Douglas County houses are mostly frame siding, not brick

3 min. read
Houses on a Denver area hillside. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Brick may still be king in Denver when it comes to houses. But that's not true of Parker or the other towns of Douglas County, according to a Denverite analysis of Douglas County Assessor's Office data.

That's not surprising for Acme Brick's Regional Manager Jay Cox. He says the shift away from brick started in the 1990s when the population along the Front Range started to grow dramatically.

"Getting shelter was the most important thing going on," he said. "They were trying to build homes as quickly as they could. The demand was there and it's a matter of what selections are acceptable and most people were accepting whatever was being built at the time."

In fact, Acme Brick's Colorado production has shifted more toward the commercial side because of demand in that sector. That means darker and earth toned bricks, as opposed to the softer and lighter brick common in residential brick work these days.

It's true that brick is more expensive to build initially, but Cox suggests that over its lifetime, brick is an economic option.

"Some of those expenses go away pretty quickly the first time you have to paint the exterior of your house," he said. "We've seen homes that have seen grass fires burn right up to the edge of their house and with a brick exterior, that's where it stopped."

Even one brick face has some benefits -- you may get some heat or cooling retention if your house faces west or north.

Still, all this brick decline doesn't mean that it's an unpopular look. Brick veneer is about four times more popular than an all-brick masonry building.

"People really want to see brick or stone or a combination of those because it really is a desirable look," Cox said.

Ultimately, Cox thinks that getting more brick homes is a matter of marketing. If people know that it's attainable in their market, they'll ask for it.

Methodology: This piece uses the Douglas County Assessor's Office's data on housing improvements. The data was filtered using housing style and includes the following styles: Single Family Residential, Condominium unit, Townhouse, Single Family Residential on Ag,  Apartment w/9 + Units, Mobile Home, Office-Apartment, Duplex, Apartment w/4-8 Units and studio lofts. The data was then categorized according to the exterior_construction value. 

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