Let’s face it — building material is the cornerstone of design, quality, and comfort for every home. Thus, choosing the right material for your home is of utmost importance.
While there are plenty of great building material options, wood and brick remain the most common. While Europeans typically prefer bricks, Americans tend to build their houses using wood.
Of course, both of these materials have their advantages and disadvantages. So, if you can’t decide whether wood or bricks are the right choice for you, have a look at their benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of Buying or Building A Wooden House
Even though brick houses offer great advantages, wood still remains the most common, traditional building material. Wooden houses have some amazing features that make them both reliable and comfortable to live in. So, let’s have a look at some major advantages that make wood so popular in the States.
1. Wooden Houses Are Fast and Easy to Build
Compared to other types of houses, wooden homes are drastically easier and faster to build. First, wood is a lighter material than bricks and, therefore, easier to manipulate.
Also, when building a wooden house, you may decide to use a prefabricated timber frame. The construction company will make the frame beforehand and then erect it onsite to construct the house. In this case, the construction process will last around ten days instead of several weeks.
In addition, the drying process is faster with wooden houses. So, handymen such as plasterers and electricians can start working on the house much sooner than with brick home constructions.
Wood offers another great possibility — the supplier may construct the entire house in a factory. Once the construction is done, it is transferred to the site where final construction processes take place.
Another great thing about building a wooden home is that the construction is not limited by weather conditions. While brick construction processes have to stop if the temperature drops below 2°C, wooden houses can be built even under severely cold temperatures.
2. Wood Is Cost-Effective
Since the construction doesn’t last long, installation and labor time costs are significantly lower compared to the brick houses. So, the construction of wooden houses is incredibly affordable.
Furthermore, the wood itself is much cheaper than other building materials. It is also easily available — there are plenty of lumber yards that offer high-quality wood. Moreover, you can even get it in home improvement stores. So, it comes as no surprise that wood is the most cost-effective building material.
3. Wooden Houses Are Energy Efficient
One of the best things about wood is that it is a fantastic thermal insulator. Wood products isolate heat from cold and have low embodied energy. As a consequence, buildings made of wood stay warm enough even during the coldest nights. Therefore, their energy efficiency is exquisite, especially when compared to homes made of materials such as steel and concrete.
In addition to being a natural air-conditioner, wood also has the ability to absorb humidity. Finally, wooden walls insulate noise, so you don’t have to worry about loud family members interrupting your peace.
4. Wood Will Turn Your Home Into an Eye Candy
Wood is one of the most flexible building materials. Therefore, it offers a great many opportunities when it comes to your home design. It can be resized, remodeled, and cut easily, so it provides architectural versatility. You will have all the freedom you need while choosing the perfect layout for your home.
Moreover, if you decide to renovate your home after a couple of years, you won’t experience any issues if your home is made of wood — it is very simple to adapt.
5. Houses Made of Wood Are Both Comfortable and Sustainable
Wooden houses are safe and healthy — both for you and the environment. In fact, wood happens to be the only building material that is both sustainable and renewable. While building a house with steel and concrete causes fossil fuel production, greenhouse gas emissions, and air and water pollution, a wooden house will reduce your carbon footprint.
In addition to saving the environment, opting for a wooden house will add to your own mental well-being. In fact, wood has various calming, relaxing effects. Some types of wood even release terpenes, especially under high temperatures. Terpenes have multiple benefits, such as increasing cortisol, reducing stress, and leading to the so-called “forest bath effect.”
Cons of Building or Buying a Wooden House
Even though it is sustainable and affordable, wood has plenty of downsides. Let’s have a look at the major disadvantages of having a house made of wood.
1. Wood Is Not As Reliable As Other Building Materials
While houses made of wood can withstand erosion and accumulation, they are not so great when facing natural disasters.
The most dangerous enemy of wooden constructions is, of course, fire. Wooden buildings are always under the risk of burning down. Of course, there are some fire retardants that reduce the inflammability, but they are not 100% reliable. To make matters worse, incinerated wood can emit various chemicals and gasses that are detrimental to your health.
Besides fire, heavy storms may also inflict serious damage to any wooden building. However, hardwoods and older trees are quite durable, so using them reduces the risks significantly.
2. Beware of Pests
Pests are an imminent danger to any wooden house — they can destroy your dream home before you even identify the problem. Most commonly, owners of wooden houses have to deal with termites, carpenter ants, wood borers, bark beetles and powderpost beetles. These pests work slowly but mercilessly at damaging your home. To make things worse, by the time you identify the threat, it is usually too late to repair the damage.
