Bricks: The best house building material

What building materials to use: Wood or Brick?

When it comes to choosing the right sort of building material for your house renovation or building project, what is the best material to go for? Brick and wood are practical choices as building materials for homes. They also come in a massive variety of colours, finishes, treatments and styles. Brick and wood are natural to look at and very durable and they insulate well too. You can build a house from all bricks, one from wood panelling or a mixture of both. What factors should affect your decision though when deciding what building material to use?

The location of the building project

Brick and wood can be used for both city and country dwellings. Bricks work particularly well in cold climates as they retain natural heat and stay warm for a longer time than wood. This is particularly true for properties that are exposed to sunlight for a protracted period of time. Buildings constructed from bricks also protect very well against storms and is a reliable option where storms are a genuine threat. Wood as a building material is convenient in the more remote settings such as in the vales where erosion and silt accumulation can cause damage to brick walls and where wood is widely available. Wood is also relatively light compared to brick and is far more flexible.

Purpose of building with brick and wood

Bricks retain an excellent property value, it insulates well and properties constructed from bricks are easily sold on. Bricks are frequently guaranteed to last for one or two lifetimes. Although, brick is marginally more expensive than wood, it is still the best overall building material for properties in the United Kingdom. Because of the bricks solid construction, they may slow down the process of basic renovations or additions should you wish to change the structure of the property, whereas wood is cheaper, quicker and easier to work with, just not as permanent.

Wood is a sensible building material for semi permanent houses and cottages. It is biodegradable and quite affordable. Wood homes tend to be easier to renovate, alter and build than those made from brick. As long as the wood is very thick and treated against rot, logs can last up to one hundred years or more. Buildings made from wood do pose a significant problem though, they burn very quickly!

The great fire of London wouldn’t have happened if bricks were used

The City of London was medieval in its street plan, an overcrowded rabbit warren of narrow, winding, cobbled alleys. It had experienced several major fires before 1666. Building with wood and roofing with thatch had been prohibited for hundreds of years, but these cheap materials continued to be used. The only major stone built area was the wealthy centre of the City itself, where the mansions of the merchants and brokers stood on spacious lots, surrounded by an inner ring of overcrowded poorer parishes whose every inch of building space was used to accommodate the rapidly growing population. As a result, the fire managed to spred very quickly as the wooden fuel was in abundance.

Advantages of bricks

Bricks have several advantages in addition to those mentioned above. Bricks are fireproof, termite resistant and very energy efficient. This may even reduce your household expenses through the years while providing a safe place to live. Brick is also a very stable building material too. It requires little or no maintenance at all. Good quality bricks that have been carefully fired and hardened will not chip or wear for several decades, if ever.

Advantages of wood

Wood also insulates well and is safe. Its flexibility, variety and natural properties make it easy to work with. As such, engineering solutions and architectural plans are often achieved well with wood. This is particularly true for unusual or evolving home designs. Wood is healthy and relaxing. Some woods are thought to release terpenes, a substance that soothes the mind and body. This is known as the forest bath effect and is attributed to eucalyptus by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Food. Wood is also a natural air conditioner and absorbs humidity.

Disadvantages of bricks

There is only one disadvantage to bricks and this really boils down to the quality of the brick and its manufacturing process. Poorly made bricks such as clinkers and older recycled bricks might be pitted, irregularly shaped, worn or prone to chipping. In damp or humid climates, poorly made porous brick may invite mould. Inferior bricks can suffer damage as water and ice expand and contract in its pores. Bricks can also be damaged by vines. There is no worry of getting inferior bricks from ET Clay Products, we have been a leading force in the brick industry for many years for the simple reason that we offer high quality and value to our customers.

Disadvantages of wood

Wood is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters such as fire, infestations of termites and decomposition through rot. Wood is often treated against these problems, and thick logs are resistant to burning, but insuring and protecting wood can be difficult and very labour intensive. Treating wood that is exposed to the elements is something that must be done regularly and cannot be missed, or the property could fall into disrepair rapidly. The value of a home may well be compromised by using wood materials, particularly in stormy areas. In dry areas that suffer from bush or wild fires, a wooden construction is unlikely to stand the test of time. In a violent storm, with high winds, wood can be torn or ripped away far more easily than a brick built property and wood is also susceptible to cracking when soaked.

Upkeep of bricks

Brick are very easy to clean, and a simple wash or spray with a pressure washer is all they need from time to time. In fact, good quality brick require little or no upkeep. Bricks are resistant to damage, though some finishes might fade. In case of accidents, small pieces can be conveniently changed or replaced.

