The farmhouse look has been popular for a while. Sam Hoehner, General Manager at Lee Building Products, in Louisville, Kentucky has been watching the design trend with his homebuilder customers. Here’s his take on the choice of light colored brick for farmhouses that offers some surprising returns on investment.

Better value with brick – here’s the math

By Sam Hoehner

The Farmhouse look is something we see a lot these days using Hardie Board in a white/light color usually with dark or black accents (window trim, metal roofing, soffit trim/gutters). Our customers believe they have to use siding to get this look until we show them some painted brick looks, or better yet, light colored manufactured brick that will give them the same look with all the benefits of brick and no future maintenance.

Of course, using brick results in higher appraised value. Take the linear footage of the outside of the home and add that to the square footage comparison for the home value: using 4” of brick gives you 1/4 of a SF more of appraised value for every linear foot around the home compared to 1” of siding.

Light colored brick choices from Pine Hall Brick

A 50′ x 30′ home with a neighborhood comp of $180/SF value would create an additional 40 SF of area with brick instead of siding (50+50+30+30 multiplied by 1/3). 

This equates to $7,200 of home appraisal value by using brick instead of 1″ siding.  Pretty good value for a product that costs the same or less in our market compared to Hardie and even greater for some other siding products.

The other benefit of a manufactured light brick is that even with white mortar and white sand, it is less expensive than painting brick and eliminates initial and future costs and maintenance of paint. 

In our market it costs around $7,000 to $10,000 to paint 24,000 brick (queens).  That is $333/thousand in paint before you buy the brick. It is important to consider what you can buy that doesn’t require painting and can still give you the Farmhouse look before you pay for the paint and sign up for lifetime maintenance.

Light colored brick to the left, compared with traditional red brick, as Sam Hoehner helps a customer in the Lee Building Products brick yard.

Then, remember, you get the other advantages of brick:

  • No maintenance
  • Lower bills for heating and cooling due to the thermal mass and airspace of a brick wall compared to siding
  • Less sound transmission through the walls on a brick home
  • Safer in storm damage and high wind protection
  • Better fire rating/protection

With the range of colors, from light tans to nearly white, you can achieve a farmhouse affect with clay brick and without painting!

White Mortar, White Sand