What is the possibility of bricking over vinyl on the front of our house? Costs? Is this feasible?

Asked by Kelly Cronin
Doe Run, MO

Front of house is brick and stone. Other 3 sides are vinyl. I prefer brick. Would like to at least brick the North side of the house. Was told this wasn't possible. I dislike vinyl siding but tolerate it. Prefer brick. Any problems since there is a basement? How can it be done as far as the foundation is concerned?



Everything is possible, what may be the deciding factor is aesthetics, execution and cost. In your case there are two foreseeable solutions.

  • The first is installing full modular brick, and
  • the second is installing face brick.

Below is a brief description of the steps necessary to achieve the look you seek.

Modular Brick

Modular brick is full size brick commonly used in construction.  This involves:

  • Removal of all existing siding
  • Removal of window trim and door trim if present
  • Dig around the parameter of the existing home exposing the foundation for inspection prior to installation of a brick ledge
  • Determine weight of brick and engineer a metal angle or channel to be used as the bearing point for the brick
  • To avoid heaving due to frost rigid insulation must be installed below this angle or channel to a depth required by code to avoid frost
  • Install perma-barrier or equal masonry flashing above the angle or channel
  • Finally install the modular brick according the masonry institutes standards.

Face Brick

Face brick is ½” thick brick with a face dimension the same as modular brick. This brick is commonly used in commercial or curtain wall installations where weight is a concern.

  • Removal of all existing siding
  • Removal of window trim and door trim if present
  • Install tar paper of existing wood sheathing if present. If wood sheathing is not present it will need to be installed prior to installation of face brick.
  • Install expanded metal mesh or in some cases cut foam forms which add in the spacing of the face brick
  • Install a mortar scratch coat
  • Install face brick.

For this installation if you intend on carrying the brick down to grade I would recommend that at least 24” of rigid foam is installed below the brick against the foundation wall to the earth (dirt) to expand due to frost in the winter months without forcing the face brick off of the wall.

Proceeding with your project

If you are concerned with aesthetics, I would recommend hiring an architect to aid in the design and if necessary patterning of brick around doors and windows.

They can also observe the existing conditions, determine feasibility and assist you in your decision. The architect can also assist you in acquiring the services of an engineer to determine the proper size and fastening of the angle or channel for modular brick or address concerns regarding existing framing and bearing capacity.

Contact the local masonry institute chapter in your area and inquire to recommendations for qualified local masons to take on your project.


For more information:

Read "Is brick a good option for siding? How green is it?" a Q&A answered by Miriam Landman.

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