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part brick, part hardi-plank


BWSchultz

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What's the deal with that? Let the rant begin...

Most middle range new homes in suburban Houston (and maybe elsewhere around the country) are about 75% brick and then about 25% hardi-plank. This usually happens on the 2nd story of homes on the sides and rear. I just don't get it. OBVIOUSLY, it costs less, but it doesn't look good at all. There is typically some kind of cutout on the sides, sometimes at an angle for crying out loud, where the brick stops and faux-wood begins. How much more could it cost to brick that remaining 10%-25%? $5000? Wouldn't a lot of people do this? That's not much over 30 years.

Note, this is not an anti-suburban housing rant. I own a suburban home in Pearland. However, my fiancee and I deliberately picked a one-story design so we would have ALL brick, save a little bit of hardi-plank in the entry patio area, maybe 6'x10' on either side of the front door. And what's wrong with a brick chimney? Those are all hardi-plank or something else, too. One of my neighbors just built a house that is stone/stucco on the front and half brick/ half "siding" on the side of the house. The house looks great if you're looking straight at it... but from any angle, I just want to cry out "WHYYYYYY!!!"

Ok, I'm done ranting. Can anyone else explain why (other than saving a few bucks and a few days in construction)?

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It's all about where it structally does not make sense to brick. You can brick anything, but it gets more expenseive in harder spots.

According to David Yates, Dallas has the least tollerance for hardi-plak. Austin does not seem to mind it that much, and Houston is about in the middle.

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Can anyone else explain why (other than saving a few bucks and a few days in construction)?

Ultimately it is money. Some homebuilders will let the "new" homeowner pay more to get a fully bricked structure. But some homebuilders are against it because the homeowners who don't have it will start questioning why one home does and another doesn't.

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Ultimately it is money. Some homebuilders will let the "new" homeowner pay more to get a fully bricked structure. But some homebuilders are against it because the homeowners who don't have it will start questioning why one home does and another doesn't.

Well, the builders are certainly not offering it as an option. There are different elevations but they typically have the same rear and sides. I bet if it showed up on the option list as "Full brick, no hardi-plank: $5000" at least 50% of the people would do it.

That makes me grind my teeth. My dentist told me to avert my eyes but it's everywhere!

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Why the aversion to Hardie-Plank?

My entire two-story house is Hardie-Plank. Fire resistant, weather resistant, termite-proof, lasts forever.

One of my favorite characteristics of Hardie-Plank is that it can be PAINTED! That means that houses in our neighborhood can actually be different colors! Imagine that! Instead of an entire subdivision consisting of 2 shades of brick and 3 shades of paint (beige, gray, and off-beige), we get a bright, beautiful colorful neighborhood!

I hear it from people at work all the time, complaining about people with Hardie-Plank on their houses. They can't believe their boss owns one. :lol:

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Why the aversion to Hardie-Plank?

My entire two-story house is Hardie-Plank. Fire resistant, weather resistant, termite-proof, lasts forever.

One of my favorite characteristics of Hardie-Plank is that it can be PAINTED! That means that houses in our neighborhood can actually be different colors! Imagine that! Instead of an entire subdivision consisting of 2 shades of brick and 3 shades of paint (beige, gray, and off-beige), we get a bright, beautiful colorful neighborhood!

I hear it from people at work all the time, complaining about people with Hardie-Plank on their houses. They can't believe their boss owns one. :lol:

You missed the point. I have no aversion to hardi-plank. I have an aversion to hardi-plank/brick hybrids. Imagine if you took your beautiful two-story house and randomly made a section on the second floor brick veneer. Not the entire second story, not an entire side. Maybe just half of a wall on one side of the house. Would that flow correctly? Would that look right? Nope. The same is true in reverse.

I don't think termites eat brick either.

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It is very ugly, and yes, they are doing to to save money for the home buyer and it is easier since it is less brick to lay by hand. :mellow:

Yes, but builders would rather make more money. Like I said, I bet many homeowners would take the option if it were offered, even if their house was the only one on the block that was full brick or full hardi-plank instead of a hybrid. It's amazing because almost every new house in Houston between 150k and 300k (most homes) is done in this ugly fashion. I think people don't complain because, well, that's what everything looks like.

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If builders could make a bunch of money doing it they would. Believe me, as a guy that goes against the grain many times in building (to the detrimate of my pocket book). People are nitpickingon price for the most part. They REALLY do not care about the quality of the home, only the quality of the finish. Its unfortunate but true. I'm so fed up with trying to "sell" people on hy I'm different that I am probably going to make a bunch of changes to my homes in the future. They aren't going to be bad houses, just what people want to pay for.

