Saturday, July 11, 2009

Brick and Stone Masonry: Still Stand Strong

The choices that you make when designing and building a new home or purchasing an existing home affect your value throughout the time of ownership. No time is the highest value more important than when selling. Each decision you make will affect value and play a role in what the house is ultimately worth in a re-sale. Make your choices carefully. Do your research. Talk to realtors about what is in demand in your area. A good example of a value choice is the use of brick and stone masonry for your exterior. In American architecture, nothing evokes feelings solidity and permanence like masonry.

Have you ever read through the classified home listings, or seen a realtor's flyer and read the words, "four sides brick?" There is a reason that real estate professionals market a home this way. It is a signal of quality to a potential buyer. While stucco and siding are both attractive options for cladding the exterior of your home, brick and stone masonry will increase the value. Upon arrival at a perspective new home, a buyer will usually begin assessing it from the minute that they turn into the driveway.


When applied properly hard coat stucco can be an effective exterior cladding while also providing flexible design. When purchasing an existing stucco home, a buyer should have two thoughts in mind.

1. Is this house a hard coat stucco or EIFS? (a synthetic stucco system)

2. Will an inspector need to be hired to examine the condition of the exterior and locate any moisture behind the walls?

Already there are roadblocks in the buyers mind about purchasing the home. Both questions would need to be answered. You need to know what type of stucco it is, and a specialized, professional inspector is always a good idea no matter the type. A professional stucco inspector can determine where there are problems and check for moisture behind the material, while suggesting the extent of damage and remedies in a thorough report.


Siding tends to have fewer stigmas than stucco. While it does not have the solidness of brick, when installed correctly, it does an excellent job of protecting the interior of the home from moisture. Houses clad with siding seem to have a certain charm and appeal to Americans as it is used from coast to coast. With a siding home, again, it is a good idea to have a thorough inspection to uncover any moisture that has found a path into the interior. A proper inspection will reveal if the siding was installed correctly. Make sure your inspector examines the following areas of a siding clad home where there may be problems.

1. The seams at door and window openings

2. Around vents, such as a dryer vent, and pipes that must pass through to the interior

3. Any area where siding might meets the ground

4. The connection of a siding clad chimney to the house structure

5. Areas where landscaping touches the home

Also, it is a good idea to determine the type of siding... There are several types in use today: wood, cement fiber board and vinyl. Wood siding is beautiful, but will ultimately require maintenance due to exposure to the elements. You will eventually need to replace boards, nails and frequently paint to keep it in the best condition. Cement fiber board is an excellent choice. It is very durable, emulates the look of wood, but will stand the test of time. The advantage of vinyl siding is the ease of maintenance. When properly installed, vinyl siding will only require cleansing from season to season with a mild solution and water to keep it looking new.

Brick and Stone Masonry

Brick and stone masonry has stood the test of time in our culture. While wood sided homes have come and gone over the decades, we know that homes in the Northeastern United States built at our country's inception are still standing today. Brick and stone products inspire a feeling of solidity and permanence. There are very few problems associated with brick or stone. They protect the interior of your home like a fortress, withstand the elements and bring great resale value as it passes confidence along from one owner to the next.

When you have a masonry home inspected, make sure note is taken of any cracks that have appeared in the mortar, which might be the result of settling or another stress on the wall. Check the system of weep holes which are used to drain moisture from behind the walls. Make sure these holes are not obstructed. Additionally, check ground level areas where weep holes could actually perform the reverse function and take moisture in during flooding rains.

Fortunately brick and stone masonry, for the most part, are maintenance free, durable, and a value addition to any home. Today there are many choices in masonry and a visit to a local brick and stone company will make selecting a color and style a breeze. Many have small mock ups of what a wall would look like in each product that they sell. One of the most fun ways to select your new brick or stone is to take a drive around neighborhoods you like and focus on brick colors and the shapes and variation in the stonework. This way you would better be able to envision what the exterior of your finished home might look like.

Whatever the material you choose for the exterior of your home, installation is the key component. Take the time to ensure all proper procedures are followed for the specific material. When buying an existing home, hire an inspector! No question you might have about the exterior cladding of a home is a bad one. You are protecting a very large investment.

About The Author
Dalton C. Reynolds is a contributing writer for and renovates homes for clients in the greater Atlanta, GA area. Copyright © 2006 Dalton C. Reynolds.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home