Friday, June 20, 2008

The Second Brick Estimate... and a Quandary

A second mason made his appearance at our house today; I must say I am impressed. He pronounced our house to be in excellent condition for its age and need in only minor repairs. (Just like the first mason).

Brownie Points:
  • He mentioned that he used to live a couple blocks away in an old house, and how neat these old houses are.
  • He mentioned that the old mortar was just lime and sand, which would need replicated to avoid damaging brick BEFORE I asked about what mortars he would use. (The other mason danced around this question, and mentioned something about white mortar)
  • He was appalled that we might paint, and said he could make it look good enough to not need paint. (The other mason said we couldn't NOT paint)
  • He has enough bricks of the right size, age, and approximate color in his yard RIGHT NOW to do the job. (The other mason wasn't sure where to get them)

Did I mention he doesn't want us to paint?

We had him give us two estimates; one for just structural work so we could paint and one for making it "pretty" with matching brick and mortar.

Structural Work: $600
"Pretty" Work: $1800
(In comparison, the first mason was $400 to $800 for essentially structural work)

I must say... the "pretty" work was much less than I feared it could be. It doesn't include filling the nail holes, as he said that anything he could do would look like filled nail holes, and the holes themselves would be less notice-able.


Now the quandary... perhaps we should not have started this project this summer, but money is tight around here. Due to grad school, less work than usual this summer for me, and the rising cost of fuel and food, we will really have to scrape $1800 up (and credit of any sort is NOT an option). Unfortunately, I don't think we can do the $600 structural fix, and then "go back" and have them do the "pretty" fix. We really do want the natural brick, and I think it will have higher resale value overall...

Vote: Paint or Natural?

21 comments:

C&C said...

Awesome! Sounds like you've found your man! I vote natural- less maintenance.

Greg said...

Sounds like a keeper to me. Even if money is tight, it sounds like this is the right guy for the right job.

And yes, no to the paint.

S & N said...

Jennifer,
As owners of a painted brick house (to be repainted later this year), we say do whatever you can to avoid painting the brick. Your brick is a lovely color. Instead, you could paint the woodwork any number of beautiful historic colors that would compliment the brick and offer a less stark contrast than the white. Your house is lovely. I survived the lean grad school years (although they were pre-mortgage in my case). Best of luck.

Gene said...

No paint!

Anonymous said...

DO NOT PAINT! Fixing the brick may cost an extra $1200 now, but you will more than break even in 5 years when you do not have to re-paint, and the five years after that - no painting - and the five year after that... Trust me, you will save so much more than $1200 over the years by not painting. Been there, done that.
Sincerely,
Truly Regret Painting Brick

Jen said...

Natural vote from me, too. I know how much grad school money issues suck, having done 6 years of that myself. Now that I'm through it, though, I can say that I don't regret any of the big things like this I had to pay for now that it's past. The struggles will eventually pass and then your beautiful brick will be there.Congrats on finding a good guy!

Green Fairy said...

I agree with the above comments; don't paint your brick. Even if you have to eat beans and franks for the next month (been there myself) it's worth the cost to make it pretty.

Nate said...

As a struggling model in New York, I'd be glad to teach you how to live on an appallingly low budget! I too am in favor of the natural brick, as difficult as it may be to finance. I think you'll be happier in the long run with the natural brick. Now, just think about trim colors...

sarah said...

Natural, for sure. I think you'll be upset if you paint, and it looks so incredible - the brick has really given the house some gravity and it really, really looks right. Maybe you can have a yard sale to raise $? We always make more than we ever expect, based on how junky our stuff is! You might be able to make a few hundred $ anyways.

modernemama said...

wait until you can afford the 'pretty' fix; have a bake sale or lemonade stand or even sell a kidney but don't paint. It will cost you more down the road and you will hate yourself

Jayne said...

I agree with everyone else--don't paint the brick. And I know what you mean about scraping up the $1800...I'm there myself. Thought, that's a lot less than I thought it'd be. (I always hold my breath in fear when I get an estimate on something.) I don't think you'd really be happy with the painted brick anyway. This mason sounds like a great guy, too, and just the person you need to do that work for you.

Jayne said...

Oh, and I forgot to say that I agree with s & n about the trim colors. Some people here in my hometown painted their trim kind of sage-y green and a darker green (it had been white) and it looks great.

House on the Corner said...

I vote natural

Lee Ann said...

Get the money however you can and get the best job possible done. And no paint. You will be glad you did.

Paul said...

Oh I would leave it natural if at all possible. I know about tight budgets and things like that, but I do believe the house will have more curb appeal if it is natural brick vs. painted brick. Is the structural stuff really bad? Is it something that will get worse now that it is exposed to the weather, or can it wait until you have the money to do the whole thing?

Robj98168 said...

Natural vote from me- you guys worked so hard to have the real brick look and now you wanna paint?

Andy said...

I'm late to the party...but...
There was a person on the last entry on this topic that mentioned painting only the new bricks, to match the old. If you took a chip or two of the old brick in, I bet you could match the color pretty good and just paint the new bricks, if indeed they "look new" once installed...
But don't paint the entire house.

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

Please don't paint. You (or future owners) will eventually regret it and it is not needed - even if the bricks aren't a perfect match.

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

Also, you can stain brick to match if it is absolutely necessary. I still doubt it will be needed. Just google "brick stain" and I'm sure you'll find the info.

Laur said...

NATURAL!!

Allie said...

Yeah, this is one where it sounds like it's really worth it to spend a little cash. Maybe check out one more estimate if you can -- making sure they know that painting isn't an option.