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What Is An Exterior Brick Veneer Panel?

Architects can work with project managers to specify one of many different types of installation methods that are available for thin brick. Architects know that exterior brick veneer panels are a cost-effective and labor-saving alternative to full-sized bricks. But what they might not know is that when authentic, high-quality brick veneers are selected, these “thin bricks” look and perform exactly like full-sized bricks because they are made from the same materials using the same methods as any high-quality brick.

Thin brick or “brick veneer” is real brick. Unlike faux brick products, which can be made of polyurethane, concrete, or vinyl, thin brick is an actual brick that has been manufactured or cut in thin sections — typically 3/8″ to 1″ thick, making them lighter and easier to install than traditional bricks — whether using a field-applied method or panel method.

Thin Brick Field Applied Wall Panels

Exterior Brick Veneer Panels

The exterior wall system of a building plays a critical role in its lifecycle cost and overall performance. When a brick facade is desired, an exterior brick veneer panel or a thin brick wall system can offer a balance of authentic appearance, performance, sustainability, and cost, compared to full-brick installations.

Thin brick systems are made up of real brick that has been sliced into thin veneers. This makes them much lighter and easier to install than traditional brick walls, while still providing the same durability and aesthetic appeal. Thin brick systems can be installed on a variety of surfaces, including concrete, masonry, and wood, making them a versatile option for a wide range of projects. Panel systems fitted with brick veneers are typically assembled at the precast panel manufacturer’s facility, then shipped to the construction site for assembly. Unlike walls incorporating a full brick facade, precast projects with thin brick offer the advantages of faster construction times, less site disturbance, and more energy savings.

METROBRICK® manufactures TBX Grade Architectural thin brick to be used with the following systems: precast concrete panels, tilt-up concrete panels, prefabricated metal panels, field applied systems/applications, and cast-in-place concrete elements.

Here is a summary of some of the methods of exterior brick installation, specifically, for METROBRICK® thin bricks.

Thin Brick And Precast Construction

In precast construction using thin brick, wall components begin with the construction of a form, adding a form liner, then reinforcing the form. Thin bricks are then added to the liner, front side down, and concrete is poured into the form. Once cured, the form is stood upright, the liner is removed and the bricks are washed to clean off any concrete residue.

The METROBRICK® advantage: TBX grade METROBRICK® Thin Brick is designed for the strict size tolerances required to fit into the precast form liners. METROBRICK® is kiln-fired for natural brick performance and appearance. Once installed, a METROBRICK®-embedded wall gives any precast project an authentic brick finish.

Thin Brick Construction Example

Thin Brick And Tilt-Up Construction

METROBRICK® Thin Brick is used by tilt-up contractors to add classic kiln-fired masonry to their tilt-up projects.

Architects know the advantages of tilt-up construction, including cost savings and expedited construction. METROBRICK® thin bricks are the perfect choice for these projects.

The METROBRICK® advantage: METROBRICK® is a TBX Grade Architectural Thin Brick that ensures a snug fit in form liners. METROBRICK® is also available with a waxed surface. Adding wax to METROBRICK® thin brick helps to protect the brick during the tilt-up installation process. All METROBRICK® products meet the standards required for tilt-up construction. In addition, the bricks are tested for efflorescence, chipping, size, warpage, and freeze-thaw and undergo other essential tests to ensure success.

METROBRICK® is available in single-tone colors, range colors, and a choice of textures. METROBRICK® works with architects to develop a custom blend of brick colors to match their vision. METROBRICK®’s choices of multiple textures and sizes are designed to meet the needs of the tilt-up construction industry.

Installing Thin Brick

Thin Brick And Field Applied Mortar Set Method

Field applying thin brick is a popular installation method. With no additional foundation required for thin brick, you can quickly install a brick finish anywhere — in exteriors or interiors.

The field applied mortar/thin-set method is the same method used to install ceramic tile and stone veneer. Variations to the mortar set method depend on the type of substrate used and the climate where the thin brick will be installed, among other considerations.

The METROBRICK® advantage: TBX Grade METROBRICK® Thin Brick is consistent in size and thickness. A METROBRICK® Thin Brick installation creates a classic brick appearance for an accent wall or an entire building. Since METROBRICK® is an authentic kiln-fired brick, it feels and looks like a full-faced traditional brick.

Installing Thin Brick

Thin Brick And Field-Applied Wall Panels

Field-applied wall systems allow an experienced construction crew to install and grout a thin brick wall installation quickly and efficiently. These systems work by mechanically attaching a panel to the wall and attaching the thin brick with a strong adhesive. The mechanically-fastened panels typically have channels to wick away water from the building and ledges to hang or set the bricks on.

There are multiple pre-engineered field-applied systems on the market designed for the installation of thin brick. Both residential building construction and large commercial mixed-use spaces leverage the advantages of METROBRICK® Thin Brick for these projects.

The METROBRICK® advantage: TBX Grade METROBRICK® Thin Brick is designed to be consistent in size and thickness to help ease installation. Once set up and installed, the field-applied wall system gives the project the desired brick aesthetic because METROBRICK® thin brick is authentic brick. Choose from a variety of colors and textures to accentuate the project’s architecture.

Installing Thin Brick
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