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Funny that you mention that... We've been house hunting for the longest time. My hubbie, without fail, would always point out, "Look! It's half siding! Why should we pay for half brick and half siding??" I had never noticed it before. (I blame his KY blood - I had to explain Hardi-Plank.)

We've seen a lot of older homes where they've added on rooms or merged a duplex into one and don't want to bother with the brick. Instead, they just slap on some hardi. Until Daniel really started making it an issue (i.e.: we didn't even look at the house unless it was all brick or all hardi) of the whole thing, I didn't mind because all the builders do it.

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I don't think you are listening.

Sometimes it's not just as easy as stakcing more bricks up a two story wall.

You have to take other measure to ensure the bricks actually stay in place.

Are you in construction or an architect? As an engineer, I have a natural curiousity. Best I can tell from this discussion, the builders don't believe they can make a good enough profit on an all brick house without pricing out their target demographic.

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  • 1 year later...

I agree with the original poster, in my opinion, the hybrids don't look too appealing. But my real point in reviving this old thread is that some builders DO allow an upgrade option for full brick. I am currently building a new home (Ashton Woods), and upgraded for full-brick in the rear of the structure. It's only a 1-story home, but the 2-story plans from Ashton Woods also have upgrades for full-brick. It's not cheap, but if you don't like that hybrid look, it's worth it. It also avoids the future cost of repainting the hardi-plank.

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This very issue is one of my pet peeves with most new residential construction. I understand that minimizing construction costs is the ultimate goal, but there are more elegant ways to combine brick and hardi-plank that would not cost any more that the current "solutions." The problem stems from bad design and people's ignorance and/or willingness to accept it.

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We have a hardi-plank/Texas Limestone creation being built behind us. That may be almost worse than the brick and hardi-plank. Hardi-plank on the front gables of this house mind you. Talk about an eye-sore. Ick. Also, being close to the bayou, hubby and I can't figure out this trend of building hill country houses on the bayou. The neighborhood was originally built with Southern Colonel and Southern Georgian. Its seems so out of place will all the Spanish Moss dangling out of the 40 year old oak trees.

Edited by KatieDidIt
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I totally don't get the brick/hardie-plank thing either. I never saw that before I came to Houston. If you're going to build a brick house, brick it all (unless you are adding another material for design reasons). Nothing wrong with a hardi plank house if you are going for an all-wood look house, but to only brick 3 sides or to brick everything except bits and pieces here and there (like areas along angled roof lines). Where I came from, if you saw a house only partially bricked, it was in a lower middle class neighborhood. But here, you see it on 300K houses! If you are already building a house at that price, how much more can it add to the cost to brick the entire house? After living here for 2 years, I have become accustomed to the sight of it, but I still don't understand it.

Edited by cla
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Funny that you mention that... We've been house hunting for the longest time. My hubbie, without fail, would always point out, "Look! It's half siding! Why should we pay for half brick and half siding??" I had never noticed it before. (I blame his KY blood - I had to explain Hardi-Plank.)

Care to explain it to me? What exactly is hardi-plank? In my neck of the woods, vinyl siding is used.

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And why do people buy these cookie cutter houses? Because that's all the builders offer at their price point, or because they really like them? I can understand wanting a new house, but I can't understand the popularity of all the new houses out there. Seems like buyers hands are tied. If you want a new affordable house you have to forego all sense of taste. And that's another reason we live in a 50 year old house.

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Hardi Plank is concrete planks. So you could say that a Hardi Plank house is a concrete house.

Correction, Hardiplank is a composite material (one of the ingredients is cement, not concrete). I believe if it was purely concrete, it could be called masonry and used in place of brick, rock, and concrete blocks, and would be structural, which it is not. In fact, we had a dispute in my previous neighborhood when one of the residents attempted to build an addition made out of Hardiplank and then tried to call it masonry so that he would still meet the deed restriction's masonry requirements :blush:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardiplank

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And why do people buy these cookie cutter houses? Because that's all the builders offer at their price point, or because they really like them? I can understand wanting a new house, but I can't understand the popularity of all the new houses out there. Seems like buyers hands are tied. If you want a new affordable house you have to forego all sense of taste. And that's another reason we live in a 50 year old house.

