete bricks are lighter than clay bricks, so they require less fuel to transport. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and lowers the carbon footprint of concrete brick veneer when compared to clay brick veneer.
Concrete brick veneer has a long lifespan and requires minimal maintenance, which reduces the need for replacements over time. This directly translates to a lower environmental impact.
While clay brick veneer has its own set of advantages, such as better thermal and sound insulation, the sustainability benefits of concrete brick veneer make it a greener option overall.
5 Benefits of Brick Veneer vs. Solid Brick
Brick veneer also has many other benefits that make it a better option than the traditional solid brick alternative. If you’re looking for a timeless aesthetic that is also cost-effective and versatile, brick veneer may be a more appealing option for you.
Here are five benefits of choosing brick veneer over full-sized, solid brick:
Brick veneer is a highly durable material that can withstand normal wear and tear in a variety of climates. It requires little-to-no maintenance and has a long lifespan which makes it an ideal option for either interior and exterior design projects.
Creative Mines is able to take this durability aspect to the next level with our industry-leading freeze-thaw durability with 0% degradation. Along with 3800 PSI compressive strength and superior resistance to moisture intrusion and unsightly efflorescence, your brick can stand the test of time.
2. Low Maintenance
We’ve already touched on this above, but going with brick veneer means less maintenance. No need to spend time and energy painting or staining- It’s easy to clean, simple to maintain and more cost-effective in the long run when compared to solid brick. Should you have issues, however, Creative Mines offers a 50-year warranty guarantee on our lineup of brick veneers and a team of experts to help troubleshoot.
Speaking of cost-effectiveness, did we mention that brick veneer is highly affordable? It’s the perfect material option for creating the classic look of brick without the added expense of solid brick installation. It’s also much more energy efficient which saves you money on energy costs. Veneer also has a proven track record of ROI for remodeling projects when compared to other material options.
At Creative Mines, our brick veneer also comes in various colors, textures and styles. As a result, there’s something for everyone to match any aesthetic. Our exquisite brick masonry veneer collection can elevate almost any interior or exterior design style without having to worry about a total home redesign. As pioneers in the space, the term “Paintgrade” brick veneer has origins in our team. It means exactly what it sounds like — our Paintgrade product line is ready for paint so your imagination is the only limit when it comes to color.
5. Extra Square Footage
If you’re looking for ways to add style to your home without taking up space, brick veneer is the perfect alternative. Solid brick takes up a lot of space, which ultimately lowers the square footage in your home. Brick veneer, on the other hand, takes up little to no room, which allows you to maintain some extra square footage for the things that matter most.
3 Luxury Brick Veneer Design Ideas to Inspire Your Next Creation
We’ve discussed the benefits of brick veneer and how it can be used inside the home, but when it comes to design, there’s nothing more beneficial than a visual representation. When it comes to versatility, brick veneer offers endless opportunities. From a cutting-edge design to classic architecture, veneer is a workhorse!
Here are three luxury brick veneer design ideas from our Craft Paintgrade Brick™ collection to help inspire your next project:
1. Poolside Décor
If you want to create a beautiful, elegant outdoor area, adding brick veneer accents is an easy way to bring luxurious harmony to any space. This poolside entertainment and open bar is covered top-to-bottom with white brick veneer, and the results are stunning.
2. Elevate Your Living Space
Craftsman brick veneer isn’t limited to outdoor spaces. Some might argue that brick veneer is the perfect material for creating a beautiful accent wall in your home. That’s undoubtedly what the designer of this home did when they created a smooth brick veneer backdrop for this entertainment space. The unique textures and colors are able to add so much character to a space without having to change the layout with other redesign options that might take up more space.
3. Redefine Your Backsplash
Forget your old backsplash, reimagine your kitchen area by utilizing a brick veneer accent wall instead. Due to the water-resistant quality of brick veneer, it is the ideal material for accent walls in kitchens and bathrooms. Why settle for a tacky backsplash when you can have an accent wall that appeals to the entire space?
Transform Your Home with Brick Veneer from Creative Mines
Choosing between solid brick and brick veneer for your home may seem challenging, but the choice is simple when you look at the pros and cons of the two materials side-by-side. Brick veneer is more energy-efficient, cost-effective, durable and versatile than solid brick, making it a perfect choice for any aesthetic vision.
If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your interior and exterior design aesthetic, put your trust in our team at Creative Mines. We offer a wide range of brick veneer products, ranging in textures, sizes and colors to meet any style. The pioneers at Creative Mines are experts in the stone and masonry veneer space and we pride ourselves on engineering and delivering the exceptional. Check out our complete collection or become a believer by ordering a sample of our brick veneer today.