Should I upgrade to all brick or stick with Hardie?

Beth ParsonsNovember 5, 2012

The estimates for Hardie materials, labor and required paint job is coming in higher than anticipated. Because our area is absolutely booming with new construction, trades aren't hurting for business and the days of low bids seem to be long gone.

My builder is going to get a hard bid on finishing the house with brick/Hardie shake on the front gables instead off all Hardie lap siding to see where we'd be if we took that route. We're thinking it would be an additional $5,000 to $7,000 to brick it and in return we'd get a virtually maintenance free exterior that will utimately appraise higher.

I'm afraid, however, that going all brick will ruin the farmhouse/cottage/country look that we're going for. I want my house to be one where guests drive up and immediately have the urge to come inside and curl up on the couch next to the fireplace - homey and welcoming. Brick homes have always seemed so formal to me though I love their classic and timeless nature. Plus we are surrounded by new developments that consist of large, beautiful all brick homes. I'd like to stand out a bit... :)

I would love some opinions/input here! We sit on 6 acres with lots of trees in the front yard and have an existing sided detached garage that we intend to paint the same color as the main house. We aren't in a development and don't have to worry about pleasing neighbors or an HOA - only ourselves. :)

Side of house with 8' deep wrap around porch.

Side of house that faces our circular driveway and most visible to the public/road.

This is pic from the earlier stanges of framing but it's the only one I have that shows the relationship of the detached garage to the new house.

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I'm not one of the experts here, but I think you could get a cozy look with a handmade brick with a mix of paler colors. I think a mix of colors and the rounder edges take some of the formality from the brick.

Here is a link that might be useful: some brick I like

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:40PM
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We went through the same issue. I like homes with that have either. Since it was not a must have for me I went with mostly hardi. I have the basement and a high water table of brick and the mudroom is in stone. My goal was to make the house look built overtime...kinda. It's not strict to any style. Kinda colonial farmhouse...I think. I like so many styles and finishes I really had to just strip down and keep it basic so I would't go overboard.

Even though the cost of brick was not a back breaker it was thousands of dollars to spend on stuff I truly cared about. I decided to put my money into that stuff like a finished basement, energy efficiency, lighting, higher end appliances/ furniture, ect.

In our area both materials sell equally well. Although appraisals can be higher for brick you pay more initially. Some people are die-hard brick, trim, appliance, cabinetry, wood flooring...pick the battle that fits your budget and aesthetic. After all I don't think anyone buys a house solely because of the exterior material. It can influence, but for me the interior flow and finishes are FAR AND ABOVE more important to me.

If it were me I would put money in some knock out landscaping and interior finishes.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:05AM
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You could also consider getting hardy plus for extra .40/sq ft and they already pre-painted.

Normal lap siding in my area runs at $1.98/sq ft installed, while brick runs $6 - $7/sq ft installed. So I don't see how you can claim that $5k you could get it upgraded to brick.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 4:57AM
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Beth Parsons

Some things are a bit cheaper in the Southeast - my brick is around $3.50 sq/ft installed - $265/1000 queen brick (contractor's cost) plus sand, mortar and $250/1000 for labor. The brick rep is coming out to the house today to do a take off to see how much more it will take to do the whole thing. The final cost after tax is around $650 per 1000 bricks for materials and labor.

The Hardie guy came in at $21,000 for materials and labor and we'd still need to paint for around $4k or $5k. For that price we could install another 36,000 to 40,000 bricks. If my math is incorrect please feel free to point me in the correct direction!

As far as the ColorPlus product - we considered it but after discussing the pros and cons with installers, our builder and the area Hardie rep, ultimately decided that we'd prefer to paint ourselves.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:19AM
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There is no way brick will be even close.I live in the southeast as well and these are the prices we are getting

I am not for sure of how many sq ft of wall area you have, but I will base it on 5000sq/ft

it takes 7 brick to cover a sq ft, so 5000 sq ft will take 35,000 brick. A brick cost about .35 each and labor will be close to the same at .35 each. So .70 each not including morter, sand ,waste and the separate pricing for any steps, etc.

total for 5000 sqft brick wall only, labor and material will be $24,500. add in the waste factor and other items and you could easily go over $25,000.

so for your math above, $5000 will merely get you roughly 7000 brick. Nowhere near the 36,000 you posted above.

Oh, and your siding guys price seems way to high. Depends on the sq ft of wall area.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:55AM
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Beth Parsons

"The Hardie guy came in at $21,000 for materials and labor and we'd still need to paint for around $4k or $5k. For that price we could install another 36,000 to 40,000 bricks."

