Evaluation and Repair of Thin Brick Veneer Facades

March 30, 2010
Publication: Journal of ASTM International
Author(s): Carolyn Searls Janelle L. Leafblad

Thin brick veneer is an exterior cladding system of brick from 3/8 to 3/4 in. thick attached to a substrate, used to imitate standard size brick veneer walls. There are three basic types of adhered installations with many variations within each type: brick precast into panels, panelized wall systems, and site-adhered thin brick. The most widely used system is thin brick site-adhered to exterior cement plaster or concrete walls with a bonding mortar, often with open joints. Building codes provide little guidance for adhered veneer. We have observed debonding of individual brick units, debonding of brick panels, cracking and spelling of brick due to corrosion of underlying elements, and water leakage. Repairs to thin brick veneer systems often consist of testing for loose brick units, removing and re-adhering brick units, and pointing the joints between brick units. The objectives of this paper are to review available construction systems using adhered thin brick veneer, codes and standards, discuss our experience in investigating failures of these systems, and present our recommendations for repairs and for new construction.