The exterior of a house is of great importance when buying a home or remodeling. The exterior is subjected to the most damage, as it faces the elements on a daily basis. Choosing the wrong exterior can result in costly or unexpected maintenance issues, including total replacement of the exterior.
Stone exteriors have many pros and cons. True natural stone is extremely heavy, which can put a lot of stress onto the overall structure of the house. Though natural stone is extremely durable, requiring little to no maintenance and often lasting the entire life of the house, it is also extremely expensive up front. Some people and companies have begun opting for faux stone fronts. Faux stones are plastic or vinyl panels of realistic-looking rocks that require more maintenance than natural stone, including regular cleaning and eventual replacement.
Brick exteriors can be extremely appealing to many buyers. They require little maintenance and can improve resale value by up to 6 percent, according to the Brick Industry Association of Reston, Virginia. Brick exteriors are also better able to block outside noise and are fireproof, adding to their appeal. However, should the brick become damaged, it will be more expensive to fix, and it can be difficult to match the color of new brick with aged or weathered brick. In comparison to stone, brick is cheaper and easier to lay. Brick is also stronger than stone, based on similar thicknesses of stone versus brick.
Stucco exteriors are extremely popular with newly built homes, especially in the South and along the West Coast. Stucco is a material made from cement, so it, too, is fireproof. Like stone and brick, stucco is relatively maintenance-free. However, this type of exterior can be extremely expensive to install. Over time, stucco can crack, but the cracks are often easy to patch and can be done by the homeowner to save money.
Choosing Between Stone, Stucco and Brick
Each of the three exteriors are relatively maintenance-free. At most, they require being rinsed off with a hose once or twice a year to remove dirt and debris buildup. However, all three can also be extremely costly in terms of initial installation, though brick tends to be the least expensive due to the ease of the installation process. Stucco is the most easily changed in terms of color; brick can also be painted, while stone can look unusual if painted. In short, choosing between the three may boil down to budget or personal preference.