Brick Siding Cost, Plus Pros & Cons and ROI in 2021

Updated on January 19th, 2021

Fired clay, aka Brick, dates back to the colonial America as an exterior cladding for homes and buildings. Its durability is well known, lasting over a hundred years on average. Being typically made up of clay, cement, and gravel, it is the quintessential masonry material for construction.

Cost

When brick is used in constructing a home, it provides structure to the frame. This however is not the same as using brick strictly as a siding material. When using brick as siding, a full layer of brick is added around the walls of the house. Thin brick may also be used, though it is obviously not as durable.

The average cost per sq. ft. for brick siding is $12.00 to $21.00 installed. Some thin brick options may be below that range. On a typical two-bedroom American home with 2,000 sq.ft. of siding, the overall cost can range from $24,000 to $42,000. This is among the more expensive siding options, but its value and longevity certainly help offset some of that higher initial cost.

Brick also has among the highest return on investment. On the low end, ROI is 83% and can go as high as 92% depending on the location.

Continue reading “Brick Siding Cost, Plus Pros & Cons and ROI in 2021”

Exterior House Painting Price Guide – Hiring a Pro vs. DIY in 2021

Updated on January 8th, 2021

Adding a fresh coat, or two, of paint to the outside of your house can be a highly satisfying home improvement project.

When done, the neighbors will be sure to notice it and hopefully compliment you. With quality paint, you’ll rest assured your home is good to go for another decade or so, showing off its visual outer layer.

It can also be a fun home improvement project. Focusing on design, immersed in colors, hopefully getting help from a partner, or three — all add to the fun. Though, doing a high-quality job will likely require hiring a pro.

Going the DIY route will save on labor costs. Yet, some parts of the overall job can be slow going, unless painting homes is your livelihood. But, who says, you must do all the work yourself? Or that a pro must do all the work for you?

Whatever part of the job doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can hire a painting contractor for those steps.

The DIY approach

Before grabbing a paint can and brush, there a few things to plan for. Actually, the planning stages can easily take longer than the application of paint. The basic steps are:

  1. Plan for a period of time when it will be dry – likely during warmer months, though above 50 degrees and dry is the key.
  2. Survey the house / work to be done – be sure you know where main color goes and where trim paint goes. Also be on the lookout for any obvious places that could use repair.
  3. Thoroughly clean the old paint – this means using a pressure washer, wet rag (for trim), sanding and scraping. Ideally, you get to a clean, smooth dry surface.
  4. Optional repairs – In the previous step, damaged/rotten wood may make itself visible when thorough cleaning is done. Now is the time to repair. Arguably, this is the most important part of this job as it deals with structure of the house.
  5. Visit your paint store – pick out the color scheme, get the materials. Don’t worry, we list some of the materials later on to help you out.
  6. Prime the house – some paints today are mixed with a primer. Most are not, and this is the first coat to ensure the outer layer has something it can adhere to.
  7. Paint the main color – one coat if on a budget, two coats to be like the pros
  8. Paint the trim – this is likely a different color than the main house color, and it may be more than one additional color. Up to you!
  9. Paint doors, porches, shutters, and other items attached to the house. Generally this is the same as the main color, but how you color scheme is up to you.
  10. Cleaning up – do not forget this step. You’ll gain much more satisfaction once this step is done. Unattended to paint, left anywhere, can make for a bigger mess than you may think. Also, make sure all unused paint is properly sealed and stored. Touch ups down the road can be had at no cost if the paint is appropriately sealed.

Continue reading “Exterior House Painting Price Guide – Hiring a Pro vs. DIY in 2021”

EPDM Rubber Roof Cost, Plus Pros & Cons in 2021

Updated on January 13th, 2021

Welcome to the default, or old school, material for flat roof installations. It’s technical name: Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer is a mouthful. While it is simply a rubber material, we’ll go with EPDM since everyone else does. This product competes directly with TPO and PVC as membrane type roofing material. This one though tends to only be used on flat roofs.

Some might be wondering why not just use the more traditional roofing materials like asphalt shingles. Well, traditional roofing materials normally come in a shingle or tile form designed for sloped water-shedding roofs, not waterproof ones.

If you were to use roofing shingles on a low-slope or flat roof, then any accumulated pooling water would rise underneath the asphalt shingles and seep through inside the house (similar to what happens with ice dams on asphalt shingle roofs), leading to severe issues like mold, rot, and damage to the roof deck and interior of the house. Thus, a waterproofing membrane approach has been in place for nearly a half century to provide an impenetrable waterproof barrier that can reliably protect the structure with a low-sloped roof.

EPDM Pricing and Value

EPDM is the least expensive of the three primary membrane types, but it isn’t cheap. The material is very durable.

Since the early 1960s, EPDM has been the material of choice in canals and other irrigation systems prior to becoming a successful material for waterproofing roofs.

It’s estimated to have 1 billion square feet of EPDM rubber membranes installed throughout the world’s roofs. This is partially due to its relative durability, ease of installation and its competitive pricing.

Average Cost Per Sq. Ft. Installed

On the low end, you can plan to spend around $4.50 to $6.50 per sq. ft. for the installation of an EPDM rubber membrane on a flat roof. — The low-end pricing, although not very common, would be on par with asphalt shingles pricing, which tells you how affordable it can be. $6.50 to $10.50 per sq. ft. installed would be the high-end pricing and would likely be for a thicker or solar-reflective rubber membrane, with the job done by experienced flat roof specialists.

What about DIY for EPDM?

The DIY approach is viable, because installation is not complicated. With TPO and PVC roofs, you need special skills and tools like hot air welders (whether hand-held or robots) for proper installation.

With EPDM, you need the sheets, which are sold in as large as 50 feet wide by 200-foot-long pieces, some glue and preferably some experience in achieving a successful installation.

Home Depot and Lowe’s sell rolls of 10 x 25 feet for around $170 and $225 respectively. Add another $80 for the glue, or bonding adhesive (sold in 3-gallon containers) and $25 for long armed roller and you’re set to go.

When it comes to value or return on investment, that’s another matter. Our Advantages and Disadvantages section below help identify the balance of lasting value vs. known issues.

The reality is EPDM roofs last 7 to 15 years on average before requiring a replacement (less likely) or resealing (more likely). With EPDM liquid roof coatings, repairs and resealing can extend the lifespan of the rubber membrane roof and re-institute the waterproof barrier properties from the original installation.

Continue reading “EPDM Rubber Roof Cost, Plus Pros & Cons in 2021”