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Best Practices for Mixed-Material Exterior Walls in Residential Construction

Nationwide, current trends indicate a continued rise in the popularity of combining mixed materials on a home’s exterior, especially on the front exposure of the home.

Consider these statistics, as reported by Builder magazine:

  • 78 percent of buyers say a home’s exterior look is either “extremely” or “very” important, according to a Harris interactive study.
  • Buyers make a “street decision” in less than 12 seconds on whether to view a home, according to realtors.
  • A home’s exterior is second only to house size in affecting its value, according to a recent economic study.

In addition to the above statistics, architects, realtors and builders all report that today’s buyers want homes that are low- (or preferably no-) maintenance. Couple this with the fact that sustainable materials are a growing exterior design trend – which also dovetails with the “natural” trend – and it’s no wonder why stone and brick are becoming “must haves” in current new construction.

With that in mind, below are advantages for integrating various Echelon Masonry products as a design option for mixed-material walls in residential construction, depending upon the project goals.

GOAL: Reduce costs by eliminating the need for footings.

For those looking to combine masonry with stucco or siding, one of the project goals may be to reduce costs by using materials that do not require additional footings or a brick ledge. In these instances, Echelon offers several products that offer the aesthetic look of brick or stone without the additional weight.

Kensley Stone, Hillcrest Stone & the EnduraMax System

GOAL: Provide the structural strength for a mixed masonry wall.

A rising trend in many areas of the country is that homeowners are gravitating to the look of brick and stone combined together. If brick and stone are layered on the same wall, the base layer requires the structural strength to hold the weight of the top layer. In these instances, the following Echelon products are recommended.

  • Waterford Stone™: full-depth veneer with the look of antique chiseled stone.
  • Lamina® Stone: full-depth veneer with the look of stacked stone.
  • Quik-Brik®: the look of traditional brick in a single-wythe masonry that offers one-step installation and is a great option for multi-family construction.

Waterford Stone, Lamina Stone & Quik Brik by Echelon

GOAL: Increase construction efficiencies.

Increasing the bottom line is always a top priority for any business. There are a number of ways to reduce labor costs and material waste, as well as boost construction speed.

  • The insulated installation panels of the EnduraMax™ High Performance Wall System act as a guide, allowing masonry units to be fitted into place, which not only greatly reduces installation time, it allows for the use of a less specialized labor force. Patented pumpable mortar further speeds installation of this system.
  • Artisan Masonry Veneers® - All Artisan masonry units, both full-depth and lightweight, are manufactured with a patented dry-cast process, which creates integrated color throughout each unit, thus making each unit more durable and reducing waste caused by chipping.
  • While traditional brick veneers require structural reinforcement, the one-step installation process of Quik-Brik® single-wythe masonry offers the look of traditional clay brick with significantly reduced installation time for multi-family buildings. 
  • By utilizing Amerimix®Pre-blended  Stuccos, Mortars and Grouts, a number of construction efficiencies can be achieved. As part of the Echelon family of products, using Amermix eliminates the need for multiple masonry product vendors. In addition, Amerimix products are pre-blended, ensuring consistency of color and eliminating steps and waste at the job site.

Increase Construction Efficiency with Echelon Products

GOAL: Increase energy efficiency.

A number of factors continue to drive the “green” trends in residential construction, including increasingly stringent building codes, the push for LEED® certified construction, and the rise in energy-conscious home buyers. When looking to boost the energy efficiency of masonry construction, Echelon offers the following systems:

  •  EnduraMax™ High Performance Wall System: The complete system offers an insulation value of R9.2 steady state to boost a home’s energy performance.
  • Insultech System™: Primarily applicable for multi-family construction in the residential segment, the Insultech Insulated Concrete Masonry System offers R16.2 continuous insulation with the option of different architectural faces on both the interior and exterior of the same unit.

Echelon Green Building Materials for Energy Efficiency

GOAL: Improve the masonry wall’s overall performance capabilities.

When the goal is to improve a wall’s performance, the EnduraMax™ High Performance Wall System is uniquely qualified do so in a number of areas. Able to be paired with a variety of Echelon Masonry brick and stone masonry products, EnduraMax:

  • improves moisture management with built-in water drainage channels.
  • improves acoustical comfort with an STC rating of 61dB.
  • achieves energy performance of R9.2 steady state.
  • resists winds up to 140 MPH.
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