It will make up in large measure the first impression people have of your house: what you cover its exterior with. To make that first impression one of grandeur and substance, you might look at those two classic home exteriors, good old brick and natural stone. Which one, you wonder, would be better for your home?
Brick and stone exteriors definitely have many things in common. They give your house what they’ve given pyramids, castles, cathedrals and grand mansions for thousands of years: strength and gravitas. Both materials will fit beautifully into a natural west coast setting: trees, moss, damp shadows. Your home can look like it sprang up with the forest! Or for an old-world European look, for example, you can’t go wrong with warm brick walls next to richly varnished wood.
Both natural stone and traditional brick will largely maintain their colour and mellow beautifully over time. Both can, if well cared for, be expected to last a lifetime at the very least. And if you’d like a different look in the future, either surface can be painted and brick can be stained a different colour. Make sure you get professionals for this job, though — both materials have special physical properties that make painting or staining them a purely expert endeavour.
Natural brick comes in several colours you can mix and match as you please, and even install in decorative patterns. But in general stone is available in many more colours, textures, and finishes than brick. Stone can be cut so that it gives a sleek, modern finish, or left rough and rustic for a farmhouse or cottage look. Whether your preferred aesthetic is rambling country house or ultramodern white box, a stone exterior can be fashioned to reflect it. A brick exterior is definitely more limiting in this respect.
Both exteriors are fireproof and impact resistant (they didn’t build castles out of stone for nothing!). Brick, however, will likely need work on the mortar between the bricks, called repointing, occasionally, which stone will not need. Natural stone is the stuff of the ages, of course. Both surfaces need to be sealed and both, if poorly installed, are subject to water damage. But if all is done as it should be, the wind and weather should not affect either for many years.
As for their relative impact on the environment, both brick and stone are made of abundant natural materials and both can be reused or recycled when a home is renovated or demolished. Extracting stone from the earth can harm wildlife and ecosystems, however. You might make a point of using repurposed or recycled stone on your house for this reason. Both stone and brick are natural insulators, keeping in heat in winter and keeping out heat in summer, saving you on energy costs.
Stone is, in general, measurably more expensive than brick to clad your home with, which makes sense considering the relative cost of quarry extraction versus making bricks using more easily-obtained clay. If cost is an overriding issue, there is the option of faux stone veneer, a lighter, manufactured stone that costs much less than natural stone. Of course you are giving up the insulating and long-lasting qualities of natural stone, but sometimes a limited budget is your reality. Brick veneers are available too, basically bricks cut thin and applied more as tiles are, to mimic the look of full-size bricks, but again, this is a visual choice only and leaves you without most of the structural advantages of a traditional brick exterior. When planning a home that will last for generations, it’s best to opt for the most durable, ageless materials you can possibly afford.
The fact is that some home exteriors are a mixture brick and stone. This is certainly possible, but beware. Just because two colours are called “neutrals” doesn’t mean they work well when put next to each other! Too many finishes and colours fighting for attention can make a home’s exterior visually cluttered and displeasing to the eye. A professional colour consultant or designer can help you put these two materials together with the proper skill to best display your home’s beauty in its setting, combining it with whatever timber, glass, or metal also make up its exterior.
Whichever look you’re aiming for, Reid Developments is ideally suited to help you achieve it. Contact us about your home renovation or new-build dreams!