I will admit that I struggle with math but here's how I got that number:
Brick and labor together cost $650 per 1,000 - that includes the brick at .265 per, 1 ton of sand at $26/ton, 7.5 bags of mortar at $8.50/ea, tax at 9.75% plus $250 in labor (the rate for each 1,000 brick.) The Hardie materials and labor bid is for $21,000. If I go with brick instead of Hardie, that same $21,000 would buy me 32,000 bricks + the mortar and cover the labor (21000/$650). Since we wouldn't need to paint, the $4k allocated there would buy another 6,000 bricks give or take, for a total of 38,000. If I'm missing something please let me know before I pull the trigger tomorrow!

We have about 4,500 sq/ft of wall to brick and are using queen size which takes 5.2 bricks per sq/ft. Including 5% for waste/breakage, that comes to 24,570 bricks which, at $650 per 1000 equals $15,970.50. Right?

The Hardie quote seemed really high to me, too, but we planned for a mix of horizontal lap and board and batten, 6" frieze all around plus 4" window trim on 26 windows and my builder said what this guy was charging ($85/square for lap and $150/square for b&b) was the going rate. We could have dropped a lot of the 'pretty stuff' and saved $4000 but it wouldn't have looked the same, imo. The Hardie guy included soffits in that quote so we have to account for that added cost as well if we go brick. O_o

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 6:47PM
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That is a house that demands to be horizontally sided if you are going after the farmhouse look. Brick would look totally inappropriate on it.

Something HAS to be wrong with your math. Cement siding is usually half to 2/3 the cost of brick. Check out Nichia also. Not as well known as Hardie, but usually cheaper and just as good.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 6:59PM
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Frankly, I prefer either all brick or all hardie - looks more custom to me. The mix of materials thing is something I have never understood, since there rarely seems to be a reason for it. The one exception is the house where materials change thoughtfully, so it looks like it was built over time, or the house with either stone or brick water tables and chimney and shingle or lap siding . . .

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:04PM
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I think this house looks like it should have a hardi exterior. The beautiful trees, style of house, etc just says please put siding on me. :)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Your hardy quote way too high, 4500 sq ft-> $9000 installed including materials, ok lets say $10,000. $21000 - $4 sq ft, with material $0.80/sq ft. They are charging way too much for lap.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Beth Parsons


Nichia was .60 MORE per board than the Hardie. Go figure...

athensmom - I absolutely agree re: mixing of materials and that's something I'm REALLY struggling with here. If we don't brick the front gables I'd use either Hardi shake or board & batten in hopes of recapturing some of the country look even though it's not technically correct.

Lexmom - thank you for the kids words about the location! I grew up here and have such strong ties to that plot of land. My Dad planted many trees on special occassions such as his anniversary and for birthdays and even though he's long gone, my Mom can still remember which tree was for which occassion - it's a living history I can pass along to my kids!

I know I shouldn't care what others think but sided homes, even Hardi, are *really* looked down on around here. In the neighborhood across the street an absolutely gorgeous home was built with board and batten Hardie and stone - not a cheap combo by any means. The neighbors, however, felt it 'cheapened' the 'hood and the HOA basically drove those people out of there. It's been 6 years and people STILL talk about 'that sided house.' It's pretty pathetic but I also run a boutique type business out of my home and appearances matter - many people I deal with on a daily basis are more impressed with what people have than who they really are or how they treat others, unfortunately.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:59PM
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Beth Parsons

shifrvb - The materials alone are at $8000 and that doesn't include the Hardi soffits! And that was cheaper than Nichia.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:01PM
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Parsonse - I know what you mean about the south liking their brick homes! I'm not terribly far from you (Chatt area) and we've experienced a bit of that too, from our own neighbors. Thankfully a lot of upper end neighborhoods are building mixed material homes and that's helped me feel better about our choice of shake/board & batten and stone. And it was pretty darned expensive. I almost felt like we could have bricked the house for what it cost us to use the other materials, but I wanted the mixed materials look.

I would say to do what you really want to do on your home. You're on a big piece of property and you don't have an HOA to contend with. I am curious though - are you able to change to brick now that you're structure is up? When we started building - our builder said we couldn't have changed our minds if we wanted to because it was set up for a brick water table and then Hardie siding above that.

I have spent alot of time in the boro - had 2 kids at college there and one played soccer for a while. We had lots of late night drives back and forth!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:51AM
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I'd go with brick. For the return on your investment, the price difference is rather small, and you'll have a more sturdy, more energy efficient house. As you say, it'll appraise higher and will be more maintenance-free.

I wouldn't have to think twice on this one.
But then, I am a Southerner.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:43AM
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I have all brick and love looks substantial to me, and has a more solid "feel" than our old house which was Hardie.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:23AM
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> The materials alone are at $8000 and that doesn't include the Hardi soffits! And that was cheaper than Nichia.

I don't know anything about your house. Hardy - $0.80 sq ft period. Let's say you add 15% waste. $1/sq ft for install.

Are you saying you don't need soffits with brick?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:27PM
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