Masonry veneers used on exteriors continue to gain market share in the construction industry. However, more recently, their use is trending inside new residential and business construction because they offer stunning visual appeal and many economic benefits.
In addition, masonry veneer applications can increase home and property values, all while reducing insurance costs due to their high fire and moisture resistance.
There are many ways to incorporate masonry veneers into your next project. Below are several popular ways our company is seeing customers build and renovate with masonry veneers:
Accent Walls: An accent wall can transform the whole look and feel of a home or commercial building by adding a timeless and natural aesthetic at an affordable price
Fireplaces, Chimneys, and Mantels: A fireplace, chimney, or mantel clad with masonry veneers becomes a stand-out feature for any room or gathering space
Kitchen and Bathroom Backsplashes: Utilizing masonry veneers for kitchen or bathroom backsplashes will take these rooms to the next level.
Exceptional Design Freedom: Heralding back to the warehouses and factories of the gilded age, revealing brick veneers inside is an increasingly popular choice for many office spaces and even homes seeking a rugged look.
Full Thickness Stone Veneer
There’s nothing more durable, more natural, or more breathtaking than the beauty of natural stone. There’s something soothing and timeless about natural stone. It’s both elegant and rustic, making a room feel comfortable and grand at the same time. Plus, it’s a perfect fit with you, the homeowner who wants to connect his indoor and outdoor living spaces.
One of the beauty marks of natural stone is the natural cleft face which cannot be copied by man-made products. Natural stone is an elegant yet powerful material which is born deep beneath the earth, and extracted from the side of mountains. During its formation, unique features, characteristics, colors, and patterns emerge in its surface which give each piece a one of a kind personality.
At Johnston Masonry, we have refined and honed our craftsmanship to provide the best possible service around. The result is an impeccable line of custom home exteriors and interiors which are elegant and sophisticated, while retaining the inherent power of real stone for years to come.
Thin Stone Veneer
Thin Stone veneer gives you old world charm without the expense or the hassle. Cut stone veneer products can give both the exterior and the interior of your home that distinctive touch of elegance that it needs. Mortar air vent provides that missing air space in thin stone applications. This does two things — it lets the weather-resistant building paper perform as it was designed by creating an air space on one side of it while providing an avenue for drainage and ventilation. Incidental moisture that is migrating through the wall has a place to exit the building without seeping inside because the weather resistant barrier is performing properly. It has a cavity that drains through the bottom to the exterior, as well as letting air circulate, providing drying on both sides of the wall.
In parts of the country that experience frequent freeze and thaw cycles (Minnesota), hairline cracks in the mortar joints can exacerbate the moisture problem. These hairline cracks allow wind-driven rain to penetrate the mortar and collect within the interior wall. Moisture eventually gets in and of course, causes mold and rot. After installing their product, Mortar air vent, a ventilation cavity is created between the vapor barrier and exterior wall. The polymer core mesh creates airspace, while the filter fabric blocks mortar droppings from seeping into this newly formed cavity — and still allows moisture to pass through. The combination of drainage and ventilation eliminates the threat of toxic mold.
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Versatility of Design & Aesthetic Appeal
Aesthetic appeal and versatility of design have for centuries captured the imagination of architects and builders. Portland cement plaster (stucco) has inspired designers to new levels of artistic expression in a variety of building projects — used alone or in combination with other traditional building materials such as stone, brick or wood. Stucco can be applied to most flat or curved surfaces, inside or outside in any structure or building, lending itself to innovative and creative solutions. Any project can be individualized.
Color & Texture
The finish possibilities are infinite. Stucco is unique among the decorative finishing materials. It can be used to provide highlights, depth and continuity. A nearly unlimited palette of colors that does not require painting is available to provide a uniform, maintenance-free finish for your most lavish designs. Imagination is the only limitation.
