If you’re looking to make a major upgrade to the appearance and safety of your home, you can’t miss with brick. Brick gives your home a timeless look. It is also extremely durable–resistant to fire, rot, and moisture damage and tough enough to stand up to even the most inclement weather. While the initial investment may be costly, you can expect your brick siding to last the lifetime of your home. Additionally, even if you don’t plan to stay in your home for many years, you’ll still reap the benefits of your investment in brick siding when you go to sell your home as homeowners will pay a premium for homes with brick.
Benefits of Brick Siding
Brick siding offers tremendous value in comparison to other exterior siding options. Although initially more expensive ($6-$15 per square foot) than some alternative siding materials, the long-term savings and benefits are hard to beat. Some of the benefits of brick siding include:
- Maintenance Free: Brick never needs painting and rarely needs cleaning. It won’t rot, fade, peel, or dent and it is resistant to pests. After 25 years, you’ll want to start inspecting your mortar joints as the masonry can deteriorate. Aside from that, you can only expect your brick to become more beautiful with age.
- Save On Heating and Cooling Bills: Brick is a proven insulator. The thermal mass of brick gives your home the ability to hold heat in the winter and keep your home cooler in the summer. It even provides sound insulation–a big plus for anyone who lives on a noisy street.
- Save On Insurance: Many insurance companies offer a reduced rate on your homeowner’s insurance premiums if you choose a brick home because of its ability to stand up to fire and extreme weather.
- Higher Resale Value: According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value report, replacing your siding can yield a 77% rate of return on your investment (ROI), but installing brick siding can help you get even more when you decide to sell your home. On average, brick homes command at least 6% more than other home styles. Additionally, in a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders and other building trade organizations, 50% to 60% of home buyers in the United States prefer brick homes, meaning your home is more likely to move quickly in a crowded market.
- Safety: Brick provides the highest wall strength to provide protection against strong winds or flying debris. In addition, because brick is a fireproof building material it will not melt or catch on fire.
Drawbacks of Brick Siding
In addition to the hefty initial investment, there are some other drawbacks to brick siding that you should consider. First, brick is very heavy and can add a lot of stress to the foundation of your home. Before installing brick siding, you’ll need to have your home assessed to make sure it can withstand the weight of the new brick siding. Also, in the event that one of your bricks is damaged, it is virtually impossible to repair just one brick. In most cases, you’ll need to repair an entire wall, which can be very costly.
Is Brick Siding Environmentally Friendly?
Yes and no. Bricks are made from clay which is plentiful, but it has to be heated at very high temperatures to harden it which takes a great deal of energy. That said, if you live in an area with clay-rich soil, the energy saved on long distance transportation might offset the energy expended during the firing process. Bricks are recyclable though, and you can go one step further to reduce your environmental footprint by selecting bricks that are reclaimed or made with post-consumer content. Finally, because your brick siding should last the lifetime of your home, you don’t have to worry about updating your siding every 20 years and sending tons of construction waste to your local landfill.
Maintaining Your Brick Siding
Yes, brick is essentially maintenance, but you can preserve the beauty and durability of your brick siding with some occasional cleaning and spot checks for water damage–especially if you live in a damp/humid environment. Cleaning your brick should not be a major undertaking. Once a year, plan on using your garden hose to remove any loose dirt. If one side of your home receives little to no sunlight and the ground nearby tends to stay damp, be on the lookout for moss, mold, or mildew growth. If you spot a problem area, simply create a solution using one cup of bleach and a gallon of water. Apply the mixture using a natural or synthetic bristle brush, as wire brushes can leave traces of steel behind that will rust and discolor your bricks. Also, before applying a bleach solution to your brick siding, be sure to give the area a thorough soaking with water to prevent the brick from absorbing the bleach.