Brick, stone, stucco, vinyl — the choices can be overwhelming when building a home from the ground up. What type of look are you trying to achieve? And does that aesthetic appeal meet your budget and hold up to the weather conditions in your neck of the woods?
Here are some things to consider before that first brick is laid or that first siding board is nailed in place.
Rock and brick. The sturdiest and most enduring material for a home exterior are masonry products such as stone and brick. Stone and brick lend a stately look to a house and convey value. Indeed, a home with more stone or brick than wood or other types of siding typically appraises for more money.
Rock or stacked stone can come in a variety of types: granite, limestone, sandstone and more, with costs varying. Rock provides a natural, somewhat rustic look and can often reflect a regional style, such as sandstone on homes in desert regions. With some exceptions, rock is more expensive than most brick because it is sold by weight rather than in uniform units. Stone is also more labor intensive to construct since the varying sizes and shapes mean the mason must fit the pieces together like a puzzle. There are also manufactured cement products made to look like natural stone. They are lighter and less expensive, but more brittle and don’t last as long.
Brick comes in a vast array of colors and styles. Homes with a brick exterior are less labor intensive to build since the bricks are uniform in size and shape. Brick can create a truly stately appearance to a home.
Stucco. Stucco comes in a good range of color choices and textures and can be used with stone or brick accents. Stucco is particularly good for homeowners wanting a southwestern look. Since stucco construction takes multiple steps, however, it is expensive.
Buyers should also beware of synthetic stucco, known as EIFS, which can trap moisture behind the surface causing mold to form. In some states, real estate agents are required by law to disclose if the property has been faced in synthetic stucco.
Cement fiber boards. In the last 25 years, cement fiber board materials, such as the name-brand Hardiplank, have exploded in popularity. Made of cement, sand and wood cellulose fiber, it is an excellent material that doesn’t rot, is highly fire resistant and is impervious to wood destroying insects. It can be painted any color. These products come in styles made to look like wood planks or a stone.
Vinyl siding. Vinyl siding has come a long way from the old days. It is one of the least expensive of sidings and is easy to install. It comes in many colors and is now manufactured to simulate the look of wood plank siding.
Wood. Wood has a timeless beauty and can be crafted in so many ways and from so many types of woods. It can be painted any color and can be coordinated with brick or stone. However, wood must be well maintained to avoid rotting.