Just Another Brick in the Wall

Every time I think about bricks, it calls to mind songs about bricks (Pink Floyd, the Commodores, anyone?). Looking at brick choices for 6 months can make your mind wander, and spontaneously bursting into songs about brick is fairly standard (I won’t go into puns about standard size brick). There are so many brick choices available that it can make your head spin. David and I have had more than our fair share of debates involving color, texture, size, suppliers and the like, but we have finally come to a conclusion on the exterior materials and all other major components for our home. Without further adieu, here is where we landed (and a bit of the process on how we got there and what we’ve learned along the way).

Choosing Brick: Scene 1

Browse various online social media sites like Houzz or Pinterest to find inspiration on what you like. Disagree vehemently with your husband on whether painted brick is an atrocity or the best thing since sliced bread. Look at more pictures. Re-hash the painted brick debate. Suggest that painted brick might be okay depending on what the mortar color is. Debate mortar color merits. Re-check pinterest and Houzz. Give up on the internet and go on a field trip to a local brick distributor. Become overwhelmed by the choices, the sizes, the textures, the price variations. Take photos, go back home, and evaluate the merits of everything all over again.

Brick Choices

Choices! Choices! Choices!

Choosing Brick: Scene 2

“Decide” on a brick color you like (or several) and ask your amazingly talented friend, Jerry, to do a quick rendering mock-up for you so you can visualize what the materials will look like next to each other. Debate the color choices of the complimenting siding. Gray, dark gray or other shades of gray? Mull over the various shades of gray. Throw everyone for a loop by suggesting weathering steel (that old-looking rusty steel often known by the brand name, Corten). Re-think everything you’ve done to this point including brick color, texture, size, and the universe. Tell Jerry to just go ahead and give us 3 options: 2 gray and weathered steel for giggles.

Let's make a rendering based on this brick!

Let’s make a rendering based on this brick!

Choosing Brick: Scene 3

Receive awesome renderings. Giggle to ourselves for about a day at how awesome it is to see the house ‘in real life…sort of’. Be slightly shocked and embarrassed of previously held notions that ‘gray’ was ‘acceptable’ for our house. Discard the notion that gray is good for anything and replace with visions of weathering steel. Research weathering steel because you heard that it will basically ruin your whole project if you use it. Discover that Corten is specifically not recommended for facade applications (no warranty, either). Get nervous. Research more. Find out that there are several studies that look into the structural integrity of weathering steel on bridges (used throughout the country) and that they find out its just fine to use. Research more because you’re OCD like that. Find another study specifically on Texas weathering steel bridges (thanks, TxDoT!), and confirm suspicions that weathering steel can do well in Houston, it just may not be the ‘ideal’ environment. Confirm more suspicions by looking at various bridges in Houston made from weathering steel. Go way overboard by researching other buildings in Houston to have weathering steel (I’m looking at you, Miller Outdoor Theatre!). Sigh a happy sigh of relief that weathering steel can be applied on facades. Panic because I haven’t found a supplier or gotten quotes and if I can’t have my weathering steel, we will have to go back to square one for all of our exterior finishes. Scramble to find a supplier. Get a quote. More happy sighs – we can afford it!

Rose_Exterior_POC_Option_Bronze

Surprise winner: Weathering Steel!

Rose_Exterior_POC_Option_DarkGrey

Ew. Gray. Ew. Looks like a fortress. A cold, dark, scary fortress.

Rose_Exterior_POC_Option_Zinc copy

Light gray. Meh. Not quite the same as CMU. Yawn.

Back to Choosing Brick: Scene 4

Visit brick suppliers again, but this time with an idea of size, color and texture you want. Email brick suppliers who tell you they don’t have what you are looking for (size, color combination). Finally find a supplier who has some choices you like in a size you want (but it is actually 3/8″ less in depth than you wanted). Take pictures, get prices, go home and start photo-shopping. Decide that you’ve finally found the color you like, but still sort of have that nagging voice in your head saying “the texture isn’t right!”. Try to ignore voice in your head, but resolve to at least ask if they can produce the color you like in a different texture…for free…pretty please? Start fixing the CAD drawings to make sure that every.thing.works.just.right. It does! huzzah!

Monochromatic for the win! Thanks, Acme!

Monochromatic for the win! Thanks, Acme!

Choosing Brick: Scene 5

Rest easy knowing you finally decided on brick and siding. Post an article detailing the process that no one will be able to follow very well because it occurs in a series of disjointed, grammatically incorrect sentences. Giggle a bit, sigh a few happy sighs. Click post.

Tune in next time for more updates on the house!



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  • ANSLQ32

    Is the rendering representative of what you will build?

    • http://www.architangent.com Brinn Miracle

      It is close; we are still making modifications to the exterior elevations. The parapet will be brick, and the windows have evolved a bit as well. The general concept is still there.

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