Upkeep of wood

Wood requires regular treatment, refinishing or replacement. Even if it was well constructed, installed and finished to begin with, this work will still need to be carried out at least annually. Cracks should be filled as they appear or before rain or snow finds its way in. In short, wood can be a rather high maintenance building material compared to bricks.

Brick Articles

At ET Clay Products we have years of experience relating to all aspects of brick supply and usage. We have created a list of articles which we hope will be of use to our clients and the general public.

Antique or contemporary bricks for any build

When you are looking for the perfect brick for your building project, you will want to consider several factors. Firstly, you will need to ensure that you have the freedom to choose the brick colour and maybe even style fits in with the aesthetic of your area. Some areas only permit building with a certain colour of brick. Secondly, the texture is a consideration.

Brick built barbecues last a lifetime

As the weather warms up and the evenings get longer, many peoples minds turn toward that great summertime tradition, where the man of the house dons his apron and reverts back to his inner caveman to cook meat outdoors.

Brick built property extensions

Most people would like some extra room at home, whether it be for an extra bedroom, a bigger lounge or kitchen or even a hobby room. However, fewer people can afford to move house these days so they look for ways to improve their existing property.

Brick matching for all building projects

A frequent problem when making additions to any brick building is matching the bricks that were used to construct the original building. Whether the addition is an extension or a garage, the challenge will always be to source bricks that match the original ones.

Brick Matching Service from ET Bricks

How many times have you thought about adding to an existing brickwork construction, but have held back because you couldn't find the exact same bricks to match? Here at ET Bricks we are frequently getting enquiries from people who want to add on to an existing wall, or replace bricks that have been damaged by drilling.

Brick slips for that classic look

How many times have you watched a movie where the home set is in a converted factory or warehouse? Vast open plan spaces to live in with the charm of bare brick walls.

Brick sustainability

Bricks have been used for building countless structures over many thousands of years because of they last for so long and are very durable. This and a number of other factors make them a sought after building material and contribute to their inherent sustainability.

Bricks and their different applications

There are many thousands of different types of bricks, they cover an ever increasing range of coulours and finishes but they can be broken down into a handful of basic types. The majority of these bricks are made from clay and are fired in a kiln.

Bricks around the world

Bricks of one kind or another have been manufactured from many different materials throughout the ages. Whether they be for the construction of a simple dwelling hut to a grand cathedral, bricks have been the staple building material for many centuries. The manufacturing process may change from location to location, but the overall use of bricks has remained pretty constant.

Bricks in so many different colours

Depending on where you live, you may be restricted to a particular colour of brick for your property. The Olde Welwyn brick is a good example. A mellow red that is mixed with 25% grey tones to provide a mature weathered look, textured to give a traditional handcrafted appearance. These bicks form the bulk of properties in the Welwyn village and its larger neighbouring town of Welwyn Garden City, with very few exceptions.

Bricks inside as well as out

We all know that bricks are used extensively around the world to make dwelling houses and office buildings. We are also well aware that there are many different styles and colours of brick for such building projects. What many seem to be unaware of is just how good bricks can be when used as an interior building material.

Bricks: More than just a building block!

Rarely do we walk down the street and pay any particular attention to bricks. Bricks are everywhere and we generally take them for granted, why? Probably the reason we ignore bricks is because we are so used to looking at them on our own house when in the garden, or the view through the front or rear windows of our property may look directly at a very similar, if not the same type of build. Many people would think that a brick is just a brick, maybe different colours exist, but that's about as far as the changes go. In fact, the humble brick has more diversity and heritage than most would give it credit for.

Bricks: The best house building material

When it comes to choosing the right sort of building material for your house renovation or building project, what is the best material to go for? Brick and wood are practical choices as building materials for homes. They also come in a massive variety of colours, finishes, treatments and styles. Brick and wood are natural to look at and very durable and they insulate well too. You can build a house from all bricks, one from wood panelling or a mixture of both. What factors should affect your decision though when deciding what building material to use?

Dampening bricks before laying versus using dry bricks

Should you speak to any bricklayer worth their salt, they will tell you about the benefits of dampening any absorbent bricks before laying them!

Decorative bricks in and around the home

When most of us think of a brick, we tend to think of a red lump of fired earth that is used to build houses. Not very inspiring, but practical nonetheless!

Different uses for house bricks

Should someone ask you to think of the most obvious use for a brick, your mind would most probably start to focus on house building and the construction industry in general. Bricks are without a doubt used for building more than any other use, but just what else could the humble brick be used for?

