Whatever material for building a house you choose, it will have its own advantages and disadvantages. However, it is possible to minimize the number of negative factors if you use materials that have proven themselves for the most part on the positive side. You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of brick houses, as well as the pros and cons of houses made of stone and light concrete from the material below.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Stone House
The use of stone makes it possible to build massive, beautiful houses, similar to castles, which combine a noble aristocratic spirit with reliability and high-quality construction. Such structures have been built for centuries (high strength is one of the main advantages of this material), and after a long time, they do not lose their attractiveness. One of the advantages of stone houses is that such buildings and their individual parts can be given almost any shape, and due to this they will look especially impressive. Natural roof tiles look good on the roof of the stone house, it gives the structure even more solidity. In some cases, it is suitable only for a stone house, because natural tile is a very heavy roofing material, and weak walls on a light foundation simply can not stand it.
Another plus of houses made of stone – they are not afraid of the effects of fungi and other microorganisms. Such a structure will not burn to ashes in a fire and is perfectly resistant to adverse environmental influences (extremes in temperature, strong winds, precipitation).
Also, the advantage of stone houses is the high thermal conductivity of stone materials. In practice, this entails effective wall insulation. In ancient times, builders had no idea about insulation, so stone houses had very thick walls so that it was warmer in winter. They lived comfortably in the summer – the stone is slowly heated by the sun. True, for the winter period this is a minus – a house made of stone is very difficult to warm up.
One of the main disadvantages of stone houses is their large mass, reaching several tons per 1 m3 of material. This requires a powerful, well-buried foundation capable of supporting the weight of a massive structure. As you can see, there are many fewer minuses of stone houses than pluses.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Brick House
Brick walls have somewhat better characteristics. This building material is traditionally considered elite, prestigious, and it is justified. Of the building materials of inorganic origin, brick is the most environmentally friendly. This is especially true of ceramic bricks, which consists of clay with a minimum amount of natural additives. The undoubted advantage of the brick house is that the dense and impenetrable-looking brick walls “breathe”, so the structure has air exchange with the external environment, that is, a microclimate favorable for humans is created. It should be noted and such an advantage of a brick house as good sound insulation, which is provided by brick walls. However, their construction is a rather laborious and lengthy process.
Another plus of brick houses is that the mass and thermal conductivity of this building material is slightly better than that of stone, a massive foundation will be required for a brick house.
Brick walls have large thermal inertia: they slowly warm-up and cool for a long time. On the one hand, this is an advantage of a brick house: the daily temperature fluctuations inside the house are insignificant. On the other hand, this is the lack of a brick house: if in winter the building did not heat up for a long time, then it will take several days to heat it. In addition, the minus of the brick house is the fact that during seasonal operation, sharp changes in temperature inside the premises lead to moisture condensation on the inner surfaces of the walls.
Another minus of a brick house is that the brickwork process itself is very complicated technologically because it involves labor-intensive “wet” construction operations, which, among other things, are directly dependent on weather conditions. So, for example, in severe frost or during heavy rain, the erection of walls, as a rule, stops. Well, besides, it is worth mentioning another drawback of a brick house: for the high-quality performance of work, it is necessary to attract a highly qualified specialist, whose work is expensive, and the material itself is also not cheap.
Silicate brick (made from a lime-sand mixture with various additives), although it is slightly cheaper than ceramic, even so, it is not very popular, as it absorbs moisture well and, as a result, has a relatively low frost resistance. In addition, silicate brick differs from ceramic in increased density and reduced thermal insulation characteristics, the structures are heavier, which requires a foundation of increased strength.
Somewhat lower costs can be replaced by replacing a solid brick with a hollow one. This does not make the wall-less durable, but its mass decreases almost one and a half times and thermal conductivity decreases approximately the same. Another, no less effective way of saving is the construction of not solid, but lightweight walls (“effective” masonry). They are made either from two thin parallel brick walls, between which an air gap remains and thermal insulation material is laid or from one brick wall insulated (outside or inside) with heat-insulating plates. In any case, the thickness of the brick wall can be minimal (that is, in one, not two bricks), based only on strength requirements, and thermal protection is provided by a heater.
Pros and Cons of Lightweight Concrete Houses
Some experts believe that it is possible to simplify and cheapen the construction of a country house as much as possible without impairing its performance characteristics by using light (cellular) concrete as materials for the walls. They are a mixture of a binder (mainly cement) and a filler. Monolithic walls can be made of such material by pouring it into the formwork and cast blocks. Moreover, both operations can be done independently, without involving highly qualified specialists. Consider the main pros and cons of lightweight concrete houses: it is immediately worth noting that the advantages of such structures are much greater.
The advantages of light concrete products are their low cost, fire resistance, good sound and heat insulation qualities, resistance to mold and rot. In addition, being made from natural mineral raw materials, they are environmentally friendly and do not have any adverse effects on the indoor microclimate. Speaking about the pros and cons of concrete houses, it should be noted that lightweight concrete usually has good vapor permeability, which is why, according to homeowners, breathing in houses from them is as easy as in wooden ones.
Today, there are a large number of types of lightweight concrete, which vary depending on the filler material and manufacturing technology. Previously, slag concrete, expanded clay concrete, wood concrete, polystyrene foam concrete was most popular. Now in the construction markets are better represented more high-quality and technologically advanced products from gas silicate, foam and aerated concrete. They have a lower mass (more than 3 times lighter than ordinary concrete) and improved thermal insulation characteristics (the thermal conductivity of the wall is 2-3 times lower than that of a brick).
Blocks made of gas silicate, foam and aerated concrete manufactured industrially can have a dimensional accuracy of about 1 mm. This tolerance allows masonry using adhesive solutions, so there are no seams that allow cold through in such a wall.
The disadvantages of almost all types of lightweight concrete are their tendency to crack and shrink. Therefore, despite the lightness of the walls made of these materials, they still require a strong foundation. In addition, facades made of aerated concrete blocks need an external finish that provides protection from moisture.