After wood or wood-look siding, such as vinyl, stone or brick siding are the next most popular choice of home siding in America. On the practical side, both materials offer durability and stability; and in aesthetic terms give a sense of permanence that many find very attractive. Brick and stone have been used for building exterior siding around the globe for centuries, and according to the American Brick Industry Association “one can still see many of America’s early, colonial, brick structures – ranging from Virginia’s St. Luke’s Church (est. 1632) and Boston’s State House (circa 1713) to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (1732-1753).“
Stylistically, stone siding and brick siding were used in all kinds of historical building styles (except really for the classic Cape Cod house or rural buildings such as barns). Brownstone houses are typically townhouses that were made popular in the creation of cities such as New York and Portland, in the 1700s-1800s when brown Triassic-Jurassic sandstone was a popular choice of construction material. This material was also known as freestone and used most notably in colonial Pennsylvania for country homes and mills. Stone or brick continue to be used in contemporary, modern house designs too.
However, today, the most cost-effective way to get the stone or brick look is to opt for lightweight stone veneer siding or brick veneer siding rather than actual natural stone slabs of full-sized bricks. Veneers can either be completely natural thin layers cut from a block of natural stone, or manufactured where composite construction materials such as concrete or fiber-cement and stone aggregates are combined to mimic the look and feel of stone or brick; also available on the market is faux stone siding, made with vinyl or polyurethane.
So, here are the main brick and stone siding style options:
Both real and veneer bricks are available in a range of color and texture options, ranging from deep red clay to stoney gray. Brick veneer is basically a thinner version of a standard clay brick, that to the naked eye looks exactly the same; the finished product is even grouted just like a standard brick.
Cobblestone profiles resemble the stones used in historical European architecture, typically for rural housing and buildings. The stones are different rectangular sizes with uniform edges that fit together is loosely aligned rows. Cut Cobblestone has a more chiselled face texture, and therefore slightly more rustic feel.
This profile is made using stones that have been perfectly cut into rectangular shapes of different sizes that slot neatly together in a regular pattern. It gives a building a very neat and ordered aesthetic, unlike other more rustic, textured profiles.
The Field stone siding profile is made of a mosaic of uneven shaped and textured stones with somewhat rounded edges, fitting magically together like a giant puzzle. It mimics very rustic, traditional houses that were handmade using whatever stones were to hand. Tuscan Fieldstone has a much more rugged/ jagged face texture, almost like each stone has been chiselled out of a bigger rock and then weathered down by the elements.
These profiles are further variations of the Fieldstone style. Manor stone is essentially a combination of field and ledge stones, offering a somewhat more tailored look than the casual mosaic free form of Fieldstone. River stone is just as randomly patterned as Fieldstone, but here the stones are made to look like large pebbles – rather like what you might find on the bottom of a babbling brook.
This type of stone profile (also known as True Stack or Dry Stack) is made of tightly stacked layers of cut stone. Stacked horizontally and with each stone varied in width and height, each layer looks as if it’s been carefully calibrated by hand. Although it’s supposed to be a rural inspired look, in actual fact this type of siding profile is increasingly being seen on contemporary, modernist buildings.
These profiles are similar to Stack, but here the stacked ledge stones are all more equally balanced and wider in height. Whilst with simple Ledgestone the surface texture is smooth; Shadow Ledgestone is rougher with serrated edges; Ridgestone is finished with a grooved and rippled texture; and Cascade Ledge is a mix of ledge stones and cobbles for added interest.
As with wood, vinyl and fiber cement siding; stone and brick siding retailers will also offer ranges of accessories to finish and compliment the profile you have chosen. Common stone and brick siding accessories include:
– Corner stone: these are used to finish the corners of your building and there are usually different decorative styles to choose from.
– Capstone/ Tapered Capstone: these are used to finish the tops of walls, ledges and columns.
– Keystone: are a decorative stone used at the center point of archways, or above windows or garages.
– Tapered Sill: are shaped stones used as window sills or for the transition between siding materials.
– Shutter Block: can be used as a decorative stone under a window shutter.
– Soldier: is a squarish shaped stone that frames windows and edges
– Date/ Address Stone: a special decorative stone into which the building’s construction date, or the address, house number etc can be chiselled.
– Electrical or Light Box: a stone frame for electrical and utility fixtures