Q&A / 

Replace Vinyl Siding With Brick

brick veneer

You can install a veneer of brick, stone or other masonry on a house like this, but it's very labor intensive. Buy lottery tickets, lots of them. © 2017 Tim Carter

Replace Vinyl Siding With Brick TIPS

DEAR TIM: My husband and I purchased a house with a crawlspace in the country on 20 acres. I do not like the vinyl siding on the home and would love to replace it with brick. Is it possible to do this? Can I get a solid brick home instead of brick veneer? What is the difference between the two? Debbie F., Swansea, SC

DEAR DEBBIE: You and a boatload of other people may not believe this, but it may be very possible to strip off the vinyl siding and install brick on this house. In fact, I can't think of one obstacle in accomplishing what you want to do other than money.

Depending upon how this home was built, it may be easy or somewhat difficult to modify the foundation so the brick can be installed.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local bricklayers who can install brick veneer.

Solid vs Veneer

Let's first discuss the difference between solid brick and brick veneer. Solid brick or masonry structures use the brick or masonry to support the loads within the walls and any roof loads that bear down on the brick walls. A solid brick or masonry wall in a residential house is often eight-inches thick and sometimes 12-inches thick. The inner layers of the masonry may be brick or they can be concrete masonry units typically called block.

Veneer Non-Structural

A brick veneer home uses one layer of brick that is non-structural. The brick are the first barrier to stop weather from getting inside the home. The roof load doesn't bear down on the brick nor does any weight of the walls just behind the brick transfer itself to the brick. The veneer is almost always just one brick thick.

Tons Of Weight

But just because the brick is only a thin skin, this doesn't mean it is not heavy. What's more, to keep the brick and mortar crack-free for many years, it needs to have a superb foundation underneath it.

Create New Foundation

If this home was built with a typical spread concrete footing that is 16 to 24-inches wide and has a concrete block or poured concrete foundation, the job will be relatively easy. To lay the brick, a four-inch wide concrete block wall needs to be laid next to the existing foundation.

This new foundation will transfer the load of the brick down to the footer.

Angle Iron Solution

It may be possible to thru-bolt a heavy-duty angle iron to the existing foundation to support the brick. This decision can only be made after a residential structural engineer visits your home.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local bricklayers who can install brick veneer.

Slab Homes - UGH!

The job is a little more difficult if your home is built upon a concrete slab. If this is the case, a new spread footing will have to be poured below the frost level in your area and then a foundation wall that supports the brick must be built upon this new footer.

You may have a unique turn-down slab that will allow you to bolt an angle iron onto the vertical side of the slab, but once again, this should only be done under the direction of a structural engineer.

Brick LEAKS!

Be aware that the new brick veneer wall will leak all sorts of water when a driving rain beats against it. For this reason, the builder and mason must install a water barrier on the side wall of the house after you strip the vinyl siding away. This membrane must be installed so that no water can get behind any windows or doors.

Be sure to consult with your local building department before you start any work. There are many building code provisions with respect to installing brick veneer. In addition, there are extra steps a masonry craftsman will take to ensure your home stays bone dry.

Mold Issues

Tens of thousands of homes built with brick veneer have become victims of both mold and wood rot due to improperly installed brickwork. The industry has known for years that brick walls leak water and that water must be collected and re-channeled to the exterior of the house.

Flashings Mission Critical

The way this is accomplished is simple, but requires attention to detail by both the builder and the bricklayers. Special base flashings need to be installed on top of the foundation that lap up behind the water membrane on the walls. This base flashing must be sealed at all overlap joints, inside and outside corners. Weep holes or slots in between the brick on the first row of brick that rest upon the foundation allow water that streams down the back of the wall to escape to the outdoors. This same weep hole detail must be used above all doors and windows.

Flashings must also be placed under brick sills that are found under windows and doors. The vertical joints between these brick often allow vast amounts of water into the brickwork. The flashings collect the water and redirect it immediately to the exterior of the wall just under the sill brick.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local bricklayers who can install brick veneer.

Column 595


10 Responses to Replace Vinyl Siding With Brick

  1. "There are many variables" sounds like "I have no idea". There are not so many variables since cost of materials is rather standard.

    I was quoted $40K for 1600 sq feet of thin brick installation. The price includes labor and material and the cost of removing old wood siding. I have no idea whether this is a reasonable price or not. To hear the price range from the builder who did this job would be very helpful.

    • Oh let's see. How about we list some variables:

      is the lot level?
      how are the brick going to be supported since they would be outside of the foundation line
      who's responsible for flashing all the windows and doors?
      Is there an existing chimney that needs to be incorporated?
      Is there a deck or patio at the house that needs to be dealt with?
      Are there large trees and landscaping that interfere with the setting of scaffolding?

      Should I keep going Inna????

    • That price is pretty reasonable. We install thin brick commercially for between $25-$35/SF, albeit with much higher overhead and safety/insurance requirements. The installs are often +40' in the air as well. For removal of the old I would say the price is fair, especially if this is a GC and not just a handyman or renovation guy.

  2. Aside from looking good, I see no real advantage in having brick veneers...or is there? I'm debating whether or not I should renew the old aluminum sidings or replace it with some sort of veneer. Be it brick or other material. Not a very knowledgeable person when it comes to construction. Any input as to what I should do? By the way great article.

    • I find the idea of the weep holes and water behind the brick a little scary myself, but I will say that one advantage of brick is that it never needs to be painted. It's also a pretty good insulator. You could argue that aluminum siding never needs to be painted, but my dad used to have to wash our aluminum siding every year - otherwise it looked like an old car with dead paint on it Plus, any time we had a hail storm we got dented siding. And, aluminum is about as horrible an insulator as you could possibly find! Personally, if you don't have a house that was built with a brick veneer, I'd be inclined to recommend Hardi Board siding. It's easy to install (contrary to what many people will try to tell you), is available pre-colored, and is similar to brick in many respects (i.e. it doesn't burn, resists denting, doesn't rot, termites won't eat it, etc.). Plus, it retains the original look of a house that was built with siding. Or - if you want a different look, you can get Hardi siding in shingle shapes or sheets for board and batten style siding.

  3. How about a best-case scenario vs worst case price range? Providing no $ guidance makes both provided replies useless. As for me, $40k for replacement would be unacceptable.

    • Ken,

      How do you expect me to deal with the following things when I produced my *range*? Constantly changing material prices? Constantly changing regulations? Constantly changing labor prices? Regional labor prices? Size of home? Style of home? I could go on and on. The scenario I choose to compare may only apply to 3% of the houses out there. And a year later my prices are wrong.

      All you need to do is just go out and get quotes from contractors. CLICK HERE and use my secret Contractor Hiring Hacks to ensure you don't get SCREWED. You can get FREE BIDS on that page as well.

    • I was quoted a range of $10 to $25 per square foot (that's area being aided, not the occupied area of the home) in the Midwest, not including the cost of the structural engineer. The whole range fell outside the increased value of the home so we did not pursue it, but you'd have to determine that for yourself.

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.