Is my brick house real brick?
A good alternative title might be what is brick veneer ?
Back in the good old days when homes were built with brick it served as the structure for the home.
In today's home brick is still used, but not for Structure so much as for appearance. In other words, you can think of it more as a siding. The actual structure of a home built with brick veneer is normally that of a wood frame. So basically what this means is that the brick does not support the house, but the House supports the brick.
Another good question might be why do they do it this way and not just build the whole house with brick? Like with most things nowadays cheaper and faster.
There is one benefit to all of this however, and it is the third reason for building this way, which is the fact that they are easily insulated and thus more energy efficient than a simple brick structure. Yet another good question may be how long will it last? The answer is that depends on how well it is constructed. See the diagram below for an example of how a brick veneer wall is constructed. Keep in mind when constructing brick veneer, Only one layer of brick is used
As you can see above the one layer brick wall is tied to the structure and supported with its weight right on top of the foundation which has been planned ahead of time. The architect has to plan for the approximately 4 inch width of the brick plus a one-inch space behind which will allow the wall to drain moisture that gets behind the brick. As you can also see from the diagram above, the wall behind the brick has a moisture barrier, allowing the water to drain onto the bottom and away from the structure.
The water drains to a series of weep holes that are placed along the bottom row of brick, and also above windows and doors which also have a series of weep holes while sitting on steel lentils, which help prevent deflection and thus cracking of the mortar.one problem that is common is for bricklayers is to drop mortar into the one-inch cavity. Thus blocking easy exit of moisture through the weep holes. The dropped mortar retains the water longer, thus possibly allowing the possibility of mold to enter the home via mold spores, which can rise up and into.
Most homes will have weep holes, approximately every 24 to 36 inches max. Another important part of the brick veneer is having the brick ties appropriately spaced. The brick ties are important and seek not only to keep the wall from moving yet allow slight movement. The reason for allowing slight movement is due to the fact that the wood frame expands and contracts at a different rate.
Break ties are embedded in the mortar between bricks and nailed into the wood studs. Normally they are placed approximately every six or seven courses of brick on a vertical plane. Horizontal, they should be embedded into every stud.
Hopefully this information will help you understand little bit about brick veneer walls and is not meant to be technical so much as informational.
(diagram done with serif draw plus four and photo scape by Bob Elliott)