Brick houses are a sight to see, with their elegance and sturdiness. But while this building material once used to be popular, you may have noticed that it’s being used less and less as time goes on.
It’s not just you’re imagination. Nowadays, carpenters have traded in brick for cement, and now cement houses dominate the market.
In this article, we’ll talk about the history of brick homes, why it’s declined in popularity and the pros and cons of concrete houses.
The History of Brick Homes
Brick is one of the oldest types of material known to man. It was first used in 7,000 BC in Jericho.
To make brick, people would shape them out of mud and then dry them in the sun so they’d harden. Other materials used throughout history include straw and clay.
Initially, brick could only be made in climates where it was hot, but with the invention of fired bricks in 3,500 BC, this made it possible for brick to be made in areas that were cooler.
We have the Romans to thank for the popularity of bricks. They had mobile kilns, which allowed them to bring fired bricks to different parts of Europe. It was an incredibly popular material in the medieval and Renaissance periods.
However, once the Roman Empire fell, the brickmaking art fell along with them. You could only find bricks in Italy, and then in France after the 11th century.
Bricks in America
Bricks were brought over to America by the English and the Dutch when they sailed across the Atlantic and brought brick masons with them. America’s earliest brick structures were built in 1611 in a Virginian colony. Virginians then brought bricks over to Bermuda for trading.
While bricks fell out of popularity, they started getting some attention again in the 18th century. After the Industrial Revolution, bricks were mass-produced through machines rather than made by hand. Because of this, they quickly replaced other materials, like stone and rock.
Why Brick Houses Fell out of Favor
You can’t deny that brick houses look amazing and can give a unique look to your home when compared to all the other ones on the block. But there are some problem areas with brick that make it not the most ideal material to choose for building your home with.
All building materials are susceptible to weathering, and brick’s no exception. While they’re quite durable, they do require repairs and replacements.
Any damage to a single brick requires the removal of all surrounding bricks and sometimes, even the whole wall. With other materials, it costs less time and money for repairs since you can just patch up the area and be done with it.
As you go through the seasons every year, the climate changes and your house’s material will either expand or contract to accommodate the changes. Brick’s durability comes from its rigidness, which also makes it a weak point regarding shifts in climate.
While brick can last through the years, it’ll eventually break down from all the temperature and humidity changes. Also, if you live in an earthquake-prone area, this will also quickly break your bricks down.
Bricks are porous, which means they hold in moisture. This means every type of brick (from low to high quality) will eventually succumb to moisture.
Over time, mold and fungus will grow within it, which will cause it to break down. The moisture can also cause your siding to fail, which is another added cost.
Concrete Houses: Pros and Cons
Nowadays, many homeowners choose to purchase concrete homes instead of brick. Here, we’ll discuss the pros and cons so you can see if a concrete house is right for you.
Concrete Houses: Pros
When you choose fiber cement over brick, you won’t have pricey repairs to deal with. If there’s any damage, it’s a quick and easy repair job on the area. Plus, if you have to replace whole panels because of age or damage, that’s also time-efficient to do.
Also, fiber cement can expand and contract with climate changes, unlike brick. Since it can move and shift with the house, it provides better protection when it comes to weathering and things like earthquakes.
Lastly, fiber cement is great at repelling moisture. It does such a great job of withstanding water that it’s highly recommended as a siding in areas where there is either high humidity and/or lots of rain.
On the other hand, concrete is also fireproof, so if you live somewhere where fire is a real threat, this is another thing to consider.
Concrete Houses: Cons
There are few downsides to choosing fiber cement as your home’s siding. However, here are a few points to consider.
Installation of fiber cement takes a lot of skill, which means you won’t be able to do this by yourself. Plus, you’ll need to hire a reputable contracting company that knows what they’re doing, such as GVD Renovations.
Also, the initial cost is very high. It may not be within your current budget to choose fiber cement over brick, but it can pay off in the long run if you do. While you have to fork over a decent amount of cash in the beginning, the low maintenance costs will offset that.
Choose the Right Material for Your Home
As you can see, concrete houses have risen in popularity with homeowners because of their sturdiness and cost-effectiveness. However, if you’re still a big fan of brick, you should choose to use brick as an exterior design instead.
By utilizing brick on just the outside of your home, you can get all the positives of concrete while still having the beautiful facade of brick. So if you’ve always admired brick homes, you can still get one!
If you’d like to read more about homes and lifestyle, then take a look at our blog articles.