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Choosing building materials: wood versus brick

Building an extension (or even a brand new home) is a big decision to make, but it is an experience made up of lots of smaller choices too. You need to decide how you want the new structure to look and what aesthetic template to follow.

That means understanding your materials, and how to pick between them to get the look and feel you want. Two of the most popular contemporary building materials are also two of the oldest and most well-known: wood and brick. But how do you decide between the two? In this post, we offer a few tips on how to do so.


Bricks have been used to build all manner of homes in the UK, and they’re good for one major reason: they last. A well-built brick structure will hold up for decades and can be maintained to last well beyond that. Additionally, they also look great, particularly if the bricks you source for your extension match the type of your existing home. Writing for Mass Realty, Colleen Colkitt offers her opinion:

“Not only does it tend to add a sophisticated aesthetic, it also adds value to your home. This will make it easier to sell your house when the time comes. It’s a natural choice, and bricks can come in various shades and hues, depending on the specific rock material you use.”


Brick might be stronger and more durable, but it has a significant downside, especially in a modern world that is very concerned with power consumption. Wood is a measurably better insulator that brick when it comes to building homes, which means you can use less and it takes up less space. For brick to reach even close to the same insulating quality, it needs to be built in two rows with a layer of air. Writing for @eHow, G.D. Palmer explains the issue in numbers (which refers to the resistance of a material):

“Common red clay brick has an R-value of 0.2 per inch, while denser, stronger face brick offers only 0.11 per inch. The average 4-inch common brick provides an R-value of 0.80. Four-inch face brick rates 0.44.”

Certain types of harder wood are also more appropriate in situations where your walls are exposed to a lot of silt, which can have a degrading effect on brick. However, the downsides of wood are obvious to most people. Even when properly treated and maintained wood can’t stand up to the same kind of extreme weather conditions brick can and can’t match its overall longevity.


Whether you opt for wood or brick for your extension, the first and last thing to focus on is the quality of your materials. The advantages of either material won’t be felt if your builder uses cheap bricks or wood. This is a structure you want to build to last; the construction will feel inadequate if you don’t focus on the very building blocks that you’re using.

If you use an architect like us, we can offer you a number of trusted contractors to get in touch with regarding your project. These are people we know and trust to do a great job of turning your dreams into reality.

If you want to learn more about the materials choices available to you for your extension, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today, or take a look around our site.



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    Studio 2 4 The Highlands Exning Newmarket Suffolk CB8 7NT
    T: 01638 662393
    Choosing building materials: wood versus brick