Nothing gives the impression of a resplendent abode quite like brick and stone.
Used for centuries in only the finest strongholds and homes, the legacy of brick and stone continues to this day.
With the quality and integrity of the modern home waning more and more in the name of cost and convenience, now is the perfect time to honor your home like nobility.
The beauty of brick and stone design work lies within its versatility; whether you prefer a handsome Tudor façade or edgy geometric effect, there is no doubt a motif for every domicile. Rustic or refined, brick and mortar masonry defies any one specific era, blending the old world with the new to redefine the idyllic 21st Century home. And with a swirling plethora of colors from which to select, such as warm earth tones and conversely cool grays, you can rest assured that your house will flawlessly complement its surroundings. And thanks to their natural cooling abilities, your brick and stone home will remain cool as a proverbial cucumber during the more heat-saturated seasons.
There are many perspectives on what truly makes a house a home. And while a stunning new exterior may not speak solely of those who dwell within, it will no doubt cast them in a superior light.
Your home deserves to look as impeccable as its inhabitants, and these top 50 best brick and stone exterior ideas are classic choices in a nouveau era.
The basic Craftsman bungalow is one of the most easily-identifiable home designs today. The first Craftsman or Arts-and-Crafts style homes were erected in America around the turn of the 20th century. With their simplicity of style, they were seen as a rebellion against the ornate formality of the Victorian homes that ruled at the time.
One classic feature that distinguishes the Craftsman is its front porch columns. These supports generally have a wide stone or brick base topped with a four-sided beam that tapers as it nears the roof.
Craftsman homes may use a combination of stone and brick cladding or brick and wood siding. They tend to be painted in muted browns, greens, or earthy golden shades that coordinate well with natural stone or brick. However, their simple design can also make them a good canvas to carry brighter colors.
Craftsman bungalows often feature a central dormer with a low profile. Its front and sides can be a good place to repeat the brick or stone used on the stylized porch columns. Brick or stone paths and steps provide an impressive entrance path into your classic Craftsman abode.
When Tudor design mentioned, it immediately brings to mind life in 16th century England. Homes designed in the Tudor style today are modern takes on architectural features common in the late Medieval era. They can include a mixture of brick and stone cladding, decorative half-timbering, and tall, leaded-glass windows beneath a steep roofline. Some Tudor homes have a castle-like appearance with flattened, pointed arches on doorways and windows, and multiple, exaggerated chimney stacks.
A classic Tudor color palette will include warm grays, a range of brown tones and cream or white accents. However, modern Tutor homes can feature wooden shutters and beams painted in soft shades of earthy sage green or other non-traditional colors. It is common to see an arched wooden doorway framed in stones of varying sizes serving as the focal point of a brick Tudor home. A modern Tudor revival home may feature a flagstone path and steps leading up to a wide Gothic limestone arch framing the front door.
Cottage-style houses became popular in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Soldiers returned from WWI wanted to replicate the cozy cottages they saw scattered throughout the English and French countryside. A cottage’s charming simplicity of design helps showcase any type of stone or brick cladding. It’s common to see small cottages with painted or bare bricks along the bottom third of their exterior walls, with shake shingles or plank siding applied to the sections above.
Stone cottages are reminiscent of the English countryside and one dwelling may be clad with a combination of stone types and sizes. Limestone, sandstone, and river stone were often used to build British cottages. Traditionally, builders would use whichever stone was most readily available in the area. Although natural stone can be an expensive way to finish exterior walls today, the wide availability of manufactured stone panels can make it easy to replicate the appearance of natural stone while sticking to a budget.
Roughcast is a fine stone finish seen more frequently in the UK than in the US. It involves mixing gravel or pebbles with cement and spreading the mixture on timber-framed exterior walls. Sometimes small glass fragments are mixed in to add a dash of color. Pebbledash is a similar process, but instead of mixing the pebbles into the cement, they are applied on top of a layer of plain plaster.
4. Cape Cod
This architectural style was born in New England and has become a popular home design in neighborhoods throughout the United States. Cape-style homes are generally modest in size with a low horizontal profile. Traditionally, they have steep roofs and a one-story or one-and-a-half-story floor plan.
One of the key features of most Cape Cods is the inclusion of dormers on the second floor. These windowed projections add ventilation, headroom, and living space to the attic area. Dormers also add visual height to a home and a great deal of curbside appeal. The small exterior surface of a dormer can be a good place to add manufactured brick or stone panels for architectural interest.
While original Cape Cods were generally covered in wood and shingled siding, modern homes built with a nod to New England can be found with any combination of wood, brick, and stone exteriors. To modernize an older brick Cape Cod, consider painting the brick and adding the details mentioned in the following home makeover video:
Colonial-style homes are a common feature in many American neighborhoods. These symmetrical homes have a square or rectangular shape and often have brick or wood siding. On a colonial home, the door is usually located in the center of the house with an equal number of windows on each side of the door. They are usually two or three stories tall, and upper-level windows are aligned with the windows on the lower level.
Central or end chimneys are another feature of colonial design and are a great place to apply contrasting brick or stone cladding. German-style colonial homes have a rustic appearance due to their natural stone walls and small stone eclipse arches over the windows. Neo-Colonial homes came on the American scene during the 21st century and often feature brick siding halfway up the lower level and wood siding on the rest of the home.
