The outdoor appearance of your house is not just a matter of attractiveness and aesthetics. The material you use to build your home will make a big difference since it affects energy efficiency, lifespan, and stability. There has been a controversy over whether it is better to choose vinyl siding vs. brick for years.
People who prefer the traditional home look often choose a brick because it fully meets that condition and is a durable and reliable solution. On the other hand, vinyl is a durable material you can get at an affordable price and wide range of colors and profiles. Since building your home is a long-term solution, it is advisable to think carefully before a final decision.
This material is made of polyvinyl chloride resin, is easy to maintain, and doesn’t require painting. Contemporary vinyl siding is decently resistant to weather conditions, insects and is almost indestructible if you don’t mind panels’ fading and warping.
Making vinyl can also be done with molds, so some models have the texture and look of wood paneling, which can satisfy even supporters of the traditional home appearance. Its role as exterior cladding is to beautify your home and protection it from adverse weather conditions.
One of the advantages is that you can choose between various colors and shapes, which offers many possibilities for combining. Even energy-saving versions are available, and some models provide wind protection up to 240 mph (386 km/h).
Vinyl siding appeared in the 1950s as an alternative to aluminum siding unsuitable for construction due to its excessive flexibility. Its quality was initially not good enough to be accepted as a building material. Vinyl panels had poor performance and quickly faded, sagged, and cracked over time.
With the advancement of technology, vinyl siding has improved its performance. Nowadays, it is the most commonly used material in the US and Canada, thanks to numerous advantages and quick installation.
You can place the vinyl siding on any surface as long as it is flat and undamaged. Used panels are more suspended than attached to sliding rails nailed to the house wall, so vinyl siding can expand and contract according to changes in outdoor temperature.
Due to the vinyl siding flexibility at high temperatures, some manufacturers have decided to use polypropylene to get a thicker and more durable product.
This material requires regular maintenance since dirt and mold accumulate between panels. There are many ways to clean it, but the most common is hand washing with a solution of 70% water and 30% vinegar. You can also make a mixture of liquid bleach, detergent, and water.
Another option is pressure washing with a pressure washer. In that case, be careful to prevent water from passing behind the vinyl siding and wetting the walls of your home. Once your facade fades, you will need to replace it.
For the most part, the composition of bricks is a mixture of silicon (sand) and alumina (clay), more precisely 70 to 90% by weight. The rest make up lime, iron oxide, and magnesia. This material is available in different colors and shapes, depending on its purpose.
The location in the Turkish city of Jericho shows that the bricks were known as a building material in 7,000 BC. The first bricks were made of mud and dried in the sun to harden.
The ancient Egyptians made bricks from a mixture of straw and clay, but their production entirely depended on the sun. The discovery of baked bricks around 3,500 BC enabled the use of bricks in colder regions, as well.
Brick production in ancient Rome took place in the spring, and Romans used only red and white clay as the best options. Bricks from Rome spread throughout Europe until the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
However, the production continued in Italy and spread to France in the 11th century. Nowadays, you can see the remains of buildings in England that prove the popularity of brick masonry in the 17th century.
Bricks appeared in Virginia, the US, in the 17th century. Some of the local buildings were built of brick during 1611. Until the outbreak of the Industrial Revolution, bricks production was manual. After that, it switched to machine production, which provided a larger quantity of this product.
You can use bricks in construction to make walls, fences, and canopies by stacking them in rows and interconnect with glue or mortar. Thanks to their performance, bricks are one of the longest-lasting and strongest materials you can find.
The best brick advantage is that this material doesn’t require practically any maintenance.
Vinyl Siding vs. Brick
Vinyl siding and bricks are the two most popular facade materials. The choice you make between them will affect your home look, energy efficiency, safety, and overall lifespan. Therefore, you should get acquainted with the advantages and downsides of each of them before making a final decision.
The advantage of vinyl siding is in many colors and designs, so you can find a solution that matches your ideas, although the house look won’t be so attractive.
Brick will provide the traditional, rustic home look and its longevity. The drawbacks of this option are the brick shapes limitation and insufficient tone selection.
If your home location is in a region with extreme weather conditions, bricks are a better choice. Although vinyl siding is relatively sturdy, it is not suitable for areas with extreme temperature variations. Also, bricks are a much better choice in areas with a potential risk of tornadoes because they are more durable than vinyl.
Brick has natural properties of thermal mass or the ability to absorb and release heat. For you as a homeowner, this means your brick house will be cooler during the summer months and will retain heat during the winter. Therefore, you will have less need for additional cooling or heating.
Since vinyl siding doesn’t have good thermal mass properties, you will need to use additional cooling or heating, depending on the season. That will increase your energy bills in both seasons.
One thing is for sure. Bricks are made of natural material, while vinyl siding is non-recyclable PVC. In other words, you can notice bricks’ significant environmental impact only in the production phase.
In that period, it is necessary to fire clay at temperatures from 1,580 to 1,870 F (860 – 1020 C) to get the durable and frost-proof product.
On the other hand, vinyl is an artificial material that releases toxic dioxins during combustion processes. It can be potentially highly hazardous in the case of an accident and negatively impacts the environment.
Testing conducted by the Brick Industry Association puts a brick in the forefront. During exposure to fire, brick withstood the flames for more than an hour, while the vinyl began to burn after only eight minutes.
Based on these data, it is evident that the resistance of brick to fire will make your home safer than vinyl can.
One of the primary advantages of vinyl is a quick installation. It will be enough to attach each plate with screws to create a barrier to the mold and rain penetration.
There is no need to engage many workers, so it won’t be a problem finding a contractor. On the other hand, using bricks requires an experienced contractor, and it can be tricky to find one in the region where you live.
Be careful when choosing the right company in both cases since incorrect installation can lead to your home damage.
Bricks have an advantage when it comes to maintenance. This material requires a minimum of conservation, is resistant to fire and pests, and doesn’t need painting.
On the other hand, it is advisable to wash your vinyl at least once a year to clean it of mold and dirt. Also, its color will fade over time, so your only option is to replace plates when it happens.
Due to its low weight, vinyl is suitable for relocation for any reason. Its installing is uncomplicated, and its removal neither requires hiring numerous workers nor spending too many working hours. On the other hand, you can’t move bricks without demolishing the house.
Vinyl siding is a cheaper option. This material costs $2 to $8 per 1 sq ft (0.09 m2), unlike bricks that usually cost 3$ to $12 per 1 sq ft (0.09 m2). That makes the brick much more expensive than vinyl siding. Plus, vinyl siding transporting to the construction site will cost you much less since it is significantly lighter.
Both vinyl and brick are good choices for your home and can beautify its appearance. However, vinyl is a better choice if you have a limited budget because bricks cost more.
On the other hand, bricks will provide your home with a more traditional and sophisticated look. In the long term, investment in bricks is more cost-effective since they increase your home value and save money for maintenance.