Thin Brick Systems Offer A Sustainable
Resource to Mainstream Builders As Well

What green building products are hot in the midwest? According to Jon Edwards, Director of Building Products Group in St. Louis, Missouri, Thin Brick is seeing a quick burst in popularity. That's true for projects that are going for green certification, but also for conventional building and remodeling projects that want a cost-effective approach to sustainable construction.

“We have been doing more and more work with our mechanically anchored Thin Brick, which is really green, any way you look at it," says Edwards. "It's about 1/5 the weight, embedded energy, and shipping of face brick, even though it also happens to be a clay brick." Thin Brick systems are mainly used as a cladding and a substitute for face brick, and they
can also be utilized in rainscreen components.

“When you put the Thin Brick in our Brickfast steel panel, the bricks get mechanically anchored and grouted in place," Jon explains. "The panel/brick combination weighs a little under 7 pounds per square foot. That means you don't have to do a lot of structural shoring when using it in interior spaces. If it's on the exterior, you save a lot of building weight, especially if you plan on taking it up 4 or 5 stories.”

It's also less expensive to apply as buildings get taller. “Face brick increases in cost story by story, as people have to spend time on scaffolds to set it in place,” Edwards points out. “The Thin Brick system has a lot of additional benefits. The bricks will not effloresce like a face brick can. The joints are more water resistant because we use a modified Thin Brick grout that has acrylic latex additives in it.”

The Brickfast system is also extremely durable, and has passed some tough tests for seismic stress and wind load resistance. “It's not like other panel systems,“ Edwards states. “The thin bricks are actually mechanically anchored to the plate because each bricks has a channel that runs down its back. By the time you grout that in, those bricks aren't going anywhere.”

Edwards has found that Brickfast panels are a good fit for use with SIP or ICF construction. “It can go over any type of sheething, concrete, AAC, or other substrate. With wood frame or steel stud construction, than we can mount directly to the structural studs.”
Building Products Group supplies Thiin Brick in many colors and styles.

But Edwards is quick to come back to the environmental benefits. “When you look at it from when the clay is mined and processed, add in the energy involved in firing it, and then transporting it by diesel truck, the environmental costs of Thin Brick are about 80% less than conventional brick,” he declared.
A Brickfast/Thin Brick system can earn credits towards LEED and other green certification standards.

Although Building Products Group
serves clients throughout the midwest, their Brickfast systems have also found their way as far as the middle east. Edwards recounts his surprise at seeing a 60 MInutes segment on construction in Qatar that showed Thin Brick being installed to a decorative outdoor archway above a Venetian styled canal.
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