The walls of a house may be covered upon the exterior cheapest with clapboards, which require painting at least every two years and sometimes oftener. Shingles - those obtainable to-day - a somewhat better and more expensive wooden covering, are not of very long life and require considerable attention, whether stained or left to weather; while they are at their best in appearance for what is, after all, a relatively short period.
Plaster as an exterior covering is somewhat more expensive but, with the exception of cracks and checks of merely surface extent, is a much more durable and attractive material, In many sections of the country and in the suburbs of most of our cities, brick - the rough-textured hard-burnt cherry-red kind is now considered best and most artistic - may be used either for a solid wall or for an outer covering veneered upon the wooden frame at a cost so little in excess of wood, that it will make up for its first additional expense within a half-dozen years, while its aesthetic advantages are of course obvious. Its use insures a permanent outer covering, proof against injury by weather or common accident, while it allows of the close surrounding of the dwelling by trees and the growing of vines directly over the wall surface - important considerations in the environment and appearance of the modern dwelling.
An idea of the comparative cost of the exterior finish materials mentioned may be obtained by contrasting the difference between their cost - on the house - over a surface of 100 square feet (a "square" in builders' measure), or 10x10 feet in dimension.
Clapboards (painted 3 coats) $10.50 per 100 sq. ft.
Shingles (natural) ..... 10.00per 100 sq. ft.
Shingles (stained) ..... 11.00per 100 sq. ft.
Plaster (3 coats on metal lath)
13.00 per 100 sq. ft.
Brick veneer.......... 15.50 per 100 sq. ft.
Brick 12-inch wall...... 40.00 per 100 sq. ft.
The above amounts will vary with the varying prices of the materials named in the different sections of the country. The estimate on brick, for instance, figures that the selected hard burnt brick can be obtained at about $11.00 a thousand, which is not exorbitant for some sections, while in other portions of the country the rate may increase the cost of common brick to $18.00 or $19.00 a thousand.
The sudden increase in price between the brick veneered house and the brick 12-inch walled house does not show the proportionate costs of these two ways of constructing a dwelling; as the last item includes also the support of the building itself, whereas in all the others there is to be added to the cost of the exterior surface finish covering, the cost of the studding, boarding and papering (both the materials and the labor of setting in place). As a matter of fact, the house built with a 12-inch solid wall would not now cost over 10 per cent more than the brick veneered dwelling, after allowing for cost of studded wall behind the brick exterior veneer.