Masonry Siding:
So Many Choices!

Masonry siding is an umbrella title for a great number of options for siding your home.

In addition to the following materials, just about every variety has a synthetic "look-alike" - each having its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Masonry's pluses include excellent durability and minimal maintenance, but expect the costs to be more expensive than vinyl or wood.

  • Brick Siding
    Brick siding is one of the most popular masonry siding materials. It is a natural product, made of clay and/or shale. The material is fired and then hardened in a kiln. It is quite durable and long lasting, and can definitely be classified as a "green" siding - particularly if it is available locally and is easily obtainable. A variety of shades and colors are available.

  • Cement Siding
    Cement block, also known as cinder block or open-face block is an option that can be beautiful and yet may cost less than some other masonry siding products. Softer cement can absorb more water than harder materials such as stone or hard brick. Concrete block comes in various styles and colors.

  • Stone Siding
    Used since the beginning of time, stone siding is very durable and beautiful. Drawbacks include the high cost, and the difficulty of labor (as well as securing skilled labor). Stones can be used in their natural state, or cut to uniform sizes. Obviously, stonework requires high degree of skill and an exceptionally strong back.

  • Stucco Siding
    Stucco siding is particularly popular in hotter climates. Traditionally, stucco is formulated with Portland cement, sand, lime and water. Sometimes other substances are added, and these admixtures should be tested by people who are sensitive to chemicals. Skilled labor is recommended since stucco needs to bond properly.

    A waterproofing barrier of some type will also be needed.

Brick Veneer, Brick Face,
or Faux Brick

This type of synthetic masonry siding is often called thin brick or brick veneer. It can be made from a number of materials, including cement, shale, and in some cases, a thin layer of clay.

Though not structural in nature, it gives a veneer of brick-likeness. According the www.askthebuilder .com, brick or brick veneer is not a Do-It-Yourself project. Essential is the breathe-ability of the brick or veneer, and you will want to have this inspected.

Cultured Stone

Cultured stone is a lightweight product that is a substitute for real stone. I have seen some cultured stone that looked rather "fake" to me, and then I have seen some that I had to knock on to see if I could tell if it was real or not! Be sure to see samples of this faux stone (colors vary) to be sure you like the appearance.

Cultured stone is much less expensive than real stone, and much easier to install. Many people also have their fireplaces built with cultured stone to get the "look" without the prohibitive price tag of natural stone.

Synthetic Stucco

Synthetic stucco, also known as EIFS (for exterior insulation finish systems) has run into a myriad of troubles. It seems this system promotes moisture problems, and there are numerous people with nightmarish stories to tell about their experiences with EIFS.

For an eye-opening experience, simply Google the above word or words, and you will see legal notices and trouble brewing at the mention of it.

Some are quick to point out that original stucco and the newest synthetic mixes work well in moist conditions. I, for one, would not purchase a synthetic stucco until it has years of success behind it.

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