Benefits of Building a Brick House New Guide: Masonry Chicago
Benefits of Building a Brick House: In-Depth Details for 2022
Brick homes have been popular for centuries, and for good reason. These houses not only look beautiful and stylish but they are also very sturdy and long-lasting, with the oldest brick house in the US, in Virginia, dating all the way back to 1665. Nowadays brick siding and brick veneer are more common than solid brick and give similar results. Find out why you should use brick when building your new home and learn how the brick construction process works. When you’re ready to discuss your new brick house in Chicago, contact Masonry Chicago, the cities most experienced brick home builders: 773-231-5371 or email [email protected]
Building a brick house – is it a good idea?
As with any building material or construction method, building a brick house has its advantages and disadvantages.
Brick house advantages
Bricks are a very strong and long-lasting material. This means that houses with brick exterior walls are more resistant to things like earthquakes, high winds, and pests like termites.
Because brick doesn’t get rotten like wooden exteriors, or flake and chip, like paint, it requires a lot less maintenance than other exterior wall siding materials. Bricks also retain their color for a long time and only require very occasional cleans with a pressure washer. Your mortar may need reporting but this is only required every 20-30 years.
As bricks are made from natural and abundant materials like clay, shale, and sand they don’t use any rare resources that have an environmental impact. If you decide to tear down a brick structure, reclaimed bricks can be reused and may even be more valuable than modern bricks (if they are antique bricks). And when you finally put broken bricks in the landfill they don’t leak any harmful chemicals as they break down.
Bricks are also energy efficient, reducing the amount of heat transfer from your home’s exterior, helping you maintain a comfortable temperature indoors.
Another wonderful benefit of brick is its fire-resistant properties. This not only means that your house is safer but can also lead to reduced insurance premiums.
Bricks have fantastic sound dampening qualities giving your home a natural layer of sound insulation. This can be especially of benefit if you live in a lively neighborhood or near to a busy road.
While bricks are porous and can absorb water, they can also release it without suffering any damage like getting moldy. This makes them a great option for all sorts of climates including high humidity, dry heat, and extreme cold.
Houses with brick walls are very popular with buyers, who find them very attractive, which can make your house easier to sell. This can even increase the sales price by around 6% compared to similar houses that are built without bricks.
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Brick house disadvantages
While brick houses have many advantages there are a few downsides to this versatile material.
In general, brick houses cost more than similar-sized wood-framed houses, with standard siding materials. This is in part due to the cost of the materials but also the labor costs. Employing a skilled mason will cost more than a general builder, and it may even be harder to find a suitable brick mason in your area. Brick construction is also labor-intensive, which can also increase costs.
Hard to remodel
If you want to build an addition to your brick house you’ll probably want the bricks to match, and finding exactly the same brick can be very difficult. An experienced masonry contractor, like Masonry Chicago, will do their best to find precisely the same brick (or close enough), but this can add time to the remodeling process.
Difficult to paint
Why you’d want to paint over beautiful natural brick, we don’t know, but some people like the look of a painted brick house. Painting brick is a more costly and time-consuming process than painting most other types of homes.
While foundation movements can be damaging to all types of houses, the cost of repairing a brick house after major foundation shifts is generally higher than that of other types of houses.
While brick houses are low maintenance your mortar will deteriorate over time and require repointing. However, the good news is that mortar should last for 20-30 years so in the grand scheme of things this is a minor maintenance cost.
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How to build a brick house facade
With all that said, most people agree that the benefits of brick outweigh the disadvantages. So now you’ve decided you want your own beautiful brick home, here’s the basic guide for how to build a brick home.
As it’s the most common technique used today, we’ll be detailing how to build a brick facade on an existing wood-framed house. This is quite a time-consuming process so be prepared for your home to be a construction site for a while.
Prepare the walls
Before you can start building brick walls you’ll need to prepare your house:
- Remove any existing siding. How you do this will depend on the siding material and how it is attached.
- Remove window and door molding.
