Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to the most commonly asked questions.
- What is brick&batten?
brick&batten provides guidance and creative direction to clients looking for simple – yet impactful – property exterior updates. Using a photo (or a blueprint), we design a fresh new look and create a rendering that helps our clients visualize their properties’ potential. We also deliver a detailed resource list for DIYers and experienced contractors alike to use as a guide in sourcing materials for the new design. Please visit our Design Services page to learn more.
Our design process
- Can you redesign more than one side of my house?
Absolutely! You may purchase a second and third side at the same time you are ordering your first side. Simply click the option at checkout. You will be asked to submit a clear photograph of every side being designed. Contact us for additional information, or if you’re interested in seeing renderings of more than three sides of your property.
- Do you design commercial exteriors?
Yes! We’ve designed multi-residential properties, barns being converted into law offices or spas, leasing offices, office buildings, restaurants, retail stores, language centers, assisted living facilities, and more. Learn about our exterior design services for businesses here.
- Do you design from blueprints/elevations for new construction?
YES! We do many new construction designs and house additions. That said, there is an up-charge for this type of design service, because we turn your blueprint into a ‘photo’ that we can manipulate and design.
When you check out, there is an option to click for a blueprint or new construction. For blueprints, please include all elevations and the floor plan, if possible. Having multiple viewpoints gives us a better visual of the various dimensions of the house in relation to each other. This helps us create a more accurate rendering of your design. Be sure to click the blueprint or new addition option before you check out. Learn more about the difference between designing from a photo and from a blueprint on our How It Works for Homeowners page.
- Can you create a home addition on my home that isn’t there? What type of structural changes can brick&batten help me visualize?
YES, if you have a blueprint for us to follow, then we can create a space that’s not in your photo. We cannot help you visualize major architectural changes or create something that’s not there without a blueprint or more guidance.
To illustrate, we can add on to a structure if there’s something already there, but we can’t create an addition from scratch. We can add a gable, but we can’t raise the roof (literally, though we can and do raise the roof figuratively all the time!).
The BIG THING we cannot do without a blueprint is help you visualize additions. Other smaller changes we can help you visualize, including the following: porches, porticos, covered outdoor patios, pergolas, most dormers, change window sizes, and change front door and garage door sizes or locations.
Please contact us for more information.
- How long does the design process take?
- After your order has been placed and is in process, our design process will take no more than 16 working days. If you need your design sooner, for whatever reason, you can request Expedited Delivery in order to receive your design within 8 working days. This option is available at checkout for an additional fee. Learn more on our Pricing page.If you have not received your design within 16 working days, please check your junk/spam folder and contact us if you still do not see your design.
- How much does it cost?
Our design services come in a range of packages that vary, with add-ons that suit different projects. Please see our Pricing page for full details.
- Do you provide a list of the exact products and paint colors I should use to execute my design?
Your exterior design rendering comes with a clickable PDF with links to our recommended materials and vendors. You can see an example on our Design Services page.
Using the links on your deliverable will take you to our recommended providers. As the leaders in exterior design and having worked on thousands of clients’ homes, know that we only recommend products that we know and trust, from the highest quality vendors. However, some items will not be linked due to their custom nature and/or the cost of buying them directly: awnings, columns, stone pavers and certain hardscape features, some railings, etc. We call these Additional Items, and they are best sourced locally.
Please keep in mind that our product recommendations are just that. You are under no obligation to purchase from our suggested vendors.
- Are landscape and hardscape included with my design?
We have always incorporated landscape visualization as part of our process. We include all of the hardscape, and we render and furnish patios, decks, awnings, etc. Please keep in mind that we do not take measurements, so any furnishings will need to be sourced to fit your area. We are not geographic experts on what will thrive in different environments; however, we use plants that show the height differentials and color ideation we would want you to achieve. Most of our clients will bring our design to a local nursery, where they can recommend local plants that will thrive in their area and largely achieve the look we’ve designed.
- Do you do paint color consultations?
