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Concrete brick is made from solid concrete. These bricks are used to cover the facade of a home, build fences, and enhance the overall beauty of a home's exterior. Bricks that are made from concrete come in a number of styles and colors making them extremely popular amongst homeowners. Aside from aesthetics, concrete bricks also have many other appealing attributes.
While regular brick does a fine job of insulating a home, concrete brick tends to be a better insulation option. Traffic, airplanes, and other outside noises are effectively muted, thanks to the solid concrete that these bricks are made from. Other benefits of concrete brick include better fire protection, less exterior home maintenance, and lower energy bills.
Bricks that are fashioned from concrete are available in a number of different styles. Consumers can select from a smooth, rough, textured, glossy, sandblasted, or stone finish. Various manufacturers may also offer customized bricks according to a consumer's specifications. In addition, hundreds of different color options are available -- most manufacturers will customize bricks to meet a homeowner's needs.
Professional installation of concrete brick is usually necessary, though modern non-mortar brick can be installed by anyone with elementary carpentry skills. Non-mortar brick does not require any type of mortar in order to complete installation. Instead, these specially shaped bricks simply fit snugly inside of each other creating a solid structure.
Concrete bricks are quickly becoming a popular alternative to other home facade materials. While the cost of installing this type of brick may be higher than the cost of installing other materials, concrete brick will last a lot longer than most other substances. In fact, concrete brick tends to mature with age creating a desired timeless look.
While durable and attractive, these bricks are not indestructible. Bricks made from concrete will generally last up to twelve years. After this length of time has passed, small bits of brick may begin to break off of each piece. At this point, certain bricks will have to be replaced, though this can be done on an individual brick basis.
There are many positive aspects of these bricks, but there are also some negative aspects. Concrete may shrink once it has been installed. This often results in gaps between bricks, which can allow outside water to seep into a home. Also, there is no way to prevent color from leaking out of concrete, which may result in faded bricks.
@wander - If you are thinking about installing concrete brick to update the look of your home I would go with it. In the case of fading you can actually prevent that by applying a special sealer that is either invisible or that comes in a wet look. This will make your color last much longer and can be reapplied throughout the life of your bricks to maintain the color.
As far as the cracks that can appear if the bricks shrink there is actually a kind of caulk you can buy that can fix the opening, so that your home stays nice and dry. Check for it at your local home improvement store.
Has anyone had concrete bricks installed on the outside of your home? I am considering a renovation project and would like to give my home a fresh look and the concrete brick seems like an affordable choice.
I am a bit concerned about the color fading and possible leaks though, and wonder if anyone has any fixes for these kinds of problems should they arise. I would really like to have a polished look for my home and am pretty sure that kind of deterioration would detract from my property value, which is something I certainly don't want. I want to invest in something that is maintainable for many years to come.