Benefits of Choosing Bricks as a Building Material for Renovations and Constructions
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Published by TOP4 Team
As a building material, bricks score top marks for eco appeal: they are natural, durable, virtually maintenance-free, and extremely energy-efficient. Brick homes, especially double-brick ones, have excellent thermal mass. In summer bricks absorb the sun’s heat gradually to keep the home cool during the hottest part of the day, and in winter they hold the home’s heat to help keep it warm inside, thus, reducing electricity use by up to 25 per cent, and heating and cooling costs by up to 38 per cent. And when bricks are used in conjunction with good solar-passive design and insulation, it’s possible to eliminate the need for artificial heating or cooling entirely.
The humble brick has undergone a dramatic makeover in recent years. If it’s been a while since you last built or renovated, you might be surprised to learn that the trusty house brick now comes in hundreds of different colours, textures and sizes. There’s been a quantum leap in the ranges of designs and finishes available in Australia in recent years, with new technologies producing great range of high-quality colour coatings.
Colours no span the spectrum from low-key white, dove grey and charcoal through to bold red, blue and purple, while finishes include everything from rustic sandstock to glazed metallics and super-smooth opal finishes. Some bricks/tiles companies are working closely with colourists to ensure their new releases reflect the latest in colour trends like watermelon, lemon and green, as well as a muted ‘Seascape’ range of soft greys, taupe and turquoise are in vogue.
Even fashion designers are getting in on the act to produce a collection inspired by the vibrant colours of Mexico. And if you still can’t find the right style, some companies will customise one for you.
For many in the design world, the return of brick is long overdue. Bricks have integrity as a building material. They have a historical familiarity that people can relate to and, at the same time, they offer up endless possibilities for reinterpretation.
With their warm natural appeal, bricks sit beautifully alongside other natural materials such as timber and stone. You’ll find brick shapes that are specially designed to finish off corners, angles and slopes; designs and textures that sensitively bridge the gap between the old and new parts of your home; and sharp lines and bold colours to set off the most contemporary of builds.
Bricks offer far more than just good looks, they’re low-maintenance, fire-resistant, and have impressive thermal properties. They’re also made to last, with some having a 100-year guarantee.
But it’s the new-look designer bricks creating a buzz among architects and builders. They are being viewed not just for their structural purpose but for their design potential too, with different-sized bricks used to create new effects.
And it’s not just happening outside our homes, but also increasingly, bricks are used internally, whether it’s glazed bricks as kitchen splashbacks or as feature walls in media rooms, where they offer excellent acoustic protection. Polished concrete masonry that are used internally in this way looks incredibly luxurious.
Architects are using bricks to create distinctive homes in all sorts of fresh and innovative ways, from mixing different colours, shapes and finishes in a single application to arranging them in an open-and-closed latticework formation to create intriguing plays of light and shadow while boosting natural ventilation. They’re also creating subtle patterns by laying bricks at different depths and orientations and running a single-coloured brick in various sizes and finishes from floor to ceiling.
Everyone thinks beyond traditional stretcher bond, where every course of bricks is offset half a brick form the course above. Virtually any pattern that tessellates is possible with bricks, including stack bond, where they’re laid in horizontal or vertical columns, chevron bond, basket-weave bond and vertical zigzag — all of which will create an unexpected point of interest inside or out.
When it comes to brick shape, slim is definitely in. The rising demand for thinner bricks, as well as more textures resulted in smooth, honed, split and shotblast textures, and a raft of different colours, including ebony, oatmeal and steel. With all the colours, textures and sizes on offer, architects can use brick to create just about any design imaginable.