We do not currently offer a paint service consultation. Our design model helps you visualize paint colors on your home or building so you can SEE how they look! We believe in the power of this visualization, which is why we built our business around it. Furthermore, giving our designers the range to design all elements of your exterior — whether you’re planning a renovation or working on a new build — allows you to benefit from our expertise. You have a ton of choices in front of you, small and large. By providing you with a comprehensive design, we give you the framework to make each one of those decisions with confidence.
We know that even painting can be a significant investment of your time and money. This is why so many of our clients have found that the cost of our complete design package is worthwhile. At brick&batten, we say, “It’s just as easy to paint your house the right color as it is the wrong color. So let’s get it right!” By partnering with us, you have color and design experts working to ensure you make the best decisions for your exterior.
Please note that in your submission you can share if you have specific paint colors in mind, a general idea of what you want, or if you have no idea and want help choosing the colors. Also, we give you the space to provide us with details about exactly what you want painted — trim, main body of house, eaves/soffit, etc. Please contact us with any questions about your submission.
- I have certain things I DON’T want to change on my home design (brick, roof, windows). Can you still design my exterior?
Yes, of course! We work with our clients on making the changes they want to see for their exterior and are happy to keep any elements you DO NOT want changed in your design, untouched. Recently invested in a new roof? Love your natural brick? Then let us know! Please simply specify what you’d like to keep the same in your submission process. Our designers will consider these “fixed elements” to design around.
- How do I take the best ‘before’ photo?
The photo you submit is key to a great after design. After all, it’s what we use to build our rendering! When you go through the check out process, there will be a place for you to upload a picture of your home. Here are some best practices for taking ‘before’ photos:
- High resolution. This is the most important thing! It’s important for our designers to see accurate details and colors to make the best choices for your design. Photos from realtor sites (Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.) are low resolution, so unfortunately we can’t use them. Also, many times, the color has been enhanced or distorted.
- Sun facing the house is best. Houses with shadows don’t provide the best color; therefore, color may be altered to enhance clarity, color, exposure, or sharpness.
- On overgrown landscaping and vehicles. If we can’t see what’s behind overgrown landscape, trees, brush, boats, cars, dumpsters, etc., we may or may not be able to help you visualize that portion of your building’s façade.
- Free of clutter. The best visualizations come when you’re able to put away bikes, toys, cars, garden hoses, and other items in the yard. If you leave them in your before photo, these things may remain in your after photo.
- Level and straight. Do your best to snap a level and straight photo of your home, including the roof line. Focus on the area you want to see in your design.
- Get close to your house. Walk close enough to your house to cut out any landscape or neighbors’ homes to the left and right. The less we have to ‘zoom in’ to see your house details, the clearer your design will be.
- Actual size. If you’re using your smartphone to snap the photo, be sure to email it to yourself (or AirDrop it, or whatever format you plan to use for sharing) in ACTUAL SIZE. This allows you to get the highest resolution photo possible.
- Zoom in to check. Before submitting your photo, zoom in and be sure the fixed elements you want our designers to see are clear.
- Upload. In step 4 of your design order, you will be asked to upload your photo. Drag your picture to the box provided. When you see the X, your photo has been submitted.
Unless the photos you upload are labeled, we will choose the photo that is best for your design. If we need additional photos, we will contact you ASAP.
Prefer visuals? Here’s a brief YouTube video with tips:
- Can I upload a lot of pictures so you get the idea of what my house looks like?
You can upload more than one photo to show us various angles of your home; however, keep in mind that for each side ordered we will only use ONE PHOTO to create your design. So, be sure to have one level, high resolution photo with the entire space you want designed. For more information about how to take the photo, please see above.
- I have so many trees in front of my house that I can’t get a clear photo. What do I do about this?
Tree coverage and landscape coverage on your home or building is a common situation. The good news is that oftentimes we can work with tree coverage on your photo. Feel free to still submit your order. Here is what we recommend:
Take a picture of your house with the tree blocking it. Do your best to make it ‘straight’ (not at an angle), get your whole house in the frame, and make sure it is a high-resolution picture. Then take additional photos of what is behind the tree. Submit all of these photos with your order. In many instances, our designers can create what’s behind trees and bushes based on other parts of the house; please note that we often have to improvise based on what we’re able to see.
