When it comes to cladding options in Australian suburbs, there are two options that stand out from the crowd: weatherboard houses and brick houses. Each material has its pros and cons, so it comes down to figuring out the best option for your home. In this blog, we’re looking at both weatherboard and brick houses, providing you with the information to make the right choice for your dream home.
Weatherboard Homes – Advantages and Disadvantages
Weatherboard cladding has a much cheaper initial price than brick. This applies to both the cost of the material itself and the installation price, making weatherboard a popular option for anyone on a tight budget.
Cheap to repair
Along with having a lower initial price, weatherboard is relatively cheap to prepare especially if you catch the issue early. Depending on the size of the crack or damage, a panel can be replaced rather than your entire exterior
One of the most appealing aspects of a weatherboard is the flexibility it offers you in design. The wide range of options offered by weatherboard include:
- Timber weatherboards
- Vinyl weatherboards
- Fibre Cement weatherboard
Can be vulnerable to ground movement
Brick houses are more vulnerable to erosion or earthquake-prone areas. While the latter is not a big issue in Australia, if your block of land has a lower soil classification, you may need to use a different material to compensate and create a stronger foundation.
Timber weatherboard vulnerable to termite damage
Anyone who’s had a termite problem will tell you it isn’t much fun. It can be an expensive problem to solve, particularly once you factor in repair costs and the price of a pest inspector.
Weatherboard isn’t as durable against strong winds, and can be vulnerable in heavy storms. Moisture control can be an issue with timber weatherboards leading to mould, rot and cracking.
While weatherboard does provide some noise reduction, you’ll need to install another form of insulation to keep out the outside noise, especially if you live in the city or near a busy road. Furthermore, weatherboard houses won’t retain heat in cold weather or keep houses cool in summer without extra insulation being installed.
Weatherboard houses require regular maintenance, including regular painting and repair work. Whether this will negate the initial savings you made will depend on the extent of these repairs. At the very least, it’ll mean more ongoing work for you.
Brick Homes – Advantages and Disadvantages
Long-lasting and high-durability
Brick has been a staple of building materials for millennia in part because of its impressive durability. It’s the reason so many heritage buildings and older houses are made from brick. This detail is part of the reason brick homes often fetch a high price on the open market.
Brick is a natural insulation
Brick provides excellent insulation and will help lower heat loss during the colder months. This makes your home more energy-efficient as you won’t have to use air-conditioning as often. It’s also great for noise reduction, which means you’re less likely to be kept up by outside noise, and you can turn your music up louder without annoying your neighbours.
Low maintenance costs
Although brick has a higher initial cost than other materials, it has low requirements when it comes to long-term maintenance costs. Along with creating structural integrity that reduces the need for repairs, cleaning a brick home is easy and quick.
Bushfires are a big concern throughout Australia, and a huge advantage of brick houses is their fire-resistant nature. This won’t make you impervious to fire, but it’ll greatly reduce the damage done to your home and the chances of your house going up in flames.
Brick veneer is one of the more expensive materials you can build your home with. This doesn’t include labour costs which you’ll need to add on top of the initial material cost. Brick construction takes longer adding to your costs.
Can make renovations more difficult and expensive
Though there is little upkeep with brick, it may make a major renovation more expensive if you’re required to move or add more bricks.
Can be damaged by extreme weather conditions
A brick home can be vulnerable to frost damage, however, this is only a real concern in icy areas. Northern states of Australia are unlikely to have much issue with this.
Brick houses are in most cases a strong, sturdy material, however, they aren’t ideal for blocks of land with poor foundations. Your builder will be able to recommend the best material for land with poor soil conditions.
Brickhouses can also have issues in earthquake-prone areas, however, this isn’t as big of an issue in Australia as in other countries.
Construction and Insulation Considerations
Installation is a lot easier with weatherboard which means a shorter construction time and lower labour costs. A brick house will take longer to put together, which means higher maintenance costs for you.
Maintenance and Longevity
A brick house has the advantage over a weatherboard home in terms of both maintenance costs and overall longevity. Weatherboard is more likely to crack or need repairs and overall needs more maintenance than brick. The other side of this equation is that when brick does need repairs, it is usually more expensive.
Design and Aesthetic Considerations
When it comes to variety, weatherboard has a larger range of styles to choose from including timber and fibre cement. However, the brick house has stood the test of time for a reason. It’s a timeless look that works in almost any neighbourhood.
Overall though, it comes to personal taste. Weatherboard houses have a more modern look whereas a brick home is a more traditional, classic look.
Environmental Impact and Sustainability
Weatherboard is often made from reclaimed wood or recycled materials making it a more environmentally friendly option initially. As for the long term, it really depends on the climate of where you live and the quality of your insulation as to which material will be more sustainable. Any house built in an area that experiences more extreme temperatures (whether hot or cold) will likely need the assistance of air-con or heaters more often.
Price is one of the biggest deciding factors when choosing the right building material. Brick is a noticeably more expensive material. For 1000 bricks, you can expect to spend between $750-15,000. You may be charged per square metre, in which case it’ll cost about $50-100 per square metre. On top of this, you’ll pay around $50-100 per hour to cover the labour costs of your bricklayers.
Weatherboard on the other hand can be bought for as cheaply as 3.20 per square metre, with more premium options costing closer to $7 per square metre. In terms of labour costs, weatherboard comes to a similar price to brick, costing between $50-120 per hour depending on who you hire.
Regional and Climate Considerations
A weatherboard house has a few potential issues when it comes to the Australian climate. Timber weatherboard is vulnerable to moisture which can lead to water damage and rotting wood, both of which can cause serious structural damage.
Well-constructed brick houses are durable against strong winds, moisture and mould. However, it can have issues in areas with high erosion or in earthquake zones. Chat with your builder about this if you have any concerns and they should be able to guide you in the right direction.
Resale Value and Market Trends
Market trends show us that brick houses consistently demand more on the open market than weatherboard houses of a similar ilk. Naturally, other factors such as location and features of your house will come into play, but statistically, building a house from brick will add to its resale value.
So, which should I choose?
Brick is a more expensive choice but has some great long-term benefits such as durability, increased house value and insulation. Weatherboard is more affordable making it a great option for first-home buyers. However, it needs more maintenance and won’t last as long.