bricks or stucco

Hi, my house front wall is made from faux brick (not real bricks). They are falling off now and I have to fix them. Today a guy who does brick work told me that there is a problem that the depth is around 4 inch and that is barely hold the bricks but he said it is doable and in worse case scenario he would installed (I can not remember the term he used) but something to hold these bricks which is made from steel and he will make holes in foundation to hold that steel thing.
The brick guy also told me I have another option is to install a stucco (cost the same price almost). He mentioned in both cases he has to remove what is on the wall now and then he might take the plywood off too if he found them they are in bad conditions.
My questions for you:
1) is it good idea to install bricks in this case or I should go with stucco? 2) About the stucco, do they usually remove everything from the wall and then out the stucco or they can put the stucco on the faux brick? 3) Can I remove the faux bricks by myself (I can do the physical work with help of friends but I have no any experience whatsoever, can an average person do that)?
Thanks a lot for your help in advance.
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leza wang wrote the following:

Where are you? Up here in the NE, 'New Jersey Brick and Stone' is the dominate installer of faux brick or stone. They tack the metal grid to the wall sheathing, spread a mortar colored coating to the metal grid, then a brick or stone colored coating to the mortar colored coating, and carve mortar joints into the brick or stone colored coating. I would assume that the metal grid is still attached to the sheathing. Find out who did the original and ask them.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Thanks a lot for your reply. I live in Toronto/Ontario/Canad. The house is around 80 years old.
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On 5/23/2011 9:49 PM, leza wang wrote:

If your faux brick is failing, you need to get it all off down to the sheathing, since there is likely water damage. Never apply a new surface over failing material. As to what can get put back, it depends on how your house was built, and if there is a foundation lip to hold veneer brickwork. Almost impossible to say without seeing it.
I wouldn't go by what 'a guy who does brickwork' says. For a job like this, you want a licensed bonded contractor, and to get bids from at least 3 of them. Make sure they are all bidding on the same thing, not what their idea of what they want to sell you is.
Yes, you probably can do some of the demolition yourself, and save some money, depending on the contractor and their schedule. But be aware, even faux brick is heavy and expensive to have hauled away. You will also need a permit in most areas, and may have problems if your friends get discouraged and quit showing up. Your contractor may not be willing/able to wait for you, and move on to another project. I'd read up on how walls are built and waterproofed before you start. Any of the DIY books or web sites has pictures that explain it better than words do. Short version- the outer masonry skin is not the water barrier- the tar paper or tyvek underneath is. As you do the demo, you will need to patch any rotted sheathing/framing, and install a suitable water barrier, and flashing or waterproof membrane in appropriate areas.
Most contractors give free initial estimates, if they think you are seriously looking. I'm not a fan of stucco overlays on old work- any leaks (like around windows) and the wall gets wet and stays wet. If I couldn't afford proper brick or faux brick, I'd be inclined to strip the wall and build back with siding. Unless the siding on the rest of the house is real weird, it should be possible to match it close enough.
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aem sends...

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Thanks a lot for your reply, very very good read. I really learnt a lot. I appreciate your help. I thought stucco is better because the brick guy told me there are not many room (depth) for brick but he never said that wont be possible. The water proofing thing is very very good point and i will ask for it. I will do more reading now. I still very confused. Thanks a lot.
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