Brick is one of the more popular materials for home exterior and interior applications. Its versatility and classic look are a few reasons why it’s such a popular choice, but the benefits don’t stop there. While solid clay brick has been a reliable building material for hundreds of years, masonry brick veneer is becoming an even more popular choice among homeowners and contractors alike due to its unique advantages.  

In this piece, we will share the major differences between full sized clay brick compared to concrete masonry brick veneer.

The Differences Between Solid Clay Brick vs. Masonry Brick Veneer 

Clay Brick vs. Concrete Brick Image  


Full-size clay bricks (solid brick) and masonry brick veneer (concrete) have several key differences. These may sway your decision depending on your priorities.

Traditional full-sized, solid bricks are made of clay and fired in a kiln while thin, brick masonry veneer like Creative Mines is made of lightweight aggregates, cement, natural pozzolan, permanent color oxides, and water.

Full-size clay bricks are larger than thin brick masonry veneers, with dimensions of about 8 inches x 4 inches x 2.25 inches. In comparison, thin,  brick veneer is typically around 8 inches x 2.25 inches x 0.625 to 0.75 inches.

Due to their larger size, clay bricks are also much heavier than concrete thin brick veneer. Full-size bricks weigh around 5 pounds each and thin brick veneer weighs about 5 pounds per square foot. This weight difference plays a big part in the structural integrity of a structure so make sure to take note of this weight difference when making your choice.

Another key differentiator between solid and brick veneer is installation. Solid brick requires mortar beds to hold the brick in place then various tools to keep the installation properly aligned and set correctly. Often a learned skill, clay brick is left to trained professionals with the experience and knowledge for the job. Brick veneer, however, is a more approachable installation because it’s not load-bearing and can be installed with approved bonding mortars — easing the process for more general labor.

Masonry Brick Veneer vs. Clay Brick Veneer
Thin brick veneer can be made of concrete or clay. Concrete brick veneer and clay brick veneer are two popular options for exterior cladding when compared to full-sized, solid clay brick.

This chart shows the advantages of Creative Mines’ brick masonry veneer vs. clay brick veneer. 

This chart shows the differences between Creative Mines’ brick and traditional clay brick.

Concrete brick veneer is more durable than clay brick veneer. Concrete is resistant to weathering and is less likely to crack or chip over time than clay brick veneer. This durability difference may also impact the maintenance cost needed in the long term.

Design Versatility
Concrete brick veneer is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors to give designers and architects more design options than clay brick veneer. If you’re looking to find brick to match your specific design aesthetic, then concrete brick may be a better option than clay brick veneer.

Concrete brick veneer weighs less than clay brick veneer, which makes it quicker and easier to install. This also means that less structural support is required, which will reduce construction costs and help streamline the build timeline.

Concrete brick veneer requires less maintenance than clay brick veneer. Concrete is less susceptible to moisture absorption and staining than clay.

Which Option is More Green?
Of the two different materials, concrete brick veneer is considered a greener option than clay brick veneer for several reasons, including:

Raw Material Availability
The raw materials used to manufacture concrete brick veneer, include cement, sand and aggregates are widely available and abundant. In contrast, clay bricks require clay and shale, which are not as plentiful. In some manufacturing, production waste is repurposed into material for making new brick units, helping create a closed loop and reduce waste destined for the landfill.

Energy Cost
One of the main differences and advantages is the manufacturing process for concrete brick veneer requires less energy than the manufacturing of clay bricks. Concrete bricks are cured at a lower temperature and for a shorter period of time than clay bricks, which reduces energy consumption by 84%. (see chart below)

This chart shows the carbon dioxide differences between Creative Mines’ brick  veneer and traditional clay brick. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless and non-poisonous gas formed by combustion of carbon and in the respiration of living organisms and is considered a greenhouse gas. Emissions means the release of greenhouse gases and/or their precursors into the atmosphere over a specified area and period of time.

Concrete bricks are easily recyclable and can be crushed and reused as aggregate in new concrete. Clay bricks, on the other hand, are more difficult to recycle and reused. If you’re looking for a more sustainable material for your project then concrete brick veneer should be considered.

Concrete brick veneer is lighter than clay bricks, so they require less fuel to transport. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and lowers the carbon footprint of concrete brick veneer when compared to clay brick veneer.

Concrete brick veneer has a long lifespan and requires minimal maintenance, which reduces the need for replacements over time. This directly translates to a lower environmental impact.

