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  • Writer's pictureJames Treble

Building Materials: Bricks

Do you remember the story of the 3 little piglets living in three houses built of straw, wood and bricks? Well, the end was quite predictable for that big bad wolf, but if you're building a new home, which material and aesthetic choices are you going for?

While wood and stone have been employed by humankind since walking out the caves, the discovery of mud bricks, 9500 years ago, revolutionised the way we build a home. Originally built as simple shelters, homes became complex structures, and the use of bricks perfectly satisfied the demand for a fast, durable and affordable material. Stronger than wood and cheaper than stone, the brick has served mankind not only to build homes, but exceptional structures like towers, fortresses and bridges that still stand strong, defying time, weather and wars.

shaped bricks in Church of S. Stefano, Bologna, Italy - XI Century

Fired clay has been squeezed into every imaginable and needed shape and coloured and textured extensively to satisfy all the fashionable changes in building trends. But still it is most popular in its original and basic shape: the brick. I love their building flexibility, durability, affordability and aesthetic possibilities. I still own my old Lego bricks and still find time to sit on the floor and build homes with my children; an intelligent and stimulating game. And in my traveling I always admire and wonder at the many different ways bricks have been employed by different cultures.

supporting archways in Ricetto di Candelo, Italy - XIII Century

However, back to you, building a new home and trying to decide which aesthetic solution best suits your taste and of course your budget. Both these factors will lead to your final decision, but my first suggestion would be the usual "Go visit a display homes' centre". There you will find the latest products and material choices, and you'll discover what pleases both your eye as well as your wallet. I'd suggest a mixture of bricks and rendered walls, which the market offers in a range of beautiful modern and contemporary homes.

Waldorf, Eden Brae Homes - XXI Century

Just be aware that while the rendered walls will need repainting every once in a while, bricks will never ask for maintenance. However, while it is possible to renew the looks of a home by changing the wall paint, the bricks you choose will stay the same for ever. Therefore, as changing your bricks later comes with a hefty cost, my final advice to you is to choose a brick that will date well and be able to adapt with changes in taste; A combination of render and brick allows you to affordably update the home with a new coat of paint on the rendered wall, providing your home with new and fanciful incarnations in the future.

colourful and multishaped at Rijksuseum, Amsterdam - IX Century

Just as you take your car to a mechanic , them being an expert, I'd always advise employing an Interior Designer to lead you through the External selections of your new home, as their fee is only a very small percentage of the value of your new property, and making knowledgeable decisions now will save you larger expenses due to wrong decisions or changes of mind in the future

Straw, Wood or Bricks... what is your home going to be?

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