Color is determined by selecting cement and aggregate color, and quite often modified by adding mineral oxide pigments to the plaster mix. Texture is achieved by selecting aggregate size, controlling finish mix consistency, and using special treatment techniques during and after application of the finish coat plaster. Texture gives substance and character to the plaster surface — adding highlights, depth, continuity, segmentation, and even achieving the look of a completely different construction material, such as wood timbers, brick, or stone masonry construction.
Stucco is applied either by hand or machine to exterior and interior wall surfaces. It may be applied directly to a solid base such as masonry or concrete walls, or it can be applied to metal lath attached to frame construction, solid masonry, or concrete construction. Applied to metal lath, three coats form a 7/8-inch total thickness. A vapor-permeable, water-resistant building paper separates the plaster and lath from water-sensitive sheathing or framing. Cementitious stucco has high impact resistance and sheds water, but it also breathes, allowing water vapor to escape. It is a proven system that works in all climates.
Stucco is the most inexpensive wall finish by far. Its proven long-term value has been time tested and well documented. Stucco is the most durable and long-lasting wall finish providing years of maintenance-free beauty. Stucco is also easy and inexpensive to repair. Re-stucco of existing buildings easily allows change to the appearance of color and texture, giving new character and variety to old buildings.
Stucco tests high for strength and durability. Stucco also provides protection from extreme weather with minimal maintenance. In fact, in many climates it’s reasonable to expect 50 years of beauty and duty from properly applied stucco. What can cause a stucco application to fail, though, are careless workmanship and skimping on important preparation details. Here are a few key areas where it’s smart to trust Johnston Masonry to do it right.
No amount of lath will make up for structural movement if stucco is applied over an unstable substrate. If there’s any sign of green or wet lumber in the frame, you can be sure there will be problems with your stucco as the wood dries and the building moves.
Fresh cement, clean sand, and clean water are essential. If the Portland cement is old or has been exposed to moisture, it may be partially hydrated. If there are lumps or “rocks” in the sack, throw it away and get fresh cement.
If the sand doesn’t meet ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials, also called ASTM International) specs for plaster, don’t use it. Dirty sand (sand with clay, silt, or excessive fines in it) will make it hard to predict the amount of water required for a workable mix and make quality control difficult. Dirty sand also greatly increases the likelihood of cracking for similar reasons. Excessive salts in the sand makes stucco “bloom” or bleed effloresce.
Papering & Flashing
If there’s one place extra diligence pays off, it’s proper papering and flashing. Carelessness or poor skills are at the root of almost every moisture control problem seen in stucco—or any other siding for that matter. We frequently encounter failed stucco applications where the source of the problem is at windows, doors, utility penetrations, parapets, and corners—or anyplace where paper or flashing was improperly installed.
The paper layer is typically made up of two layers of Type-D asphalt building paper or a weather-resistant barrier like synthetic housewrap for stucco. This, along with appropriate flashing, must be applied in a weatherboard fashion—just like shingles on a roof. If moisture does get behind the stucco—and it will—a barrier installed this way will channel that moisture back out of the building without the water contacting the sheathing or framing
When we explain this on site, we tell the our guys to “think like a raindrop.” It sounds silly, but the answer to any flashing/papering question usually becomes obvious when they do. To check your work, ask yourself, if a raindrop gets in behind the stucco, can it run downward all the way to the ground without hitting the sheathing or framing? If the answer is “yes,” you did it right. Here at Johnston Masonry we understand that each project and application is unique to each home and customer. To determine the best design and use of materials for your job, we listen carefully to your needs and desired goals.
Brick – the Ultimate Green Material
Brick offers superior protection over other wall cladding materials. The story of the Three Little Pigs is just as true today as it was when it was first told children long ago. Research confirms that genuine clay brick provides superior shelter in three major categories:
- Fire Protection. Since the primary ingredient in brick is clay which is fired to around 2000 F, it is a non-combustible material. As such, it is an excellent cladding choice to resist or confine fires.
