Future-proofing your home

Americans are becoming more rooted. Research suggests that they are staying in their residences for longer than ever before. This trend of “staying put” has several implications, including a new appreciation on the adaptability of a home in order to make it “future proof.”

According to a recent report in the website for Builder magazine, the median tenure of owner-occupied residences is now 12 years. “What the ‘rootedness’ trend--of 10 or more years of ownership--really means, for community and floorplan design, pricing, and livability appeal of new homes, is this: 

  • People want homes with floorplans that are nimble--both in real-time and over time. This means they can adjust accommodations for guests or revenue potential for either short-term stays, or for a lengthy "sandwich generation" experience of hosting parents or adult children for an extended stay.
  • People want ‘future-proof’ systems. This means they're able to update and upgrade through the years as technology improves, without extensive structural work.
  • People want durability, essentially demanding that building enclosures stand up to climate and conditions, retaining aesthetic appeal throughout more extended homeownership tenure periods.
  • People want componentization. When appliance systems or bathroom systems run their natural course, or when the life-stage needs of a homeowner changes more homeowners will want to be able to adapt these systems by popping out current fully-equipped components, and popping in new ones.”

The report concludes that “a combination of lifestyle and economic need will cause buyers to gravitate to home floorplans that can adapt, both instantly and for an extended period.” When these trends are viewed in total, they make a very powerful argument for brick home construction.

Greg Kaplan of Acme Brick couldn’t agree more!

Factors to Consider in “Future Proofing” a Home

When a homeowner seeks to “future proof” his home, sustainability is at the top of the wish list.

“Brick construction has many advantages when compared to the other veneer materials such as fiber-cement, wood cladding, vinyl siding or stucco,” Kaplan said. “For example, brick has much lower maintenance costs than other materials, and when these expenses are added up over many years, this becomes extremely important to the homeowner.

“Maintenance costs show up in many ways. For example, vinyl siding and wood cladding will need to be painted and stucco needs to be spot-painted in just a few years. If the home is in an area where tornadoes, hail and wind frequently occur, this can easily cause damage to siding and wood cladding. Not so with brick. It is also virtually immune to fire damage, resulting in lower annual insurance premiums for the homeowner.

“The manufacturer’s warranty on paint for these other construction materials is typically 3 to 5 years. Acme Brick has a one-hundred-year guarantee!” 

Brick: A Tradition of Adaptability

Brick construction has been used in building homes for many centuries. In many ways, it is the most traditional. Does this resonate with homeowners who are staying put longer?

“Without a doubt,” Kaplan said. “Clay that has been fired into brick has been used for thousands of years and it has a permanence that no other material can have. This means, when a homeowner’s life changes – children go away or return, grandparents come to live or any other changes – there is an option to remodel a brick home by seamlessly adding a new addition to the structure.

“If a homeowner wants to add a room to a stucco home, he will be required to repaint the entire home. If the home is constructed of brick, it is a simple matter of matching the brick. Framing new additions with stucco or vinyl is also problematic. In non-brick construction, the entire house is affected by any new construction. Whereas with brick, the wall is merely extended, windows are added and there is much less structural concern.

“Because of the way that brick is manufactured and applied to the veneer of the home, it is a very simple, cost-effective transition and it continues to have the hundred-year warranty. This is important for homeowners who want to stay in their home longer.”

What About the Appreciation of the Home’s Value?

As more people decide to stay in their home for many years, its appreciation in value becomes an important consideration. 

“There is a much better return on investment with a home constructed of brick,” Kaplan said. “And this appreciation begins from the day the home is built while continuing to grow as the years go by. There are several reasons for this.

In addition to lower maintenance, a brick constructed home is easier to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Unlike vinyl, stucco, or cement fiber, a brick exterior offers thermal mass, which slows the transmission of heat and evens out peak heating and cooling loads. Also, brick homes are built with an air ‘cavity’ between the outside – and all its elements – and the inside walls of the home. These two factors, thermal mass, and cavity, complement the other elements of the wall: framing, moisture barrier, insulation and drywall. Stucco and siding don’t offer much thermal mass, and they’re generally installed without an insulating air cavity.

“Needless to say, brick saves the homeowner considerable money on energy expenses over other construction material. As years go by, these savings add up and the homeowner’s return on investment is greatly enhanced.

“Interestingly, the value of brick homes has always appreciated faster than homes constructed of other, less durable materials. Now, when homeowners realize that they can adapt the layout of brick homes for less money and better aesthetics, this appreciation will be enhanced by this factor.”

Are you thinking of building a new home and “staying put” for 10 or more years? Let us show you, your builder and architect how brick construction can make this home a keeper! Click here for more information.