It is Brick Veneer! :( What now?

Most people believe the difference between brick and veneer is the thickness of the material. This is not the case. Almost all houses built as ‘brick’ in the last few decades are veneer – even the ones that say, ‘four sides brick’. The word, “veneer” simply means a façade. Brick veneer is a style of construction whereby the structural components of the house don’t rely on the masonry for support, but rely on other mechanisms. You still get the benefit of the masonry insulation, and the appearance, but the structural components of the house likely rest on wood, concrete or aluminum structures rather than the masonry structure.

In the image above, you can see that the material is the full-size masonry. It rests on the foundation. There are lateral ties that hold the wall and masonry together along with an air gap. The air gap allows expansion and water trapped to escape. About every 32 inches there is a small, pencil sized hole for this purpose. In the image above you can see that the material providing structure is a concrete masonry block. It may instead be wood material. In contrast, adhered veneer, on the right, is the thin blocks most people think of when they think veneer.

So, you should not be worried if your inspection comes back, ‘brick veneer.’ Instead, you should ask your inspector if it is anchored veneer, or adhered veneer. Adhered veneer does not provide the insulation properties that anchored veneer does and is not strong. Anchored veneer is fine.