Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
There’s just something about the classic look of a brick home that captures the imagination. Perhaps that’s why so many prospective home buyers are attracted to brick homes. Known for being sturdy and reliable, some people wonder if there may be serious problems hiding behind that hard exterior. If you’re on the fence about what kind of home you want to buy, here are some of the pros and cons of owning a brick home.
The Benefits of Owning a Brick Home
Bricks come from clay and shale, some of the earth’s most plentiful materials. They absorb humidity better than any other building material and minimize the chances of mold, mildew, and dust mites. Brick is a reliable and compact material, and you can repurpose it for retaining walls, paths, landscaping ideas, or ground up into smaller pieces for permanent mulch or sub-base materials. Like lumber, bricks and the elements that make them up are found all over, and unlike lumber, don’t need to be replenished.
Fire and Weather Resistant
Bricks are flame retardant and noncombustible. Even if you have a fire, brick walls will keep it mostly contained to one particular room or part of the house. Brick structures can also handle high-speed objects flying into them from high winds such as tornadoes or hurricanes much better than other materials.
Brick Homes are Low Maintenance
Because of its color retention and durability, brick doesn’t take a lot of upkeep. It also won’t rot and doesn’t need to be painted after you install it. Other than the occasional drainage problem, brick homes are easy to control. You don’t have to agonize over painting it; just power wash it when the mood strikes, and repair any chipped or loose bricks if they occur. You also never have to worry about termites or carpenter ants, so your house will age well without too much upkeep.
Because of its thickness, brick can block more sound from outside than wood and vinyl siding does, even with insulation as a buffer. That benefits light sleepers, people who like their privacy, and those who want to have friends over for a party without disturbing their neighbors.
Temperature Control and Energy Efficient
If your brick walls are combined with insulation, the brick stabilizes the inside temperature and delays the movement of heat through the wall. In summer, the heat stays outside, and in winter the heat stays inside, saving you money on your utilities. Further, getting Packaged HVAC Equipment installed instead of separate heating and cooling units could also contribute to increased energy efficiency and reduced bills for your brick home.
Increased Home Value
Even though brick houses cost more, they also bring up the value of your home, and you save on maintenance costs, making the purchase of a beautiful house worth it. Many people like the look of brick, and it brings up the curb value of your home and neighborhood. Brick houses catch people’s eye, and they are more likely to look at your house because of it.
Endless Design Possibilities
Because clay and shale is a molded material, bricks come in various shapes, colors, and styles. Each brick is unique, giving every brick structure its own stylish look. Depending on what look you’re searching for, you can usually find it in brick, whether it’s classic or modern.
The Disadvantages of Owning a Brick Home
Bricks Are Expensive
There’s no way around it: brick homes are more expensive. This is due in part to the fact that people want brick homes, and with increased demand comes increased prices. However, brick homes tend to be less expensive to insure because of their durability. Also, brick homes typically have a higher resale value than non-brick homes, so they can still be a worthwhile investment.
When it comes to building with brick, you can have cheaper options, but that usually means they are more porous. In the event of heavy rain or any gutter overflow, water can soak through the pores and into the mortar and plaster, causing cracks and possibly foundation issues, which could lead to severe problems if left unrepaired, hence why you should contact a professional foundation repair company as soon as you notice such problems in order for your home’s foundation to stay intact. Also, you will find that in subzero temperatures, water could get in, freeze, and cause even more damage as the ice expands. If you choose to buy a brick house, make sure the brick is of good, dense quality.
Color Choices are Limited
Because bricks come from clay and shale, your color palate is limited. There can be several hundred colors to choose from with brick, but they will all be earthy colors, like brown, red, and beige. If that bothers you, you can always have your brick house painted or white washed. However, for most brick home lovers, the color of the brick is a big draw.
Repointing the Mortar
Although bricks are reliable and have a long life, the same can not always be said of the mortar. If the mortar starts to wear down and crumble, you would have to repoint your brick, and that costs time and money. It often takes decades for mortar to wear down with proper maintenance and upkeep, however.
Because brick and mortar are so solid, in the event of ground movement, no matter how subtle, you could end up with a shift in your foundation. Brick houses are not built to withstand shifting very well, which may cause issues in your foundation. Shifting and foundation issues do occur in all types of homes though; it’s just how it goes when building on land!
Temperature Changes Cause Issues
If you live in a region where extreme temperatures occur on both sides of the spectrum, brick houses might not be the best option. This weather causes buildings to expand and contract, and brick does not have a lot of give in this area. Consistently fluctuating can lead to some of the above issues like foundation shift, mortar wear, and mold issues.
Remodeling is Difficult
If you want to remodel the exterior of your brick home, such as add a room, it’s difficult to match the original brick. New wiring, windows, and plumbing will also cost more than in a wood framed house.
(Brick) Homes for Heroes
Brick might not be for everyone, both aesthetically and practically. But for those who love the look and ease of brick, it can be a great material for your home.
If you’re in the market to buy a brick house, or any other type of home for that matter, consider Homes for Heroes. Homes for Heroes prides itself on being able to serve those that serve us. Along with our real estate and lending affiliates, we offer significant savings to heroes in their home buying, selling, or refinancing process. If you’re a healthcare worker, police or law enforcement officer, teacher, firefighter, EMS responder, or active or veteran military, we want to get you into your next home.
Our real estate specialists work closely with you to make sure the home you’re buying is the best choice for you, your family, and your budget. Plus, after you close on your new home, you’ll receive our Hero Rewards. This is a special thank you in the form of a check worth 0.7% of the sale price of your home. We also offer discounts on lender fees, inspections and appraisals. Our heroes receive an average of $3,000 after closing!
If you qualify as a hero, head on over to sign up by filling out the information needed. Our specialists will call you and be your advocate for the home buying process- and they will also save you money!
9 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Buying a Brick Home”
Brick is beautiful! So many options and styles. I own two old brick homes in California, the earthquake state, and I will not go back to a plaster/slab/plastic type house if I can help it. Let us face it, do people come to the USA to get tours showing our stucco homes? People do go to Europe to visit enchanting brick or stone homes which have lasted for over centuries. Brick lasts so long, it stops small caliber bullets, is easy to maintain, holds up to strong winds, is very classy, easy to attach bolts & screws to, is a very natural resource and the list of positives goes on and on. You can even reinforce it with rebar to make the walls super sturdy. Have you ever noticed how Governent buildings are contructed of brick, block, steel or concrete, and not made out of wooden stud frame with stucco/ plaster that the common citizens have to live in? Wood frame buildings are termite food. Don’t even get me started on the plastic water pipes and plastic wiring sheaths we are supposed to put in our whimpy stucco houses. Take my advice, stick with brick!!!
I just read your article about RESTORING masonry buildings. You had some great tips for people restoring historic brick and stone masonry buildings.
Enjoyed the article, the only part I would change is the part about the termites. Too many brick homes I’ve seen where the termites manage to get behind the brick and destroy the supporting wood wall costing thousands in repair. Yes brick can protect from the elements, but not termites.
I think that for the most part, the pros outweigh the cons, right? Might be more expensive but you get what you pay for.
Interesting…I will keep this article in mind. Lots of good stuff here.
Making a custom design with brick is really artsy and eye-pleasing as well…masonry workers who can do that are priceless
Love the design of brick…lots of aesthetic beauty. Just need to weigh all the pros and cons before making any long term decisions.
Good article! I wanted to mention that while alot of the colors are earthy like red, orange, and brown, the spectrum of colors available with brick goes from polar white to pitch black. Plus, you can always paint your brick if you wanted to. Good points overall though 🙂