Jazz up that Brick with some Stone Veneer
The common brick has been an essential building unit for as long as any living person can remember and played an important part in architecture post the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century when bricks were first able to be made at a low cost. For structural and economic reasons, the common brick has been heavily used in the public, government and private sectors alike. And while it would be preposterous to consider changing the brick facades of historical buildings that have stood the test of time, many people, with a particular focus on residential applications, may now consider brick in certain applications to be aged, dull looking and crying out for change.
A great example of the tired worn out brick look starts with the post war construction boom of the 1950s and 1960s where brick was used extensively in residential building applications, in particular the fireplaces of this era’s homes. As the decades rolled by, subsequent homeowners might have painted the brick or simply left it “as is”, which either way, has left the space blank, boring, and in need of a change. With more modern surface materials we can now cover existing brick in places where a fresh look and design can greatly benefit an aged space where brick is no longer considered aesthetically pleasing, all while leveraging the structural integrity of the existing brick. One economical and popular way to go about this task is to use natural stone veneer over the brick. It’s a fun, simple way to update the surface because stone veneers are offered in so many different colors and it’s also a great way to introduce fresh looks and textures into the space.
Besides getting a great looking new space, probably the biggest benefit to using stone veneer over brick is that it can be a quick and easy process when it comes to prep and installation. To successfully install stone veneer over an existing brick substrate you will want to pay particular attention to your preparation of the brick surface. Be sure the brick is prepped correctly by cleaning the surface completely of any paint, dirt, or oils so that you have a raw, fresh, porous (but not crumbling) surface. You will then want to create a smooth and level surface by applying a masonry scratch coat or if your mortar joints are sound and shallow enough (<1/4 inch deep) you can get away with a direct application using a more liberal amount of thinset on the surface. If your brick surface is structurally sound but has been painted, a good option is to apply cement backer board to the brick face and use that as your bonding substrate. Once your substrate is ready, stone veneers, like Norstone’s Rock Panel product, can be installed directly to the cementitious / brick substrate using a tile thinset. Always remember to back butter your veneers with a layer of thinset when installing to ensure 100% adhesion to the substrate.
Leveraging the rapid installation a panel system provides, most DIY installers can turn an old worn out brick fireplace into the centerpiece of a room in about a weekend. So if you are looking for something that will be easy to install, cost effective, and last for as long as you want it to, consider installing stone veneer over an existing brick substrate and enjoy your refreshed space!
Lastly, for a more detailed look at how to install stacked stone over brick, be sure to consult our comprehensive installation guide, or if you’re just looking for a little inspiration for your own project, then grab a cup of coffee and head on over to our exterior stone veneer siding gallery.