Builders often use brick because brick homes make a statement about their brand. They want the homes they build to demonstrate a level of quality craftsmanship that other types of cladding cannot achieve.
Mauro Ruggieri, owner of Ruggieri Associates is one such professional who specifies brick exclusively for his custom homes. He recently completed the Deerfield community in Summerfield, NC.
“I can show you brick homes I built 40 years ago that still look great,” says Ruggieri.
Home industry surveys over the years show that homeowners prefer it, too. The perception is that brick is a better home siding. There’s also the perception that brick costs much more.
But does it?
Actually, brick is far more affordable than most people think.
“One of the biggest misconceptions homeowners have is that brick is an expensive product,” said Pine Hall Brick sales pro Jack Hall. “If someone needs 20,000 brick to veneer their house, they think the cost of the brick would be an additional $50,000. When I tell the customer the brick cost is only $6,000 to $8,000 they are shocked.”
The cost of a single brick is about 35¢. When you consider the lower cost of ownership, brick is an even greater value. There is less maintenance involved with brick than other cladding materials. You never have to paint or pressure wash a brick home. The insulating qualities of brick lower heating and cooling costs also. It also lasts a lifetime, is fade resistant, looks better with age and that’s why people prefer brick to vinyl, fiber cement siding and manufactured stone.
Many homeowners prefer brick due to its durability, lasting beauty and long-term cost savings.
Then there’s resell value, where the perception of brick as expensive works in the homeowner’s favor. Studies show the average homeowner receives an average 6% higher resale value than homes of the same age built with different cladding materials.
This is an excellent return of investment for a 35¢ product. According to a December 2017 Study by the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, the costs of new cabinets, countertops and appliances are comparable to that of the exterior cladding.
It’s true that brick home construction costs a little more than homes with vinyl, fiber cement or wood siding. After all, a crew of masons has to meticulously lay those 20,000 relatively inexpensive bricks one at time. Building brick homes requires workmanship and a little art.
The additional cost is still lower than most people think.
According to a study by RSMeans, the total cost of a 2,700-square-foot, two-story, all-brick house costs only 3.6 percent more than a comparable fiber cement house. That equates to just a $35 increase in the monthly mortgage payment before taxes. (See RSMeans cost comparison chart below.)
The value of brick goes even further when you consider you’re getting a sustainable product that provides superior protection from hail and windblown debris, higher resale values and virtually no maintenance costs.
“You really have no maintenance costs. I know from my own experience.
I built a house for myself in the mountains 18 years ago and the locals swayed me to use cedar for the rustic look. I’ve had to paint it twice since I built it and it’s starting to show signs of rot. The house I live in that I built 35 years ago is brick and I’ve had to do no maintenance on it.”
Fired-clay brick saves on energy costs through its dense thermal mass, superior durability and moisture resistance, lower insurance premiums, a minimum one-hour fire rating by itself (without additional backing materials and installation labor) and a 100-year lifespan with enduring beauty that never fades.
When you look at the total cost of construction and the lower cost of ownership, brick is as practical as it is beautiful. The value is indisputable.
”With fiber cement or wood, the first time you paint—and you will have to repaint—you’re going to pay for that lower cost difference,” said Ruggieri. “With brick, not only does the lower maintenance cost equal out, you end up saving money.”