Building a house with bricks: pros and cons

The building material is the first element that we choose when we plan to build our house. In our country where it is part of the heritage, the brick full has regained its former glory and today dethrones the cinder block. It must be said that the advantages of this beautiful red brick are extremely numerous and that we have little to reproach him for. This is what we will see without delay.

The different types of bricks

There are several kinds of bricks, namely:

  • The solid brick or red brick, is a recyclable natural material with multiple advantages. It is devoid of cells.
  • The hollow brick, which has horizontal or vertical perforations, can be used to erect partitions but also walls of load-bearing walls. Lighter than solid brick, and also less expensive, it is the brick most used for building houses.
  • The facing brick, which is a face brick. Pressed or molded, reconstituted or in terracotta, it is mainly used to bring a decorative note to a construction.
  • The refractory brickhighly resistant to very high temperatures that can reach 1,700°C, it is mainly used for the construction of a barbecue, a fireplace or even a pizza oven for example because it is very expensive,
  • The glass blockused inside the house to erect partitions in any type of room, from the bathroom to the living rooms.

Let’s focus here on solid brick, a material very present in our landscapes, and recognizable among all because of its red color.

Building a house with solid bricks: the advantages of this natural material

Solid brick is made with a little sand and a lot of clay. This mixture is first dried and then baked at very high temperature, i.e. 1200°C. This brick may have some differences from one region to another, both in terms of its appearance and its dimensions. But this has no bearing on the many qualities of this brick. In fact, we know him almost only from advantages.

  • Offers good fire resistance,
  • Has good insulation capabilities,
  • Lets the walls breathe due to its porosity,
  • Accumulates heat during the day then releases it,
  • Very solid,
  • Whose density is 2 tons per cubic meter,
  • Highly resistant to humidity,
  • Offers very good humidity regulation which allows you to benefit from healthy air inside the home,
  • Material of construction:

    • Naturel,
    • Aesthetics, so that it is not absolutely necessary to cover it with a facade coating,
    • Durable,
    • Recyclable,
    • Easy to lay.

Solid brick: a material with few disadvantages

One can criticize the solid terracotta brick for displaying a significant embodied energy level, much higher than that of most other building materials – ie 1,200 kWh/m³ – with the exception of reinforced concrete, which is even worse with 1,850 kWh/m³. The entire life cycle of a material is used to calculate embodied energy, from its design to its recycling. Everything is taken into account: the extraction of the raw material, transport, transformation, manufacturing, marketing, implementation, use: these stages require the use of different energies. It is the sum of all these energies that is called gray energy. This makes it possible to compare the materials with each other, at least in this area.

About the raw material price, that of solid brick is significantly higher than that of cinder block. But the comparison should not stop at the purchase price alone. For the analysis to be fair, when choosing the construction material for a house, the cost of insulation must also be taken into account. If one opts for a material with very little insulation, it is therefore necessary to reserve a substantial budget for the insulation of the building, as for example in the case of breeze blocks. However, by opting for solid brick, in fine the cost difference is significantly reduced between these two materials.

For information, the average price of a red brick wall is around 110 €/m² installation included by a building professional. As for the price applied to build a red brick house, just the price of installation by a pro is around 70 € per square meter. This gives us, for example, an all-inclusive maximum of 800 €/m² above water/outside air and between 1,500 and 1,800 €/m² for a turnkey house. Of course, you have to request multiple quotes in order to compare the prices according to the desired services, which vary from one craftsman to another.

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