Western Australians are partial to a double-brick home, but what do we really know about double brick and why does it continue to be so popular?
Double-brick construction is where two walls of a building, known as an external leaf and an internal leaf, are separated by a cavity or an air gap.
Atrium Homes Sales and Marketing Director Daniel Marcolina said double brick still remained very popular in WA.
“Double brick requires little maintenance over time so is still very popular,” he said.
“Compared to materials like timber, bricks don’t rot, dent or need to be painted and won’t be eaten by termites.”
Although clients question construction methods and request to see comparisons between double brick and lightweight construction, Weststyle Managing Director Tony Ricciardello said there were a number of benefits when it came to building with double brick.
“Brick provides a strong solid base to the home’s ground floor and, being sturdy and strong, means it can support a slab easily with limited structural columns and extra reinforcement,” he said.
In addition to this, Mr Ricciardello said bricks could also add aesthetic appeal.
“There are so many more face bricks on the market in recent years,” he said. “The variety of colours, textures, sizes and prices are incredible, and they can add to the style and value of your home.
“Face bricks can help recreate character if your goal is to emulate the history of your area and are flexible enough to create curves and articulation to add feature and interest.
“Bricks will always have a timeless quality, embodying earthy and natural tones.”
According to Mr Marcolina, the trusty hard-wearing brick reigns supreme when it comes to durability and insulation.
“The compressive strength of brick is much higher than materials such as timber and double brick has a high amount of fire resistance, offers high wind protection and moisture control,” he said.
“The air gap in double brick provides insulation and acoustic benefits and it can also be used for the installation of insulation membranes, which improves both the insulation and acoustic benefits.”
Mr Ricciardello said when double brick was combined with other design techniques it could increase the energy efficiency of the home.
“Used correctly and in conjunction with other passive design techniques, brick and blockwork can improve the thermal performance of your home due to its high thermal mass abilities,” he said.
“Constructing a double brick or block wall with adequate cavity and insulation will assist in preventing heat from transmitting from the external leaf to the internal leaf and into your home during summer.
“Conversely, during winter when it is warmer internally, the construction of the wall will aid in retaining the heat within.”
Although both Mr Ricciardello and Mr Marcolina still see the major benefits of building with double brick, the recent increase in demand has seen people consider alternatives to save on time and money.
Mr Ricciardello said if time was a factor, a house could be built faster with other materials.
“Generally houses are built slower with double brick,” he said. “Due to the recent supply and cost fluctuations, double brick and timber-framed construction have become similar in cost, therefore the speed of the build may be a reason to consider alternatives to double brick.”
Mr Marcolina said depending on availability of tradespeople, it could be more expensive to build with double brick than most alternatives.
Atrium Homes, 6310 8888, www.atriumgroupwa.com.au
Weststyle, 9345 1565, www.weststyle.com.au