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Lick and stick brick: Asphalt siding in Fort Collins

Before vinyl, before aluminum, even before asbestos, Fort Collins covered up its old houses with asphalt siding.  Rolled asphalt siding.

The first of the maintenance-free building materials,  “lick and stick brick” was popular from the 1930s through 1960s. 

You could cover a small house with the stuff for maybe a hundred dollars, and many frugal homeowners in Fort Collins did. 

insulbrick-detail

Detail of house with asphalt siding

And why not? Depression-era hardware store ads promised “complete weather protection, added insulation value, plus a pleasing appearance.” It could last decades.  Look:

1968

1968

2009

2009

But not every house aged so well.  In fact, in urban areas, it came to be known as ghetto brick.  

Here in the West, in our rural areas, we  slapped it  over buildings without good bones to begin with.  The effect was tar paper shack: 

asphaltshack1

Some people think that’s kind of cool.

But most did not. And with easy credit and a nationwide remodeling boom, Fort Collins got most of ours to the landfill well before the refi money ran out.

credits

Have I given enough credit to Norm Cook lately for sharing his memories and his enthusiasm? Not sure Lost Fort Collins would be much without him. Thanks Norm!

6 comments to Lick and stick brick: Asphalt siding in Fort Collins

  • i had this stuff on my house in detroit. it was of the peeling-off-and-looking-like-crud variety. 😛

  • noë

    I love the title “Lick and Stick Brick”! Is that yours? Or was it actually nicknamed that?

  • catfc

    @noë I’m glad you asked. I did NOT make up that term. It’s used in the building trades. I wish I was that clever 😉

  • Lauren

    Near Buffalo NY this is traditional. I didn’t know that it was also in the West 😉

  • Duncan Burdick

    Do you know if this siding is still available? We have an historic building in Colorado Springs that needs a replacement, and would like to use the same material.
    Thanks for any help.

  • catfc

    I don’t know of anyplace that still carries it. But I haven’t had cause to look. I think it’s great that you want to restore yours, however. Good luck.