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Q: Should I use brick or brick veneer for my home?

A: Made from clay and shale, bricks give a home a uniform look that complements almost every exterior home design. Solid brick is a sturdy long-lasting construction material, and solid brick homes are typically built using two layers of brick, or a concrete block with a layer of brick for the exterior. As a building material, brick is fireproof, durable and can withstand environmental conditions like earthquakes or heavy winds. Brick construction doesn’t require wood, so you won’t have to worry about termites or decay. It’s a low-maintenance material that has excellent color retention. Brick is expensive, however, and for just the materials, you could pay between $6 and $15 per square foot. Factoring professional installation, materials and labor could range between $14 and $30 per square foot.

Brick veneer is a technique that utilizes non-structural materials to create the look and feel of brick. While solid brick homes are built to structurally support a house, brick veneer relies on the house for reinforcement, usually steel and wooden frames. The brick veneer is added as siding. Brick veneer is a more cost-effective way to get the look and feel of solid brick, averaging $4.00 to $10.00 per square foot. Since brick veneer is much easier to install than solid brick, you can also bypass the cost of hiring a mason. Veneer can be added at any point during construction and is a much better insulator, and the air cavities between the brick veneer and exterior of a home will help keep moisture out.

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