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Does Brick Insulate Better Than Siding?

Exterior insulation materials will affect your overall interior comfort. So, if you're considering exterior applications such as bricks or siding, which material insulates best? We have gathered information so you can make the best decision.

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Brick has a higher R-value than most sidings, so technically, it is a better insulator. However, brick by itself cannot effectively insulate a home. Old brick houses, for example, can be difficult to fit with wall insulation. Fiberglass and vinyl sidings prove to be better insulators, overall, when installed properly and well-sealed.

Your home's materials will determine its comfort level, especially during unpredictable weather patterns. It's important to consider not only the material itself, but also the difficulty of installation, maintenance, and long-term energy efficiency. Keep reading below to learn more about which siding would be best for your home.

Modern contemporary brick-built home in dappled sunlght with brick driveway. - Does Brick Insulate Better Than Siding

 

Which is a Better Insulator -- Brick or Siding?

Modern brick houses are made with brick veneer, which are good insulators but prone to moisture retention, which might damage your insulation if not maintained. Apart from that, brick is only 2% more energy efficient than vinyl, which is not significant.

Close up of industrial bricklayer installing bricks on construction site

Today's modern materials have determined that, although brick has a higher R-value, its insulating capability is barely noticeable when you install it on your house.

Here is how brick compares to other siding materials.

Vinyl Vs. Brick

The brick construction we see in most modern houses is called brick veneer. This installation method offers better insulation and durability than heavy bricks.

This is because the bricks are installed over a wooden frame, which contains sheathing and sheathing paper. Most importantly, they have air space which acts as the insulator of the siding material.

Although the brick itself does not crack or swell, the mortar does. And when the mortar gets damaged, the entire wall can break, or worse, collapse. During extreme weather conditions, the tightness of the mortar might not be enough to keep the home sealed and secured.

Vinyl, on the other hand, is a more technologically-advanced material. It has a different aesthetic than brick, giving off a textured-wood look that makes a home appear more welcoming.

Compared to brick, it doesn't require a lot of maintenance, and vinyl withstands unpredictable weather patterns better because of its effective water resistance.

However, the caveat of vinyl siding is that it is prone to warp when exposed to temperatures higher than 165F. A way to work around this is to paint the siding a lighter color so it won't absorb too much heat and light.

Read: "What Color Siding Goes With Black Windows?"

Vinyl Vs. Fiberglass

Vinyl and fiberglass are both modern siding materials, but comparatively, fiberglass is said to be the most durable siding for houses.

Fiberglass outlasts most natural materials such as wood, and doesn't warp, crack, or suffer moisture damage which could sometimes happen to vinyl.

However, because of its hard and heavy-duty structure, fiberglass sidings are costly. Vinyl is a more affordable alternative, although you need to watch out for high or fluctuating temperatures since vinyl can melt.

If you live in an area that experiences fluctuating and extreme weather conditions, it is better to invest in fiberglass siding since it uses premium materials.

Read: "How To Keep Spiders And Other Bugs Off Vinyl Siding."

Fiberglass Vs. Brick

Structure-wise, fiberglass beats brick in every way because of fiberglass's premium and technologically-advanced quality. However, brick has a timeless character that would make your home look more inviting and unique.

It is also a relatively more affordable alternative to fiberglass siding, which tends to be expensive.

Although fiberglass has more advantages, brick--specifically brick veneer--holds its own with its durable structure. It can insulate the home effectively and withstand rotting with proper maintenance.

Just make sure you pay attention to the mortar since it's what holds the bricks together.

Why Should You Insulate Your Home?

installing cavity insulation

Insulation is important to maintain a good quality of life. Even if you live in an area with a relatively mild climate, the difference is obvious between effectively insulating your home and leaving your home unsealed.

  • A properly-insulated home saves a lot on utility bills since there's a lot of saved energy.
  • Good insulation ensures your home remains comfortable in warm, cold, and temperate climates. 
  • A well-insulated home protects the building materials, for a long-lasting structure.

Choosing the right siding material is the first step to making sure your home is tight and well-insulated.

Is Brick Siding Worth It?

Despite its hang-ups, brick sidings have a high ROI (return on investment). Brick homes have higher appreciation because of their aesthetic value, and more so if the brick house is well-maintained. 

This is because brick by itself does not warp, crack, or rot. It also doesn't need to be repainted since even if it fades, it still has that rich hue and a unique charm that can't easily be replicated.

It is also a preferred siding in homes located near the woods since insects or pests can hardly penetrate it, which is a plus for convenience and cleanliness.

Are Bricks High Maintenance?

Bricks on the background of a building under construction.

The brick itself is low-maintenance. It doesn't require upkeep since it has a rugged and rustic charm by itself. It also doesn't need to be sealed regularly.

However, you may encounter drainage issues that may later damage your brick siding. If there's too much contact with water, water can seep through brick veneers and go to the sheathing. If left unattended, the wall sheathing can form molds.

How Much Does Siding Cost?

The cost of installing brick siding depends on who is doing it. It is best to hire a competent contractor since sidings need professional installation to function properly for years. If you compromise on the installation, you can risk more expensive repairs and replacements later on.

Brick veneers costs approximately $35,000, including labor. However, full brick sidings will require you to shell out $40,000 since this will require extensive masonry work.

Vinyl sidings can cost you up to $13,000, inclusive of installation. This is considered to be the most affordable alternative. You can try to bring down the cost further by installing it yourself, but it's best to hire a competent contractor.

Fiberglass sidings are considered to be the most expensive. These sidings cost 20% more than the price of other siding materials. Brick sidings cost just a little lower than fiberglass.

How To Maintain Vinyl Siding

You can maintain the pristine condition of your vinyl siding by washing it regularly with a soft-bristled brush. Wash it from top to bottom using cleaners that do not contain aggressive chemicals.

How to Maintain Fiberglass Siding

Fiberglass siding doesn't require a lot of maintenance since it doesn't require sealing, caulking, or repainting. You can clean it with mild cleaning agents to remove insignificant dirt.

How to Maintain Brick Siding

Pressure washing a brick wall

You need to pay attention to your brick siding to maintain its structural integrity. You should regularly check the surface to make sure there's no water damage, bulging foundations, and weed or plant growth.

Make sure to clean the brick surfaces with mild soap to remove efflorescence. This powder-looking substance is a sign that you need to seal your surfaces. Although the brick itself may not need sealing, the masonry does.

Check out this masonry sealer on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the siding for your home. It all depends on your priority, but you should also consider the structural integrity of your home, as well as functionality--including insulation.

Whatever material you choose, make sure to maintain it well to protect your home.