Thin Brick Support System, Thin Brick Veneer Support
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Thin Brick Wall Support System

Thin Brick, Stone and Tiles have been around for thousands of years; the struggle has been to develop a system to install the veneer quickly and reliably. Metal lath which was developed in England was introduced to the U.S. in 1797. Tile and plaster industry in the mid 1800's. Mechanically fastened metal lath provided more "keys" for tile and gypsum plaster to interlock with. This labor intensive but reliable system using lath is a standard norm for thin veneer applications. Chemically modified thin set mortars has helped eliminate some use of lath, but its reliance only on shear adhesion without mechanical supports can cause doubts about longevity.

One of the first workablethin brick systems was designed in the late 1920's by the Klinglehut company, it used an asphalt softwood board with the brick tiles glued to the face. The advantage of a panel system was to offer a fast and simple installation method using less expensive labor and year round installation. This was THE thin brick and tile panel system for the next forty years. Minor changes were made to these panel systems, such as substituting the asphalt board with plywood or cement boards.

In the 1970's new ideas and construction methods were incorporated into the existing thin veneer panel systems. These include attaching thin brick to a foam board with support clips and an aluminum roll formed support panel glued to foam.

In the 1980's thin brick and tile panel systems becomes an accepted alternative. Major brick manufacturers produce thin brick with the same colors and textures as their face brick line. This allows the designer to alternate between full face brick and thin brick, to economize their projects. During this time a small manufacturer starts producing TABS, a system using a galvanized steel support panel. The main thrust of this system was to address the issues that architects and specifiers had regarding previous panel systems. The system utilized Steel tabs to support the dead load, matching the thermal movement of the veneer and provide greater fastener pull through resistance. The Original TABS panel also addressed the issues of proper spacing by using its double tabbed design.

It is now the twenty first century, what are the new advances in thin veneer wall systems? TABS II design improvements are: Deeper texturizing to increase moisture control, various spacing and custom length tabbed supports; (you can use different heights and thickness of your favorite thin veneer, tile or stone). New ideas like a tabbed veneer and mortar locking system, which can be used actively or passively. Material improvements: greater corrosion resistance (hot dipped galvanized G90 rated structural steel) and thermo set coating methods to guarantee longer life of the thin veneer system.

Cost and time is a great concern in construction industry, thin veneer panel systems save resources (no need for lintels, footings, shelf angles, structural support, freight and decreased labor costs) compared to conventional masonry construction.

Methods for using a thin veneer system: Curtain wall manufacturers and steel wall fabricators are now building complete walls with thin veneer systems already attached. These pre-built wall assemblies are then delivered to the site, saving valuable construction time. Manufactured fireplaces, commercial interiors and residential exteriors are areas were steel thin veneer panel systems can save time or reduce costs.


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