What is Thin Brick?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Thin brick is a masonry product consisting of reduced-sized bricks intended for use as a facing or veneer, rather than a structural component. Sometimes thin brick is made from the same materials used in actual brickmaking, while in other instances, manufacturers work with different base supplies. Home supply stores can usually order this product by request, and people can also contact manufacturers directly for bulk or special orders, such as thin brick made to match existing brickwork on a structure.

Thin brick might be used for a structure's facing or veneer.
Thin brick might be used for a structure's facing or veneer.

People use thin brick as a decorative feature on a building. The product is not designed to provide structural support and is designed to be installed in a way that limits stress on the building. Thin brick can be applied like tile, with an adhesive backing and grout, or with the use of anchoring brackets, or using proprietary systems developed by manufacturers. Thin rock is also available; this product is made by cutting stones to a very small size so they can be applied as a veneer.

The look and feel of brick is prized as an architecturally interesting design feature, and many people want brick in their structures or want to renovate old structures while retaining their original brick design components. Building with brick requires skill and in some cases may not be permitted by building codes, as in areas where earthquakes are common and there are worries about brick buildings. This brick product can be a useful solution in situations like these, allowing people to get the look of brick without the expense and associated construction challenges.

This product is not architectural cladding. It doesn't provide water resistance or protection to the structure and is designed to be installed over protective walls. Thin brick can be damaged in bad weather conditions such as heavy storms, where bricks may be torn off and water can seep behind the veneer wall, potentially causing structural problems. Earthquakes can also result in damage to thin brick, although the structure itself may remain intact.

If building with thin brick is an option for a structure, an architect and contractor can discuss it with the owners. This product can be used inside and outside for different types of settings and a range of colors, shapes, and styles are available. If there is a custom need, it may be possible to work out an arrangement with a manufacturer. This can include recycling existing bricks from a structure being remodeled to match color and materials, or developing a custom color for a special purpose.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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