With the brick industry stepping up its marketing efforts and consumers wanting to build with traditional materials, bricks have been at a premium since October 1999.
Instead of creating new and unusual bricks with little demand, manufacturers are focusing on producing three or four of their most popular lines. Other manufacturers have increased their capacity by building new plants, which cost between $20 million and $30 million and can take up to one year to build.
Although the supply has decreased, prices have remained stable. Pete Cieslak, executive director of the Brick Association of the Carolinas, says that competition is the key to maintaining steady prices. However, installation prices have increased due to the intensity of the market and the lack of bricklayers.
Cieslak advises remodelers to remember that brick manufacturers can no longer supply products in a timely manner. "People are used to ordering bricks on Wednesday and picking them up on Friday," he says. "Instead, pick out the brick at the same time that you pick out the other essentials for the house, such as windows. If it takes 16 weeks for the windows to arrive, think about bricks in the same way. And once you pick out a brick, stay with it. If you change your order, it will just take more time."