Brick and stone can each add an appealing aesthetic to a home or commercial space, at once making it look nicer while also increasing the value of the property.
Brick and stone veneers can both achieve the same effects as traditional brickwork or masonry at only a fraction of the price. However, there are some differences that are worth considering when choosing the right look for a given interior or exterior space.
Defining Brick and Stone Veneer
First, it’s important to define what exactly we mean when we say “brick veneer” or “stone veneer.” These terms are often used in reference to different products, which does matter when choosing brick or stone veneer for your budget and applications.
What is Brick Veneer?
Brick veneer can consist of either thin slices of real kiln-fired clay bricks or synthetic material that has been molded and painted to look like real brick.
When it’s made from synthetic materials—such as high-density polyurethane—it’s called “faux brick panel” or “faux brick veneer.” This material is much lighter than real brick veneer, which uses thin brick slices that are arranged on a panel. Either can be cut to size and applied without any mortar or advanced masonry.
What is Stone Veneer?
Stone veneer may consist of any of the following:
- Thin slices of real limestone, slate, sandstone, etc. arranged on a panel (natural stone veneer).
- Slices of stone-like material made from cement, pumice, pigments, and other materials.
- High-density polyurethane molded and stained to look like real stone (faux stone veneer).
The similarity between all of these types of stone veneer is that they consist of thin materials that can be easily laid out in panels on a wall, column, or another surface.
Differences Between Brick and Stone Veneer
The main distinction between the two is the aesthetic. Brick veneer tends to give the more orderly look of uniform brickwork, whereas stone veneer will have much more variation from one piece of stone to the next.
Brick veneer has the same texture as kiln-fired bricks, either because it’s made from real brick, or because it’s carefully molded to mimic that texture. It’s clean and consistent with all the rigid textures and straight lines you’d expect from a brick wall.
On the other hand, stone veneer has a wide range of variations, depending on the types and shapes of stones being used/molded. Some have large, round river rock textures, while others provide the craggy appearance of rough hewn limestone. This provides for a great deal of visual interest that can be tailored to one’s individual preferences.
Brick panels will have the uniform coloration of man-made bricks, from dark reds and browns to concrete grays and blues. This creates the clean appearance of hand-laid bricks that some prefer in their homes or businesses.
However, stone veneer has a wide range of colors, sometimes even within the same panels. From browns and yellows to reds, oranges, and blues, there are many possibilities when it comes to using stone veneer.
A final potential point of difference between stone and brick panels is the price, though that depends on the materials being used. Polyurethane faux brick panels have roughly the same pricing as faux stone made from the same material since the only difference is the texture used in creating the mold.
Alternatively, real stone veneer can be more costly than real brick simply because it makes use of pricier materials that aren’t readily made in a factory.
Choosing Brick or Stone Veneer
When choosing brick or stone veneer, it’s really up to you. If a room you want to improve would look better to you with a subtle red brick pattern, then that’s the option you should choose. If you want some multicolor river rocks in a space, then stone veneer could be the better choice.
Typically, brick will give you a more clean, man-made look, while stone veneer will add some natural, rugged flair to the space.
In terms of pricing and weight, real materials—or even man-made conglomerates using concrete—are much heavier and often costlier than high-density polyurethane, and that may influence the decision of which you choose depending on what’s available to you at the time.
Faux Panels vs. Real Brick or Stone Veneer
Although selecting brick or stone veneer is a matter of personal preference, the decision of whether to choose real brick/stone versus faux panels is much more about economics.
High-density polyurethane is a very durable material that won’t usually chip or crack, but it can be cut with normal woodworking tools. On the other hand, real brick or stone veneer will be much harder, but at the same time a little more difficult to work with due to the weight. Real materials are also more prone to chipping.
Faux panels require minimal maintenance, whereas veneers using real brick or stone tend to need regular maintenance to keep it in good condition.
Real brick and stone veneer is much more costly than faux stone/brick panels. Even though they may look slightly more authentic, it’s usually hard to tell the difference between the two.
Faux brick and stone panels are much easier to transport, cut, and install than real stone, making them much less costly in that department.
Looking for more information about choosing the right material for your next project? Click below for helpful tips on selecting brick veneer over real brick.