3. Wooden Houses Need Occasional Treatment
Wood is likely to wear and tear after a while. Since it is a biopolymer, it is subjective to biotic and abiotic degradative processes. Bacteria, mold fungi, sun, wind, and even water can lead to slow deterioration and rot.
Still, if your house was built with high-quality wood, it will require minimal treatment and adaptations. For example, you can fill in the cracks with a natural pitch made from mud, moss, sand, or sap.
Pros of Buying or Building a Brick House
Brick is one of the most common building materials for a reason. Brick houses have plenty of advantages over those made of wood. Let’s take a look at the most important upsides of having a brick home.
1. Bricks Retain Natural Heat
Since bricks can accumulate heat, houses made of brick tend to have a healthy, pleasant indoor climate. In addition, they have the ability to absorb humidity. So, they keep the atmosphere dry and balanced.
Brick houses stay pretty warm during the winter, especially if exposed to sunlight. Thus, they are perfect for colder areas. Also, they tend to be comfortably cool during the summer.
These characteristics of brick houses have other benefits besides creating an agreeable climate. Most importantly, your heating and cooling bills will be much lower due to their energy efficiency.
2. Bricks Increase the Value
A brick home will increase the value of your property. Therefore, selling them is usually fast and prosperous. Actually, brick houses for sales tend to be more expensive than wooden ones. So, if you ever decide to sell your home, you don’t need to worry about the return on your investment. In addition, brick houses insure well.
3. Brick Houses Are More Resilient Than the Wooden Ones
The reason why brick houses are so appreciated is their remarkable resilience. Most importantly, they are virtually fireproof. Furthermore, unlike homes made of wood, they are termite resistant. Moreover, it will take decades for high-quality bricks to chip or wear. Therefore, they can last for generations.
Another great thing about brick houses is their stability. Even the most severe storms will have trouble damaging them. So, they are perfect for locations with unstable weather conditions.
Additionally, brick houses don’t need much maintenance, especially if the bricks are of good quality. They usually require almost no upkeep at all. All you need to do is wash the wall with a pressure washer from time to time, and your wall will always look brand-new.
Disadvantages of Brick Houses
While brick houses are exceptionally solid and reliable, they also have several downsides. Let’s have a look at the major ones.
1. Houses Made of Brick Are Expensive
While this is an advantage from a seller’s point, if you’re looking to buy or build a brick house, you must be ready to invest a greater amount of money. High-quality bricks are not easy to acquire and are far pricier than wood.
2. Bricks Are Not Ideal for Certain Locations
In a lot of ways, bricks are more resistant than wood. However, they are still susceptible to damage under certain circumstances.
Unlike wood, they can be severely damaged by earthquakes. Moreover, silt accumulation and erosion are the brick houses’ greatest enemy. So, if you want to build or buy a house in a valley, a wooden home will be the safer option.
Also, bear in mind that bricks can also suffer from vines. Sure, having a beautiful climbing ivy decoration your exterior walls will make your house look breathtaking. Yet, it will eventually damage your walls.
3. Low-Quality Materials Can Lead to Decay
Most people would be thrilled if they came across a bargain-priced brick house. However, you should bear in mind that such houses are usually built using poor-quality materials.
Some builders use low-grade bricks, such as recycled bricks and clinkers, in order to sell the house faster for less money. Yet, such bricks can be damaged pretty easily. Quite commonly, they are pitted, prone to chipping, and worn. Also, they can have an irregular shape that’s hard to paint. All these issues are both pricey and difficult to fix.
What’s more, low-quality bricks typically have pores that attract mold. Once water and ice get to these pores, the brick will be damaged. Therefore, if you decide to buy a brick house, make sure that it is made of high-quality bricks before making a purchase.
Why Do Americans Prefer Homes Made of Wood?
As you can see, both wooden and brick homes have their upsides and downsides. Still, wooden houses are more common in the US.
While brick homes are resilient and can last for centuries, most people prefer the simplicity and flexibility that wood offers. Moreover, wooden homes withstand earthquakes and erosion much better. Of course, the fact that wooden homes are more affordable and faster to build is another major source of wood popularity.
So, if you live in an area prone to heavy storms and tornadoes, a brick house will be your safest pick. However, if natural disasters are not so common, consider building a wooden home. It is cost-effective, energy-efficient, and you will have plenty of design options.