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The Advantages of Bricks

Posted on 20 Oct 2017

Strong and Durable

An incredibly hard wearing building material, clay brick is able to take the knocks of every day life as well as the weather extremes sometimes experienced in our WA climate. They won't fade, twist or warp, rot or decay, erode or dent and termites can't eat them. For hundreds of years, no material shows so few signs of ageing. All bricks from Midland Brick have a strong load bearing capacity to Australian Standards.

Low Maintenance

Spend the weekend with your family and friends, not trying to fix a peeling wall!

Brick houses have negligible routine maintenance, maybe a clean every so often, but they do not require any finish to maintain performance like render does. In most constructions they do not need re-sealing, re-painting or the like.

This is an important factor to consider when looking at the "whole-of-life" cost of a building and wall cladding. The costs incurred don't just stop once your home is complete so don't forget to take a long term view when choosing materials.

Thermal Performance

Brick buildings, particularly double brick, have excellent thermal mass. The University of Newcastle research1 established that thermal mass, the ability of a material to retain heat energy when subjected to a temperature differential, plays a key role in stabilising temperature swings, keeping the internal temperature in the comfort zone longer. This means it is cooler in our hot WA summers and warmer in winter. It also showed the performance of walls with internal thermal mass was markedly improved by the inclusion of cavity insulation.

In conjunction with good design principles, appropriate use of thermal mass throughout your home can make a difference not only to comfort but to your artificial heating and cooling usage as well. This is significant considering that more than 30 percent of the average home's energy use is made up of heating and cooling.2

University of Newcastle researchers tested four building types (insulated brick veneer, reverse brick veneer, insulated lightweight and insulated cavity brick) for their heating and cooling demands and the results showed that the insulated cavity brick example performed the best.3

1A Study of the Thermal Performance of Australian Housing" Think Brick Australia & Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Newcastle.
2The Australian Bureau of Statistics Environment Issues: Energy Use & Conservation, Australia 2008
3Think Brick Australia: Energy Efficiency and the Environment, The Case for Clay Bricks, Edition 4, 2011

Acoustic Performance

The density of brick makes for a quieter building compared to lighter weight materials, reducing external sound such as aircraft, road noise and loud neighbours and also between rooms within your home. When building in cavity brick, adding insulation helps further by absorbing resonating sound.

Internal partition walls made of brick can reduce noise transfer further when used between rooms of the house. When assessing acoustic performance, it's important to look at the properties of the finished wall, not just the raw materials, and making sure they are sealed correctly and gaps filled in properly. Midland Brick have a range of Acoustic Maxi Bricks (internal two course bricks) for acoustic requirements.

Fire Resistance

There are many components to consider when designing and constructing for bushfire prone areas that can improve the survival chances of a home exposed to bushfire.

The CSIRO survey of houses in the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires in Victoria¹ showed that brick walls significantly reduce the chances of a house being destroyed by bushfire. Fire threats many homes in WA every year, so it's important to factor in your buidling material if you are in fire prone areas.

Midland Brick meet the requirements of all six categories of the Bushfire Hazard building standard, AS 3959 - 2009, including the highest category BAL-FZ, as all bricks are greater than 90mm thick.

Midland Brick have a range of Fire rated bricks for fire rating requirements. For more information refer to the Midland Brick Technical manual or call us on 13 15 40.

1House Bushfires Set Houses Alight: Lessons from Ash Wednesday, Ecos, 43, Autumn 1985.

Design Flexibility

Clay brick has a classic, timeless quality, while still being contemporary, innovative and versatile. Today's generation of bricks from Midland Bricj mean the variety is now vast, and so are the uses.

Their compact size, colours, textures and shapes provide infinite design options. Made from natural clay and shale, no two clay bricks are identical, giving each building its own distinct personality.

Be creative and experiment with brick orientations and decorative effects such as stacking, vertical stretcher courses, banding, corbelling and racking. Such design features are further emphasised by changes in brick colour and size.

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