Adding Brick ledge to existing poured concrete walls

susanelewisOctober 19, 2010

We are considering adding a peak to our great room so that the back wall is more impressive with quarter round windows and a circlehead. I want to brick the exterior of that section to match the brick used on the front of the home.

The problem is that this section does not have a brick ledge. We have had two builders come to look at it and the first one said he needs to dig down to the foundation to build it up to support the brick. The second guy said that wasn't necessary and that he could use an angle iron (i think that was the term) to bolt into the foundation (I'm assuming he means the poured foundation walls).

The second method seems like a bad idea to me, frankly. From my research, the first method is mentioned the most. I also don't want to compromise the foundation walls or provide a way for leaks into the basement to happen.

Does anyone have any advice on these methods? I appreciate it.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Both will work if designed by an engineer. The difficulty with the angle is that it will have to be above grade unless it is stainless steel and the detailing of the lower part of the wall can be difficult in terms of the structure and the appearance. I couldn't tell you more without an accurate wall section.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I talked to a technical guy from Redland Brick (who makes our brick) and he did not recommend the angle iron. Plus the other side of our foundation wall is a completed home theater so no way would be rip down interior walls.

There is a product out there called Tru-Brix from Redland that uses brick veneer which is real brick and does not require a brick ledge as it adheres to the exterior walls with a channel system. They claim you cannot tell the difference. It is more expensive than a standard brick application but cheaper than digging and installing a brick ledge.

Has anyone used this system?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 4:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"brick veneer" is what is on the existing brick cavity walls. What you are describing is usually called "thin brick". I've never used it.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't ask sales people; this is a design problem for a design professional so ask an engineer.

If the anchor bolts are properly specified and installed, the angle is sized and finished correctly, and it is sufficiently above grade, all you have to worry about is how it looks projected out from the foundation.

I don't like putting thin pieces of brick masonry on wood sheathing because of potential differential movement. Wood and masonry should never be in tight contact even if it is "thin brick" but perhaps a thin composite imitation brick material would work.

Sales people will sell you anything. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

See case #2 in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: brick veneer supported on angle at foundation

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks so much for your help.

According to Case#2, you have to get those anchor iron into the foundation somehow. How does that happen?

I also got the following suggestion from an online expert (Bruce Johnson):

Hi Susan, digging down to the existing footer is the best method. Next would be to drill and epoxy rebar into the existing foundation wall and pour an attached footing at a higher elevation say 8" below grade, install one course of masonry to bring it to grade and then start your brick. The angle iron will work but it would have to be hot dipped galvanized and pre drilled prior to galvanization and installed with galvanized fasteners. Otherwise it will eventually rot away leaving the brick unsupported. I hope this information helps, please feel free to write again regarding this or other matters.

That would address the issue of how it looked finished under the angle iron, I would think.

THe Tru-Brix system does not allow for adhering brick directly to the wood sheathing. There is a steel channel system installed first and then the bricks are slid onto that and then mortared into place. There is an installation video at their site at

The Tru-Brix guy, naturally, says digging to the foundation risks disturbing your tile system and gravel which I don't want to do. Access to the interior side of the wall isn't possible as it's my husband's home theater and not even my love of brick would allow that room to be distrubed. So it seems it is Tru-Brick or the angle iron and I'm not thrilled to have holes drilled into my foundation (interior leaking).

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My concerns with the Tru-Brix would be: 1) any detailing necessary to drain water from behind the surface. ( I don't see any reference in their installation instructions.); and 2) the long term durability of the steel channel system that the thin bricks rest in.

If I were using thin brick on an exterior application, I'd prefer to use more traditional installation methods.

I've seen the ledge method used. Unless the ledge is well covered by shrubbery, it just looks like a mistake to me. But since I saw a spec builder change his mind and substitute masonry on a shelf for stucco and sell the home for $1.77m, I guess that's only my take on it.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

detailing necessary to drain water from behind the surface

Tru-Brix does use a drainage channel housewrap that should work even with face-applied materials. It also says that water that penetrates the brick and mortar will accumulate in the corners of the steel rails. What I don't see is where and how the water in the rain channels and the steel rails will be evacuated.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, worthy, for your comments. It is so aggravating to me that when we were building we just didn't have the foresight to just add a brick ledge everywhere just in case. If hindsight was 20-20....

The Tru-Brix system does in corporate a way to drain water. I didn't notice it initially until I found their FAQ page:

Where does water go when it gets into the system?

The majority of the water that hits the masonry wall will run down the face of the brick. When the wall is saturated with wind-driven rain, water may be pushed into the system, where it typically collects in the rail. The water will then drain to the corners of the rail and flow down to grade.

Are weep holes necessary in the bottom course?

No. A properly installed job will drain down to grade because the Tru-Brix system is designed to use the Tru-Brix building wrap to allow the collected water in the rail to travel to grade behind the steel rail and not penetrate the building. You can view the ASTM testing results for more information.

They key is to talk to people who have had this system for a few years.

When you say "traditional methods", which method of applying thin brick are you referring to?

I agrre that the ledge method that shows the angle iron above the foundation would be unsightly. I think the suggestion from Bruce Johnson about the galvanized steel angle iron below grade would be a more aesthetic solution. But, we are still intrigued by the Tru-Brix system and are definitely going to seek references and do more research on it. I'm anxious to see it actually installed.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 4:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Susan,

I am in the same boat a you now. When we built our home because of budget constraint we only had bricks in front of the house, not on the sides and back. Our home is on top of the hill with no trees surround and the winds are unbearable. Our poured foundation is 8" as well with no brick ledge (would I have known this when founding was poured??????).

What method did you do to your house? How did it turn out? Would you please share? I appreciate your help.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For wind protection I would add 18" tall cedar shingles with a 5" exposure for a triple layer of coverage. Brick on the front wall and cedar shingles on the other 3 walls is a handsome southern tradition if detailed well.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 4:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Dog Grooming/Bathing Station, show me your pictures, please
I really need to include a bathing/grooming area in...
Have exterior wall open-questions about improving insulation
I have a 1980s era house, so not the greatest in terms...
4" or 5" rounded newell posts--where to order?
Is there such a thing as a 4" or 5" round...
question about getting a bid from contractors
We're getting ready to put an addition on our house...
What decisions, materials, can cut costs when remodeling?
If you really have a budget to work within, how do...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Sponsored Products
Sitting Pretty Mermaid Shelf Decor
$24.99 | Dot & Bo
Celeste Floral Wall Screen - MULTI COLORS
Jules Flushmount by Hinkley Lighting
$279.00 | Lumens
Polished Chrome Grab Bar
Feiss Ameilia 8" High Wall Sconce
Lamps Plus
Ornate Grey & Black Wallpaper R1535, double roll
Walls Republic
Fresca Medio Teak Modern Bathroom Vanity with Medicine Cabinet
Modern Bathroom
Hudson Valley Newport Traditional Wall Sconce
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™