The Pros and Cons of Brick vs. Vinyl Siding

This final installation of our Brick Vs. series might be the best example of beating temptation and winning in the end! Vinyl siding is incredibly popular because of its low cost – plus manufacturers now offer a wide array of colors and styles compared to the once-dreaded ‘boring beige’ of generations past. Might you be talking yourself into something that you don’t really want though? We understand that slashing your building costs is enticing in the moment, but saving today can cost you down the road. Let’s take a look at the consequences you may face by going cheap with vinyl.

Did you know that 90% of homes in America have vinyl siding? Perhaps this is one reason why manufacturers offer so many colors and choices today – so we can personalize our home. We all want our home to be distinctive and to display a curb appeal that we enjoy coming home to everyday. But, being a different color certainly doesn’t make your home quantifiably better. The only way to truly distinguish your property is through higher quality – and brick is the undisputed champion of resale value. The really good news for homebuyers is that higher quality doesn’t mean higher costs, although it appears that way when you are first building a home.

Initial Costs vs. Long-term Savings & Return
At purchase time, vinyl siding is clearly a less expensive option to brick. When we consider a home purchase as an investment, however, we need to think long term. First off, the incremental cost is spread over the amortization period (let’s say 25 years). For a 2,266 square foot project, the incremental cost of applying brick (in Nashville) is only $461.35 per year – that’s $38 per month to have brick rather than vinyl*. If we were to calculate the savings on maintenance/repair/replacement and insurance premiums when you choose brick, it could eliminate this incremental difference over time. And when you resell for 6-10% more, then you can truly cash in on your brick investment!

Downfalls of Vinyl Siding***

We’ve stated several times in our Brick Vs. series that installation is key to performance. Improper installation can cause any exterior cladding to fail – many of which are warrantied for 20 – 40 years. In the case of vinyl, poor installation can lead to moisture damage, flapping pieces, warping, and other issues that need to be corrected.

Fire Threat
Everyone is concerned with the threat of fire in our homes. A frightening reality of vinyl siding is that when it burns it releases high levels of lethal chemical vapors that can cause fatalities faster than smoke inhalation.

Wear & Tear
Today’s vinyl siding is quite resistant to bumps and knocks from everyday activity like children playing around. But power equipment, such as pressure washers, weed trimmers, lawn mowers, and snow blowers can very easily damage vinyl siding. When vinyl siding is cold, it’s quite prone to cracking and chipping from projectiles. With a brick exterior, you wouldn’t have to be so cautious when working about your home or have to deal with unsightly damage and costly repairs.

Weather Protection
It goes without saying that the United States is facing the most extreme weather in terms of storm intensity and frequency. Any building expert would agree that a masonry building provides the best protection and resistance to storm damage. Vinyl siding is susceptible to wind and projectile damage; tests at the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center of Texas Tech University show that a 9-pound, 2×4 board traveling at 34 miles per hour (the minimum speed for hurricane protection) can puncture a typical residential vinyl siding wall and extend more than 5 feet into the interior. Plus, once the exterior cladding is compromised, water can cause profound damage.

Plus, Vinyl Siding is Really Bad for the Environment

In 2018, it’s a bit surprising that manufacturers are churning out products that are harmful for the environment and people. Vinyl siding is PVC plastic resin – PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and its manufacturing processes produce greenhouse gases such as nitrogen oxide, as well as carcinogens like dioxin. Plus sulfur dioxide gets releases which causes acid rain! In fact, the people working in these plants must limit their exposure time to these harmful chemicals, which is regulated by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration. And when a home is demolished or damaged, vinyl siding cannot be recycled – it goes to the landfill.

On the other hand, brick is chemically benign, lasts for generations and can even be re-used as reclaimed brick. Check out our online brochure to learn more about the amazing benefits of brick. Review our selection online or visit your dealer to check out samples when you’re ready to start planning!

*Calculated using $2.66 per square foot for vinyl and $7.75 per square foot for queen size brick; differential on a 2,266 square foot project divided by 25 years;
**Listed price is for 2,266 square foot of exterior wall space for a 2-story home including product and typical installation using queen size brick and is based on data by RSMeans | The Gordian Group.
***The 7 Deadly Sins of Vinyl Siding,