- High wind protection. Storm shelter- study conducted in September 2004 shows that homes built with brick offer dramatically more protection from wind-blown debris than homes built with vinyl or cement siding
- Superior moisture control. According to a nationally – renowned, independent building products research laboratory, brick veneer wall assemblies control moisture better than wall systems clad with other exterior materials. Therefore, brick veneer wall systems help minimize mold growth, wood rot and infestation by insects, and corrosion of fasteners embedded in wood better than other wall assemblies.
Brick looks better, for far longer and with less maintenance, than other building materials.
Brick offers lasting value. It doesn’t rot, dent, or need to be painted, and it will never tear or be eaten by termites. Its modular units and variety of shapes have resulted in beautiful structures in just about every architectural style, ranging from colonial to Victorian to post-modernist. It is one of the few materials that can actually look better with age. Brick also absorbs noise, giving it an acoustic advantage over other materials – especially helpful in densely populated areas. Maybe this is why readers see ads for “all-brick” houses much more often than ads for “all-vinyl” or “all-EIFS” neighborhoods
Brick is naturally energy-efficient.
Brick is a building material that has exceptional “thermal mass” properties. Thermal mass is the ability of a heavy, dense material to store heat and then slowly release it. For you, this means that during the summer months your brick home stays cool during the hottest part of the day. During the winter, brick walls store your home’s heat and radiate it back to you. Vinyl, aluminum, wood, or EIFS (artificial stucco) are all thin, light building materials that do not have good thermal mass properties. The superior thermal mass qualities of brick have been known for centuries.
The benefits of bricks keep stacking up.
When planning to build a sustainable home and a comfortable life, you have a lot to consider. With their complete range of cost, comfort and style benefits, bricks are the one and only choice.
BRICK IS ENERGY EFFICIENT.
For energy efficient warmth in winter and cool in summer, brick combines perfectly with passive building design to harness natural sources of energy. The natural density and thermal insulating qualities of clay moderate building temperature and reduce energy consumption rates, to provide year round comfort and savings.
BRICK IS LOW MAINTENANCE.
Bricks don’t need paint or other treatments to maintain aesthetics and durability. Even after 50 years they are still strong, reliable and relatively maintenance free, saving you on the cost and time required to upkeep your home, compared to lighter weight materials.
BRICK IS WEATHERPROOF.
The most endearing quality of a brick home is its ability to withstand the test of time, even under the harshest environmental conditions. Forget about painting, sealing or other high cost finishes; brick is weatherproof and with virtually no maintenance, brick’s cost effective, impeccable performance will last a lifetime.
BRICK IS CREATIVE AND COLORFUL.
For creative color and design, think brick. From striking rich chocolate to glorious vintage red, creamy almond or golden light sand, even shiny metallic or smooth pastel palettes, the natural earthy tones of brick provide impressive and lasting color contrast, perfect in any setting.
BRICK IS SECURE, AN INVESTMENT FOR LIFE.
As one of the world’s most sought after and trustworthy sources of sustainable building materials, brick is renown for its strength and secure investment potential. The quality construction, quiet calm and ageless appeal of a solid brick home will protect your family for generations to come.
BRICK IS SUSTAINABLE.
Made from organic minerals found in shale and local, naturally abundant sources of clay; brick’s long-lasting life cycle offers ongoing environmental and health benefits. Durable, re-usable, free from contaminants and naturally resistant to pests or fire, brick is safe to live in, making it the ultimate material in responsible and economical home building design.
BRICK IS THE BUILDING MATERIAL OF CHOICE.
Building with brick is cost effective and easy to work with, and without the need for expensive rendering brick is the original building material of choice. Choose from the traditional, classic and enduring natural elegance of heritage, to the sophistication of cutting edge modern symmetrical design.
STYLE AND DESIGN.
Bricks add distinct style to any type of home. Their natural colors and textures enable you to create striking façade contrasts or more traditional neutral color tones.
By investing in new technology Austral Bricks® have been able to introduce new kiln firing techniques to produce bricks with a variety of surface finishes, exciting colors and different sizes.
The result is a wonderful range of bricks for you to build a stylish, contemporary home.