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Brick vs. Wood Homes in Texas

By Tabitha Naylor

If you live in central Texas in particular, you may notice an abundance of brick homes and not very many homes constructed out of wood. Perhaps you are wondering why? Is there some advantage to building your home from brick as opposed to wood? This article will examine some of the reasons many prefer brick but it will also look at some of the advantages of building with wood.

One of the primary reasons central Texas homes are built from brick is that brick is well suited to temperature extremes. Brick can handle extremely hot summers, periods of drought, heavy rain, and heavy humidity equally without stress. It is a highly durable building material.

Many home-owners prefer brick because it requires little or no maintenance. It does not need sealing, or painting and it does not rot or become infested by termites. If you are looking for a low maintenance home then brick certainly has the edge over wood construction.

Another benefit of building with brick is the fact that brick is fireproof. Brick will not burn. The immediate benefit of this is that the home is generally cheaper to insure.

For those looking for a more energy efficient home, brick offers better thermal mass and consequently it is a better insulator. It will keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in the summer heat because the thermal mass of the brick exterior wall slows the transfer of heat or cold into the interior of the house. This means your energy bills will be lower.

A final pro for brick is that it retains its resale value better than homes with siding. Some local governments are requiring that all new homes for sale be constructed of at least 75% brick/stone or hardiplank (concrete siding).

The downside to brick is that it costs more to build with brick than wood and it is less flexible so it does not lend itself as well to projects where you want to do major renovations or your home design is unusual, or you plan to add on additional rooms.

Wood has some pros of its own. It looks beautiful, and it is especially appropriate when your home is in a natural, or forested area. Wood is bio-degradable, and generally more affordable than brick or stone. Wood homes are also much easier to renovate, alter, and build. Thick rot-treated log homes can last up to a hundred years old or more and wood also provides decent insulation. Wood absorbs humidity, unlike brick, and acts as a sort of natural air-conditioning.

Wood homes require more maintenance, and are not fire proof like brick. However, wood is more flexible than brick, and it is especially useful for unusual home designs or homes that are built in stages where the plans include future expansion.

In the end, it comes down to personal choice, and what aesthetics and functionality you want and need in your construction materials. It is important to consider the climate where the home will be built, the design of the home, and how much maintenance you are prepared to take on. Any, or all of these elements can affect the final choice of the building materials you use in your home.

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