Northwest Style Home

Why Aren’t There More Brick, Stone and Stucco Homes in the Northwest?

If you drive around Kitsap County and other parts of western Washington, you’ll notice that there aren’t many brick, stone or stucco homes. Have you ever wondered why?

  • Wood and cement materials are more readily available here.
  • Brick and stone are more expensive to buy and transport to the region.
  • Water tends to seep into porous brick & mortar or stucco surfaces, which can encourage moss growth, mold or rot. This water retention is also problematic when the temperature drops in the winter. As freezing water expands, it can weaken structural joints.
  • Wood homes “flex” if there is an earthquake, whereas brick, rock or stucco homes are more difficult to secure, and more costly to insure.

There’s also a general theory that northwest homes blend in better with the surrounding forests. But even as lumber resources are becoming more scarce, it’s more cost-prohibitive to build brick or stone buildings securely in our region. And that’s why you see wood products everywhere these days.

Many modern stick-built residential properties have fiber-cement board siding like HardiePlank®. These affordable planks are made out of cement and wood fiber. They are resistant to rot, fire, termites, wind, and cold. Sometimes you’ll see other siding materials, such as cedar shingles, cedar clapboards, wood board and batten, or cement panels. But fiber-cement boards are popular in Northwest Contemporary, Arts & Crafts, Craftsman, Bungalow, Victorian, and Modern architectural styles.

fiber-cement board siding
Brian Henn/Time Inc. Digital Studios

Another common type of siding is board and batten. This is when wide wooden boards are framed and secured in place with narrow vertical strips of wood (batten). Vinyl planks are also used sometimes, along with cedar shingles.