Brick Buildings Test Strong in Severe Storms

Studies Show Maximum Performance in Seismic Strength, Moisture, Wind Resistance

With storm season upon most of the country, homes and other buildings made of genuine clay brick have shown superior performance in extreme weather conditions--reducing property damage and increasing survival odds during recent disasters. Studies show that brick outperforms competitive exteriors in wind resistance, moisture resistance, seismic strength, its resistance to wind-blown debris and has a minimum one-hour fire rating by itself--unlike its competitors that need to incorporate fire-resistant materials in their wall systems.

"As a versatile building material made from abundant natural resources, there is no substitute for genuine clay brick," said Gregg Borchelt, president and CEO of the Brick Industry Association (BIA).

A 2010 study by the NAHB Research Center comparing moisture resistance among typical residential exteriors evaluated genuine clay brick veneer as the highest in moisture resistance and dryness. Of the eight wall systems tested--accounting for approximately 90% of the cladding systems used today--brick veneer wall assemblies performed the best overall in controlling moisture.

In 2009, a brick seismic study funded by the National Science Foundation showed that buildings built with genuine clay brick veneer can resist earthquakes above the Maximum Considered Earthquake for Seismic Design Category D without collapse.

Videos of a 2004 wind-blown debris study at the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University demonstrate that a medium-sized and wind-blown object, such as a 7.5-foot long 2 x 4, would penetrate homes built with vinyl siding or fiber-cement siding at a speed of 25 mph, but would need to exceed 80 mph in order to penetrate the wall of a genuine clay brick veneer home. The tests showed that a single wythe of brick exceeded the impact resistance for high velocity hurricane zones in the Florida building code.

Free of volatile compounds, earth-friendly genuine clay brick is a key element of green building design with benefits including using one to two percent less energy than vinyl siding, a 100-year lifespan, no- to low-maintenance, termite resistance, durability and other, competitive benefits.

Founded in 1934, the Brick Industry Association (BIA) is the nationally recognized authority on clay brick construction representing the nation's distributors and manufacturers of clay brick and suppliers of related products. Web site: or