This popular single-story home design dates back to the 1930s and enjoyed an architectural revival during the 1950s and 1960s. Most metropolitan areas in America still boast dozens of neighborhoods filled with the standard 3-bedroom, 2-bath brick ranches built during this housing boom. These retro homes are enjoying another burst of popularity as millennials flock to the clean lines and less-is-more simplicity of midcentury design.
Ranches built after the 1960s are likely to be clad in wood or composite siding, or they might combine one of these with brick or stone accents. Stone and brick are common exterior chimney finishes on ranch homes that have fireplaces. Brick pavers and planters can be found on many ranch home porches, which may also be held up with brick or stone-clad columns. Open carports were popular on older ranch homes and many feature brick lattice walls in a variety of patterns.
Ranch-style homes being built today often mix several design elements and exterior finishes. While brick remains a popular choice for these single-story dwellings, it is likely to be applied in a style reflecting Tudor, Mediterranean, or cottage design elements.
7. French Country
If you are a fan of masonry exteriors, a French country home will allow you to showcase all your favorite textures and finishes. Most French country homes feature a combination of brick, stone, and stucco surfaces in complementary colors. All the earthy colors found in natural stone feature heavily in French country design, including warm caramel, ivory white, dove gray, and every shade of brown.
This type of European architecture is equally appealing on large and stately manors, family farmhouses, and cozy cottages. While it may seem counterintuitive to mix and match a variety of surfaces, this truly is the hallmark of French country design. Original French country homes were built to last for generations and were created from the materials easiest to acquire. Therefore, this design scheme is often accented with large, dark beams holding up porches and wooden flowerboxes positioned under windows. Wrought-iron balcony railings and painted shutters can also be used to add interest to French country masonry surfaces.
Victorian homes have a distinctive, over-the-top reputation that suits the era from which the design originated. There is usually little symmetry in Victorian design and any number of colors and textures can be used on its exterior. These multi-storied homes may feature a red brick foundation, wood siding on the main floor, and fish-scale shingles covering the second story.
These homes often include multiple brick or stone chimneys which are great structures to renovate with your favorite type of masonry cladding. Of course, if your Victorian home is on a historic registry, you should check the registry’s rules for renovation before making any significant changes.
When building a modern home with Victorian flair, consider turrets, bay windows, balconies, and wide, wrap-around porches as areas where you can incorporate stone or brick into your design.
Although a common hallmark of Mediterranean architecture is a stucco or adobe exterior, most Spanish or Italian style homes include some type of stone or brick surfaces. Popular in California and the southwestern United States, Mediterranean structures are frequently built around a central courtyard and fountain. This garden area is incorporated into the living space as many rooms open to the courtyard.
Arched windows and doorways can be trimmed with pale limestone panels that contrast nicely against the warm and earthy Mediterranean color palette. Stately Mediterranean manors often feature expansive front porches defined by stone columns and arched openings.
Tuscan-inspired design may center a wide wall of irregularly-hewn stone blocks between two smooth stucco walls. Terra cotta roof tiles are one of the defining features of Mediterranean design and pair well with the stone cladding techniques popular in the region.
Contemporary or modern homes can project a dramatic appearance despite the overall simplicity of their design. With mostly flat-face exteriors and low-pitched or flat rooflines, these homes need the visual interest that natural stone can bring to a structure. Smooth limestone or slate panels can be found in every neutral shade, from pale white to deep onyx, and arranged to highlight simple contemporary angles and planes.
Composite stone panels can provide the illusion of texture while retaining a smooth finish critical to many modern home designs. Contemporary homes usually include floor-to-ceiling glass walls that substitute for traditional paneled windows. These tend to look best when surrounded by equally smooth surfaces.
Sometimes a bit of texture is appreciated even in modern design. Hexagonal or square bricks on a boxy bump-out can be just the touch that makes a basic contemporary exterior stand out from the rest.
Brick and Stone Exterior FAQs
How long does stone siding last?
A big advantage of stone siding is its longevity. No matter which type of stone you choose, you can expect it to remain beautiful for decades. In fact, natural stone exteriors can last for a century or more if maintained and repaired as needed.
If you choose faux-stone siding or manufactured stones, be sure to get a copy of the warranty. It will outline how long the manufacturer will guarantee the quality of their product when used under normal conditions. In general, manufactured stone surfaces are guaranteed anywhere from 20 to 75 years.
What type of maintenance is required for brick or stone exteriors?
Like any other type of exterior finish, brick and stone surfaces will need occasional washing. Use a soft bristle brush, water, and a cleaning product made specifically for cleaning masonry. If you have manufactured stone siding, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning. While pressure washers are a popular tool for cleaning home exteriors, make sure it is safe to use this method on your particular finish.
Some stone surfaces may require the application of a sealer. If so, this may need to be reapplied periodically. In addition, brick and stone surfaces are vulnerable to mortar weathering and decay. Over time, this process causes gaps in the joints between bricks or stones. These voids allow water to penetrate the surface and can cause serious structural damage.
Repointing is the process of removing old mortar and filling the gaps with new mortar. Contact a stonemason to obtain repointing services, or if you’re feeling adventurous, check out this video for tips on DIY masonry repointing: