Clean and cool shades lead brick demand outlook

Fired-clay brick trends for 2018 feature whites, grays, black, deep reds, painted and glazed brick with overall larger unit sizes. Brick Industry Association (BIA) producer members report that clean, cool shades top product favorites at all home price ranges, primarily whites with white mortar and all grays from light to charcoal and steel. Sandy earth tones are also trending, reflecting how fired-clay brick is made from abundant natural resources.

The BIA member survey of this year’s fired-brick color and shape trends finds whites, grays and painted units in the residential market, along with deep burgundy, glazed, larger and radial units in commercial projects.

Sleek, black brick is also on the rise—especially for restaurants and office spaces—and gaining ground in home building. Residential black and dark gray brick is trending primarily for contemporary and Art Deco looks, along with reemerging blended reds in a rolled edge texture. Genuine thin brick is also booming for kitchens, entrance foyers, accent walls, exterior gables and other interior and exterior applications. Rougher, tumbled textures are likewise trending in tandem with heavier textures in the South and more clay brick overall in the West.

HGTV-inspired painted brick is also on the rise, primarily whites and smooth, velour textures. Painted brick offers the flexibility to customize and change the exterior color at any time, BIA notes, while maintaining clay unit masonry performance in extreme weather and energy cost savings from its natural thermal mass. More producers are also offering a lower cost brick specifically for painting. If a homeowner wants a permanent white brick exterior, however, choosing a fired-clay white brick from the start eliminates future repainting and maintenance.

Also rising in popularity for townhome and multifamily applications, painted brick allows production builders to break up architecture and deliver unit individuality; and, offer the durability and energy efficiency of brick while embracing a trendy, monochromatic or historically accurate feel.

In commercial markets, BIA members cite trends including glazed brick in bold colors, clear glaze and engobe coating. Among trending larger units are 21-in. Roman brick with a long, linear look, plus radial (curved) brick in deep burgundy reds. Brick paver trends round out the association’s 2018 market outlook and are led by modern or modern-linear shapes, larger units in bold colors, permeable units, and geometrical designs.