Designs that use brick, stone or stucco have long been on-trend, and you might notice specific regions of the United States feature these popular materials heavily. But these materials can present (sometimes messy) challenges to contractors and builders. Fiber-cement siding offers the same kind of design versatility, but without the mess, and can help homeowners enhance their exterior design.
Materials like brick and stucco have had long-standing popularity, but modern exteriors call for more flexible solutions.
There’s a reason the process for brick or stucco construction is called a “wet scope of work.”
These installations require mixing mortar or plaster on the job site, using cement and sometimes sand or lime during preparation. If it sounds like a messy project, it is!
While all construction sites require clean up, the multiple steps involved in brick, stone or stucco construction can often put project timelines behind. The process is labor-intensive: Builders lay masonry units (bricks or stones), along with a mortar mixture for binding, to create the structure.
The mortar is typically mixed on the job site and has to be monitored and mixed throughout the construction project to maintain its consistency. Many jobs will have a certified masonry installer on-site to keep the process moving along. But this requires additional attention and time, just to ensure the materials are created and installed correctly.
And if you’re in a particularly wet climate, the job can sometimes be delayed for weeks (or more) since the materials can’t be installed unless it’s dry outside.
With the additional cost and time that goes into construction, it’s no wonder that materials like brick and stone are considered luxury items. But it shouldn’t require extra steps or headaches to get an exterior design that’s impressive.
There are other exterior siding options that offer homeowners high performance and high style design.
In some regions, like the Southeast, stucco is featured prominently on home exteriors. Stucco offers a cheaper alternative to brick and stone to homeowners and provides adequate weather and fire protection.
But in hot, wet climates like Florida, exterior materials need to be able to perform in harsh conditions and should be able to stand up over time. Stucco materials will soften over the years, and wet climates eventually wear down stucco surfaces; traditional stucco is typically warrantied for around seven years.
Brick and stone offer long-term protection to homeowners, and these materials are more popular in the North where winters are more severe. But brick and stone can be prohibitive when it comes to cost. Brick, stone and stucco are also prone to cracking and “pops,” which can cause deterioration over time. These cracks and bubbles are common reasons for callbacks after brick or stone construction is complete, since they can cause foundation and air filtration issues later on.
This kind of demand for durable-but-affordable exterior materials have encouraged more innovative building solutions and paved the way for fiber-cement panels. Homeowners and professionals can avoid costly callbacks and get the look they’re after the first time around by using high performing materials like fiber-cement siding.
Today’s fiber-cement panels come in a variety of finishes, including brick and stone styles to elevate your exterior with your own personal taste. And when using the right fiber-cement company, you can be confident your siding will be long-lasting. Fiber-cement siding from Nichiha features a standard warranty of 15 years on its architectural panels.
Fiber-cement siding offers impressive durability and exterior protection for homeowners that need an alternative to brick, stone or stucco. Nichiha fiber-cement panels feature a rainscreen system for additional moisture protection.
With ½-inch thick Sierra lapboard, Nichiha panels are IBC code-compliant and can be used as exterior cladding in fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies for fire protection.
When you’re choosing materials for your home’s exterior, the life-cycle cost of those products should be a priority. After the job is done, the home will still need maintenance to keep it in top condition.
The true costs of exterior materials should be measured by its maintenance and any replacement cost over its years of use. Whether you’re remodeling or designing a new home, here are how different materials stack up when it comes to cost and maintenance.
Brick: Can range from $6 to $15 per square foot. There’s little to no maintenance required, but it should be inspected regularly for deterioration, and repair can be costly.
Stone: Can range from $35 to $50 per square foot. While a stone exterior offers great home protection and requires little maintenance, it’s the most costly to replace and needs a trained professional to install it.
Stucco: $6 to $9 per square foot in sunbelt (or “smile states”), and about double that in Northern states. It requires repainting and frequent maintenance to keep it from deteriorating, especially in wet climates.
Fiber-Cement: Some fiber-cement materials cost as little as $1 a square foot, but typically, well-made fiber-cement siding can range from $5 to $15 per square foot. Fiber-cement is easy to maintain since it’s so durable, and repair only requires replacing the damaged panel or shingles. Fiber-cement can also be installed by any trained general contractor.
Nichiha’s fiber-cement panels offer durability and weather-resistant solutions to homeowners that want long-term solutions for their homes and don’t require the upkeep or replacement costs that other exterior materials do.
“Homeowners have been less transient the last few years,” reports Realtor magazine. That’s a change from a few years ago, when people bought and sold their homes more frequently. “Homeowners who stay longer, however, are seeing higher gains at resale,” reports Realtor. It makes sense to choose materials that will help maintain your home’s style for as long as you’re in the home.
Not only does fiber-cement siding work seamlessly with your exterior design, but it offers affordable and durable alternatives to the home cladding that beat out brick, stone and stucco.
By offering enhanced exterior protection, weather-resilience and design versatility, Nichiha fiber-cement panels give homeowners more solutions than other materials and guarantee you love your home for as long as you’re in it.Need more inspiration? You can check out more of our favorite projects here.