It comes off a bit narrow-minded of you to presume that all these houses you have never been in are cookie cutter or at a low price point. It may seem obvious to you that these new homes lack what is usually defined as character in a house but I find these qualities to be subjective. You presume that buyers hands are tied because they do not want to live where you do or in the type of house that you like. This is folly and quite arogant of you.

perhaps you should broaden your own perspective more to at least include granting others there own opinions without declaring that they are fools or beggars.

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Narrow-minded and arrogant, you have me pegged.

However, it seems like it would be tough for me to find a new aesthetically pleasing house, unless I want to hire an architect and build it myself. I have the architect already picked out, should I ever do that, but finding the right vacant land is another matter.

You're right, I can't force my aesthetics on anyone else and I have very little business nosing around in anything but the Houston Mod forum. Feel free to PM me if you ever want to come see my house. I'm always eager to share it.

Jason

It comes off a bit narrow-minded of you to presume that all these houses you have never been in are cookie cutter or at a low price point. It may seem obvious to you that these new homes lack what is usually defined as character in a house but I find these qualities to be subjective. You presume that buyers hands are tied because they do not want to live where you do or in the type of house that you like. This is folly and quite arogant of you.

perhaps you should broaden your own perspective more to at least include granting others there own opinions without declaring that they are fools or beggars.

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I am nothing short of arrogant and narrow minded myself sometimes, I always say what good is it to have an opinion if you don't believe it to be fact. But to the point of this post, builders of new construction is this area do tend to get locked into just a handful of housing styles and materials that I concede are not desirable to all. I personally am not attracted to the " sugar brick" style of houses as I read them described by someone on HAIF once, that is the square 2 story brick home that is very bland and homogenious. For this reason and a general dislike for a house with stairs I choose a large one story home but I do value my planned community, suburban, lifestyle. Of course somewhere such as West University would be a nice place to live in it's own right, each to his own decisions and opinions. Would I be more happy if my dettached garage was all brick construction versus hardiplank, well to tell the truth from the street one can only see my garage door, and to be a brick garage structurally would be a waste of resources in my opinion. I will have to paint just my garage every ten years, cheers

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Personally, I can't figure out what the big deal is. If you look at Houston houses that are 50+ years old, you will also see a mix of brick and another material, such as stucco or wood. Hardiplank is essentially a wood substitue. The fact that builders use brick and hardi today, is no different than using brick and wood many years ago. I admit that I like brick better (my house is brick on all 4 sides), but I hardly see the use of brick and wood (or a wood substitute) as something that should be "blamed" on today's builders.

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Personally, I can't figure out what the big deal is. If you look at Houston houses that are 50+ years old, you will also see a mix of brick and another material, such as stucco or wood. Hardiplank is essentially a wood substitue. The fact that builders use brick and hardi today, is no different than using brick and wood many years ago. I admit that I like brick better (my house is brick on all 4 sides), but I hardly see the use of brick and wood (or a wood substitute) as something that should be "blamed" on today's builders.

Good point really. Many of the houses in my 50 year old neighborhood are a combo of brick and cedar shingle siding. Then as you go north into the more expensive neighborhoods they become all brick.

flipper

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Good point really. Many of the houses in my 50 year old neighborhood are a combo of brick and cedar shingle siding. Then as you go north into the more expensive neighborhoods they become all brick.

flipper

I'm not fond of the all brick look. I've seen some new development where every house is made from the same color brick. It looks like the land has warts.

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I admit that I like brick better (my house is brick on all 4 sides), but I hardly see the use of brick and wood (or a wood substitute) as something that should be "blamed" on today's builders.

when the builders are using all the same brick/hardi combo and all the same exterior paint in the same neighborhood...well...i blame the builders.

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when the builders are using all the same brick/hardi combo and all the same exterior paint in the same neighborhood...well...i blame the builders.

You should blame the HOA. Hardi is paintable. Bricks, well, there aren't a lot of options in bricks... you get red, cream, gray or some variation thereof.

If you want a custom home, build one. If you want a home that is homogenous (which is what years of real estate purchases have shown most people to want) a brick and non-brick combo with basic colors and MAYBE some painted trim, is pretty much right on target for most of the U.S.

Builders build what the masses want to afford, where they want to afford it.

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You should blame the HOA. Hardi is paintable. Bricks, well, there aren't a lot of options in bricks... you get red, cream, gray or some variation thereof.

If you want a custom home, build one. If you want a home that is homogenous (which is what years of real estate purchases have shown most people to want) a brick and non-brick combo with basic colors and MAYBE some painted trim, is pretty much right on target for most of the U.S.

Builders build what the masses want to afford, where they want to afford it.

Great Post.

flipper

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