While clay brick veneer has its own set of advantages, such as better thermal and sound insulation, the sustainability benefits of concrete brick veneer make it a greener option overall.

5 Benefits of Creative Mines Masonry Brick Veneer vs. Solid Clay Brick

Creative Mines Pebblecreek Cannery Brick Veneer

1. Durability
Creative Mines brick veneer is a highly durable material that can withstand normal wear and tear in a variety of climates. It requires little-to-no maintenance and has a long lifespan which makes it an ideal option for either interior and exterior design projects.

Creative Mines is able to take this durability aspect to the next level with our industry-leading freeze-thaw durability with 0% degradation. Along with 3800 PSI compressive strength and superior resistance to moisture intrusion and unsightly efflorescence, your brick can stand the test of time.

2. Low Maintenance
We’ve already touched on this above, but going with brick veneer means less maintenance. No need to spend time and energy painting or staining- It’s easy to clean, simple to maintain and more cost-effective in the long run when compared to solid brick. And with Creative Mines 50-year limited warranty you can rest assured your project will stand the test of time.  

3. Cost-Effective
Speaking of cost-effectiveness, did we mention that brick veneer is highly affordable? It’s the perfect material option for creating the classic look of brick without the added expense of solid brick installation. It’s also much more energy efficient which saves you money on energy costs. Manufactured Stone & Brick Veneer also has a proven track record of 102% ROI for remodeling projects when compared to other material options, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value report. 

4. Versatility
At Creative Mines, our brick veneer also comes in various colors, textures and styles. As a result, there’s something for everyone to match any aesthetic. Our exquisite brick masonry veneer collection can elevate almost any interior or exterior design style without having to worry about a total home redesign. As pioneers in the space, the term “Paintgrade” brick veneer has origins in our team. It means exactly what it sounds like — our Paintgrade product line is ready for paint so your imagination is the only limit when it comes to color.

5. Extra Square Footage
If you’re looking for ways to add style to your home without taking up space, brick veneer is the perfect alternative. Solid brick takes up a lot of space, which ultimately lowers the square footage in your home. Brick veneer, on the other hand, takes up little to no room, which allows you to maintain some extra square footage for the things that matter most.

Three Brick Veneer Design Ideas to Inspire Your Next Creation
We’ve discussed the benefits of brick veneer and how it can be used inside the home, but when it comes to design, there’s nothing more beneficial than a visual representation. When it comes to versatility, brick veneer offers endless opportunities. From a cutting-edge design, color palettes to classic architecture, veneer is a workhorse!

Here are three luxury brick veneer design ideas from our Creative Mines Paintgrade Brick™ Veneer collection to help inspire your next project:
Backyard entertainment space with outdoor kitchen utilizing white brick veneer siding and white columns supporting dark wooden pergola beams.1. Poolside Décor

If you want to create a beautiful, elegant outdoor area, adding brick veneer accents is an easy way to bring luxurious harmony to any space. This poolside entertainment and open bar is covered top-to-bottom with white brick veneer, and the results are stunning.
This living room design features four chairs, house plants, a tan coffee table and a white brick veneer fireplace with a television mounted to it.2. Elevate Your Living Space

Craftsman brick veneer isn’t limited to outdoor spaces. Some might argue that brick veneer is the perfect material for creating a beautiful accent wall in your home. That’s undoubtedly what the designer of this home did when they created a smooth brick veneer backdrop for this entertainment space. The unique textures and colors are able to add so much character to a space without having to change the layout with other redesign options that might take up more space.
Kitchen interior with accent wall of white brick veneer studded with oversized windows.3. Redefine Your Backsplash

Forget your old backsplash, reimagine your kitchen area by utilizing a brick veneer accent wall instead. Since the masonry brick veneer is thin, it can make for the ideal material for a backsplash in kitchens.  

Choosing between solid brick and brick masonry veneer for your home may seem challenging, but the choice is simple when you look at the pros and cons of the two materials side-by-side. Brick masonry veneer is more energy-efficient, cost-effective, durable and design versatile than solid clay brick, making it a perfect choice for any aesthetic vision.

If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your interior and exterior design aesthetic, explore Creative Mines exquisite collection of brick masonry veneer offerings. We offer a wide range of textures, sizes and colors to meet any style. The pioneers at Creative Mines are experts in the stone and masonry veneer space and we pride ourselves on engineering and delivering the exceptional. Check out our complete collection or become a believer by ordering a sample of our brick veneer today.