- Cover the house in house wrap or a similar waterproof layer.
- Mark the covering paper just below the window openings.
Prepare the ground
You will need to ensure your brick wall is attached firmly to your foundation. You can do this by attaching an angle iron, which has been cut to size, firmly to your foundation. Your mortar will be laid on the angle iron, spreading enough mortar for 2-3 bricks at a time.
Begin laying bricks
Lay your bricks, aligning the first with the end of the foundation. Make sure you leave 1/2 inch of space between the bricks and the foundation and wall as a space for air. Butter the end of the subsequent bricks, as you lay them, with a 3/8 inch layer of mortar and tap the bricks into place. Make sure the bricks are level using your bubble level.
Tidy the mortar joints
As you go, wait until the mortar has firmed up enough, and then use your concave jointer tool to tidy up the mortar joints. When the mortar is almost fully dry you can clear away any scraps of it on the bricks using a stiff brush and a damp cloth.
Place weep holes
Make sure you put weep holes in the brick course that’s level with the ground to allow any moisture to drain away. You can do this either with a small plastic tube or a thick piece of cord, placing them in the mortar between the bricks flush with the ground every 2 feet. Make sure the tube or cord is long enough to reach from the airspace to the outside.
If you use a plastic tube it can remain in place but if you use a cord, remember to remove it before the mortar is fully set, leaving a clear hole.
Attach the wall to the frame
You want to make sure your wall is attached to the house frame. Once you have laid the bricks up past the foundation you can attach brick ties to the studs in the house frame and then mortar them into the next course of bricks. You’ll need to use these every five courses of bricks.
Door and window openings
When you get to door and window openings you’ll need to place a rowlock course of bricks, with these bricks at right angles to the other bricks, under the window opening. You may need to cut bricks to size for this, depending on the shape of your window sills. You may need to use thicker or thinner mortar for the bricks to fit correctly.
As your exterior siding is thicker now you may need to make extensions for your molding before replacing this around the doors and windows.
Finish laying brick
Your brick walls are almost complete. Finish laying the bricks to cover the house facade and wait for them to dry. Enjoy your beautiful new brick house.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to build a brick house?
These days solid brick houses are not regularly built in the US, although they are still built in other parts of the world. Most modern brick houses have brick veneer or facing, using either full-sized bricks or thin bricks.
According to HomeAdvisor, the current cost of putting brick siding on a 2,500 square foot house (the average size of a house in 2021) is between $10,000 and $75,000. This only covers the cost of installing the siding, including labor costs and materials. This doesn’t include the rest of the house building costs.
Is it cheaper to build a house with wood or brick?
In general, wood-framed houses are cheaper than brick houses. As well as being cheaper wood-framed houses are quicker to build, but they won’t last as long as brick houses and don’t have many of the benefits a brick house enjoys.
These days when building a brick house you will often find they are brick siding on the exterior walls of a wood frame. While brick siding cost is often higher than other siding materials it is much more durable as well as being lower maintenance, so can save money in the long run.
Can I build my own brick house?
Unless you are a trained mason it’s generally not a good idea to build any brick structures higher than about waist height, and certainly not any with a structural element. Bricks are heavy and if they are used by a novice the risk of them falling and injuring someone is high.
However, if you have a lot of time on your hands and have good organizational skills you can project manage the construction of your own brick house, hiring skilled masons for the actual construction work.
If you want to try bricklaying at home some safe starter projects are brick garden paths and low brick garden walls and planters. These will give you a taste of working with brick and mortar while making your garden more attractive.
Build a brick house in Chicago
Whether you’re looking for a brick house renovation, a new brick face house, or brick home construction speak to the professionals at Masonry Chicago. This family-run company has more than 20 years of experience building brick homes, commercial buildings, and other brick structures around the city. Our work is immaculately finished and built to last. We offer a full range of services from general contracting to brick restoration and everything in between. Call us now for a free consultation at 773-231-5371 or email [email protected]
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