Almost two-thirds of contractors are experiencing a shortage of bricklayer/masonry subcontractors; even more (75 percent) believe those types of labor shortages are leading to higher wages and subcontractor rates, according to a July 2017 survey from the National Association of Home Builders. It’s a problem that likely helps explain the rise of easy-to-install masonry support systems such as Speedymason, an exterior-only product, which we discovered at the 2017 Remodeling Show in Nashville, Tenn.
“Any remodeler should be able to do it,” says Tony Szak, national sales manager for Speedymason. And it’s not so bold a claim as you may think: To prove that, there’s a YouTube video of two green-as-green-can-be teenagers having no problem with using the Speedymason system.
Designed for simplicity, Speedymason’s interlocking panels fasten directly to a home’s structure and are built to hold a full mortar bed and thin brick accompaniment.
“Once the panel is attached, mortar is sprayed, troweled, and the thin brick is set in the courses, starting with the corner pieces. The joints are then struck and cleaned,” Szak says. He adds that because the panels attach directly to the structure, there’s no need for brick footings or for lintels over doors and windows.
“Full-face brick needs that extra structure to carry itself. The total weight of Speedymason—fasteners, mortar, and brick—is only 8 pounds per square foot,”
he explains. “The savings on structural support can really add up.”
Interior installation is three steps simpler, but it’s not called Speedymason; it’s called SpeedyPanel. There’s no mortar and no need to place the thin brick (yes, still real brick), since the brick comes pre-attached to the panel. All that’s required is installing the panel, and grouting and striking the brick. It’s easy enough that just one teenager could probably do it.