How to Pair Brick and Shake Exterior Siding


Brick is one of the earliest building materials, given its natural composition and ability to be created with minimal materials and a little sunlight to dry it out. Dating back to 7000 BC on structures in Turkey, brick has long cemented itself as a durable and long-lasting building material that is impact and fire-resistant, as well as aesthetically pleasing.

Often, brick is the siding material of choice for Tudor and Greek Revival style as well as Colonial homes — which is where brick meets cedar shakes to create a beautiful combination of styles.

Colonial homes found in New England were often roofed and sided with cedar shake shingles. Cedar, along with pine, was readily found in the northeast U.S., and could be split to create shingles that, when attached to the roof, provided protection against the harsh New England winters.

When combined, these two building materials create a brick and shake exterior that is strong and durable that protects its inhabitants from the elements and can be counted on for many years. As with any building material, however, they both come with advantages and disadvantages that are worth exploring.


Original bricks were made of clay that baked in the sunlight until they hardened. As technology advanced, ancient Romans began to fire clay bricks around 3000 BC using kilns. This gave them more control over the final product and created stronger and more consistent bricks. Brick is one of the earliest building materials, and it is still used today to create stunning exteriors that can withstand the elements and hold up to the test of time.

Although it may look like a brick home is made entirely of brick, brick homes typically rely on a wood frame for structure and support. The brick exterior is then added to the frame to create an aesthetically pleasing exterior cladding that gives the appearance of a solid wall. Even though the walls may not be solid brick, there are still a number of benefits to using this method when building a home.

Advantages To Brick Siding

  • Brick is made from natural materials that include clay, sand, shale, and subsoil and that are found in abundance.

  • Because they’re made from natural materials, they are easily recycled when their time is up. They can also be “upcycled” to create other projects like patios, landscaping, and even another home.

  • Brick creates a stately and timeless exterior aesthetic.

  • Incredibly durable, brick buildings can last for over 100 years with minimal maintenance. According to the Clay Brick Association, brick structures can last for 500 years or more. The oldest bricks ever found date back to 7000 BC in Turkey.

  • Brick holds up well to moisture and is also fire-resistant and has insulative properties.

  • Cracks in brick walls can typically be repaired.

Disadvantages To Brick Siding

  • Brick is more expensive than other building materials and the price varies depending on whether you’re using brick siding or brick veneer. Brick projects also need to account for the mortar that holds the bricks together.

  • In an earthquake, brick is prone to crumble, so it can’t be used in areas that are prone to earthquakes.

  • Constructing with brick is more time-consuming than with other materials.

  • Extreme weather changes can cause bricks to crack.

  • While the amount of necessary maintenance is low, it is necessary to maintain the brick periodically throughout its life.

Cedar Shake Shingles

A perfect complement to a brick home, cedar shake shingles offer an authentic Colonial look but can also complement a range of other design styles. Natural cedar shake shingles are made from split cedar logs and left rough on one side in the case of cedar shakes, and sawn on both sides in the case of cedar shingles.

Advantages To Cedar Shakes

  • Cedar is naturally rot and impact resistant, so it creates a durable roofing material.

  • Because cedar has been used for hundreds of years as a roofing material, it creates a beautiful traditional aesthetic that hearkens back to the early days of America.

  • Cedar shakes offer a lower upfront cost than some other materials.

  • They are made from a natural material, so they are sustainable and can be recycled at the end of the roof’s life.

Disadvantages To Cedar Shakes

  • Natural wood shakes normally require specialized installation which can take additional time and money.

  • Wood absorbs water, so cedar shakes can encourage algae, mold, and mildew growth.

  • Cedar shakes have a higher risk of fire than other materials, and are therefore prohibited in many building codes.

  • Cedar shakes require maintenance that includes applying fire repellent and fungicides, and staining and sealing the roof as well as removing any broken, damaged, or warped shakes.

  • Even though they can have a lower upfront cost than other materials, the cost to maintain the roof will add up over time.

  • Despite their rot resistant qualities, exposure to the elements over time will often lead to rot and warped or cupped shakes.

Pair Brava Synthetic Cedar Shakes With A Brick Exterior For A Long-Lasting And Durable Design

Synthetic Cedar Shakes from Brava offer the unparalleled beauty of authentic cedar shake shingles but without the downsides. Because they are made from a blend of recycled plastics and natural minerals for color and texture, they are sustainable and look like the real thing. When pairing shake siding with brick, these two materials create a stunning exterior that combines the best of durability, sustainability, and natural beauty. Some other advantages to synthetic cedar shakes include:

  • A true-to-life look of hand-split cedar using our molds that are cast from Western Red Cedar shakes and don’t have repetitive patterns.

  • Nine nature-inspired colors that give you design flexibility and the ability to achieve the perfect brick and shake exterior aesthetic.

  • State-of-the-art compression molding technology that makes our cedar shakes the strongest shake available.

  • A fully sustainable product that is made from recycled materials and can be recycled at the end of their life.

  • A 50-year limited warranty for peace of mind.

Contact Brava today to view our options, request a sample to see the difference for yourself, and begin designing your brick house with cedar shakes.