Efflorescence on bricks: The causes, prevention and cure

We have probably all seen it! That nasty white powdery coating that spoils the look of brick buildings. A recent development of luxury home in Hertfordshire looked amazing when they were finished, but within a short space of time, the majority of these attractive red brick dwellings were white with efflorescence. So what is the cause of this phenomenon and what can be done to prevent or cure it?

ET Bricks and other brick manufacturers

ET Bricks can source virtually any brick you want. We have been leading the way as a brick merchant for many years and not only manufacture superior quality bricks, we supply them from other renowned brick manufacturers too, so our customers can be certain of getting the bricks they want.

ET Clay Products and Wienerberger: The perfect partnership

ET Bricks can source virtually any brick you want. We have been leading the way as a brick merchant for many years and not only manufacture superior quality bricks, we supply them from other renowned brick manufacturers too, so our customers can be certain of getting the bricks they want.

Facade and Cladding Information

A facade is the front or face of anything,  but the term is mainly reserved to refer to a building. Facade is a pretty common word that is used for anything that changes the face of anything. The exterior face of a building which is the architectural front, is sometimes distinguished from the other faces by more elaborate architectural or ornamental details.

Glazed bricks for that extra splash of colour

Glazed bricks have been used to great effect in many building projects over the years. They can really stamp the property with its own unique look and feel when incorporated into a period restoration project.

News of a UK house brick shortage: ET Bricks have the answer

It has been claimed recently in the media that Britain is currently facing a shortage of house bricks! The sudden flurry of house building activity following the recession has been blamed for the severe lack of house bricks available.

Quality Indian Sandstone

When people think about having a new patio, they are faced with a bewildering array of paving slabs to choose from. Many of the slabs for sale at the local DIY centre look great, but are they really up to the job?

Reclaimed house bricks

If you are you building a new property or possibly even refurbishing an old property, you may have considered using reclaimed bricks.

Reconstructed, Reconstituted, Artificial and Synthetic Stone

It's no just bricks that ET Clay Products are famous for, we have a vast range of cast stone and it really is taking off in a way we knew it always would! Cast Stone is often referred to by different names such as reconstructed stone, reconstituted stone, artificial stone, synthetic stone, manufactured stone and art or artistic stone. The two most popular names the buying public use for this product seems to be reconstructed stone and reconstituted stone, but the industry term for it remains 'cast stone'.

Special shape bricks for all your building projects from ET Bricks

When somebody thinks of a brick wall, they tend to imagine a flat vertical surface constructed of bricks, but depending on the design or terrain, it can be so much more!

Special shaped bricks

There’s far more to bricks than just the standard shapes! Imagine how monotonous architecture would be if all buildings were constructed from standard bricks.

The history of bricks and brickmaking

Bricks are without doubt, one of the oldest known building materials. They date back to 7000 BC where they were first found in southern Turkey and around the city of Jericho. The first bricks were sun dried and made from mud. Fired bricks were found to be more resistant to the harsher weather conditions, which made them a far more reliable brick to be used in the construction of permanent buildings, where mud bricks would not have been sufficient. Fired bricks were also very useful for absorbing any heat generated throughout the day, and releasing it at night.

What type of bricks are available from ET Clay Products

If there's one thing we really know about at ET Clay Products, it's bricks! We stock literally thousands of bricks in every conceivable size, shape, colour and texture. Choosing the right brick for your building project can be pretty daunting when you are faced with such a massive assortment of bricks, but then that's why we have friendly and experienced staff always on hand to help that process go smoothly.

Wienerberger Dartmoor Heather Brick

The Wienerberger Dartmoor Heather Brick is a glorious red brick that has been a perennial favourite with our customers for quite some time. The enduring qualities of this versatile brick are the reason why customers continuously ask for this particular brick over many others.

Wienerberger Peak Bordeaux Brick

The Wienerberger Peak Bordeaux brick is a glorious red multi brick that is ideal for so many building projects that require a naturally rustic looking red brick.

Why build with bricks

A home that has been constructed out of bricks displays more than just a style. The bricks allow you to offer a personal reflection of the people who live in the property. With bricks the designs are endless, there are so many wonderful finishes that can be achieved. You can transform your home into a beautiful, living experience with countless ways to have bricks make a real statement about the sort of person you are. It really depends on the sort of look and feel you want to achieve, a classic or modern design, one that is quietly understated with traditional lines or boldly announced in a look that could well be years into the future. The simple fact is that bricks, unlike any other building material can make for an unmistakably individual home.

Why use weathered bricks?

At ET Clay Products, we frequently receive enquiries from customers regarding weathered bricks. There are many reasons why a client will need bricks that have a weathered appearance. Probably the most obvious reason for wanting weathered bricks will be for an extension to an existing brick built building.