If we are unable to work with the pictures you have submitted, we will reach out and review additional options.
Note that we cannot use a panoramic picture for the design. You are welcome to send it so we can see the house and the details but we just can’t use that photo for the actual design of your home.
- I don’t know how to describe a design element on my building.
Sometimes using the appropriate vocabulary just makes it easier to explain what you want our designers to know about your project. Struggling to name that pointy thing sticking out from your roof or to describe what you want to see with new windows? Refer to our exterior design dictionary for illustrations and definitions of some of the most commonly used terms that we’ve come across in our work. You may even find some of them mentioned on your deliverable!
As always, if you come across a term that isn’t addressed here or have any questions about something specific, please feel free to contact us.
- What if I forget to tell you something in my entry?
Immediately following your order, you will receive an email with the subject line ‘Payment received.’ This email will have your order # and all of the details you submitted about your project. If you notice something that needs to be changed, please alert us immediately as we begin work as soon as we receive your order.
We will always do our best to accommodate any feedback received. That said, we may not be able to change based on new information. We will let you know what we’re able to do.
- I have a budget to spend on my home’s exterior. Do you work within my budget?
Yes and no. You have complete control of your budget. If you know that new windows and a new roof aren’t in the budget, then let us know and we won’t show you those in your design. We don’t know how much materials and labor cost in your area, so if you have a set budget, it’s important for you to know what changes you’re ready to make before receiving a design.
- Do you work with HOA or historical guidelines?
Yes, we design homes that have HOA and historical guidelines to follow. That said, it’s important that you highlight the requirements you want us to keep in mind while designing in your submission. Please don’t send us the book and ask us to figure out what you can and can’t do.
Keep in mind, we recommend paint colors we know and trust. If we haven’t seen the color live in different environments it won’t be a color we generally recommend. If your HOA requires exact colors, we can show you what your house will look like with those colors; however, we will be taking the color from an online color chip. Sometimes the color chips don’t accurately reflect how the color will look on your house.
- I have already chosen certain design elements (e.g. stone, windows, doors, siding, etc.). Can you show me these on my exterior?
Yes! We are happy to render your home with elements you have already chosen. Please be sure to include a link to the items you have chosen and/or a photo of the items. We will render them to the best of our ability based on the information and photos you provide. Also, in your submission, please be sure to let us know what remaining elements you would still like design input on.
Of course, we ALWAYS RECOMMEND TESTING paint colors and GETTING SAMPLES of stone, siding, brick, etc., because every eye and computer screen shows color differently.
After you receive your design
- What if I’m not in love with the design I receive? Do you offer revisions?
- Our ultimate goal is that you love your home design and feel as though you have the knowledge to bring it to life. We understand tweaks may be required to ensure you walk away with a design you can realistically accomplish. The work our designers and rendering artists do for each of our clients is custom; therefore, there are limitations as to the revisions we’re able to accommodate.Each design comes with one free revision element. We appreciate timely revision requests and ask that you try and submit any revisions within 7 days of receiving your deliverable. However, we understand that this is not always possible and will accommodate your free revision request as soon as you are ready. Also, please note that some revisions require a fee. Please head to our About Revisions page for full details.
- Do you offer refunds?
We begin work on every project within hours of receiving the order. Because of this, there are no refunds for work that is in the design process or that has been delivered. If you have specific questions about your order, please contact us. Please note that, if we process a refund for any reason, we will hold back 3% of the refund amount or a minimum of $30 to cover our processing fees.
- After I receive my design, do you help me contract the work or provide prices to get the work accomplished?
Our mission at brick&batten is to help you envision the exterior design of your dreams and arm you with the plan to make it a reality. Our goal is to make the process of ordering and working with contractors seamless. Our clients either hire a contractor, do the work themselves, or some combination thereof.
- What recommendations do you have for testing paint colors and getting samples?
We ALWAYS RECOMMEND TESTING paint colors and GETTING SAMPLES of stone, siding, brick, etc., because every eye and computer screen shows color differently. Before purchasing siding, brick, stone, etc., ask the manufacturer to send you samples. View those samples in your environment. Before painting your home, test the colors on the surface being painted. Observe at different times of day.