"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Brick pattern


The brick that is not a brick
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The name Insulbrick is misleading because it is not a brick.

This imitation brick has been popular for years and still can be found on some older houses, garages and workshops.
Insulbrick is a fibreboard sheathing coated with tar and added granular material, similar to asphalt shingles.
The surface was stamped with a brick or rectangular stone pattern. Insulbrick is a brand name and was used for all types of asphalt siding much like most tissues are called Kleenex.
As a rule, tar paper and Insulbrick were applied over wood siding. Insulbrick was the preferred choice for replacement siding until aluminum and vinyl siding became available in the late 1950s. Asphalt siding was available from the 1930s to about 1960.

Houses clad in Insulbrick can appear to be brick houses from a distance. Even today there are still a few Insulbrick houses in my city that still look great after 50 years. Insulbrick carried an UL rating for fire suppression and had an insulating value of R 1.3. It was easy and quick to install.
The siding also provided an excellent hiding place for insect.
During my construction years I have removed a fair bit of Insulbrick and it seemed that in every case the wood underneath the asphalt siding had been invested by carpenter ants.


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