Building a home is exciting, but knowing the best ways to do it and which building materials to specify or use is often anything but clear-cut.
The information below will give you all the key info you need to know if you’re comparing double brick to brick veneer. That way you can decide on the interior and exterior walling options that will best suit the house you want to build and live in.
Double brick vs brick veneer at a glance
- Two walls of brick versus one wall of brick + plasterboard & insulation.
- Structural + aesthetic vs. aesthetic only.
- Inbuilt insulation vs installed insulation.
- Costs of materials.
- Costs of labour.
- Construction times.
- Longevity and durability.
What is brick veneer?A brick veneer house has four defining elements:
- A timber or steel frame that carries the structural load of the house, especially the roof.
- A weatherproof outer skin, or “veneer”, of brickwork (laid for aesthetic more than structural reasons) fastened to the frame with wall ties.
- Interior walls clad with lightweight plasterboard sheets.
- Wall insulation fitted between the inner and outer walls to offset heat, cold and noise.
What is double brick?Also called full brick or cavity brickwork, a double brick house features two parallel wall layers made entirely of bricks - an exterior wall and an interior wall - separated by a 50mm air gap or “cavity”. Both brick walls, connected with metal ties set into the mortar for stability, work together to:
- Form the structural framing of the house that the roof sits on top of; and
- Insulate against heat, cold and noise.
As in brick veneer, the outer wall drains water away and, with the 50mm cavity, keeps it from reaching the inner walls.
The advantages of brick veneer
- Lower material costs: Only half the amount of bricks is needed compared to a double brick house, with the interior walls covered with low-cost and quickly installed plasterboard.
- Lower labour costs: Installing Gyprock plasterboard is a much quicker process than offloading and moving a large quantity of bricks onto your building site, before laying a second layer of bricks to form the interior walls. So you’ll save on labour costs as a result.
- Insulation: Plasterboard interior walls on their own aren’t effective at keeping heat, cold and noise out. However, the spaces within the frames on the inside of your brick facade can be filled with a layer of quality insulation to keep your home more naturally comfortable year-round. Bradford Insulation, our sister company, manufacturers an extensive range of home insulation products that are favoured by both homebuyers, architects, and builders.
- Remodelling flexibility: Timber-framed, plasterboard-clad interior walls are easier to relocate if you want to change a room layout in the future.
The advantages of double brick
- Extremely durable: Immensely strong and with the ability to remain robust and intact for centuries, there’s virtually no maintenance required. Just ensure an adequate damp proof course is installed to protect the brickwork from absorbing excessive moisture and ground salts.
- Excellent thermal insulation: Cavity brick houses stay cooler in summer and hold warmth longer in winter thanks to the considerable combined mass and density of two brick walls. Separate wall insulation is therefore not needed to be installed, and energy bills for heating and cooling are lower.
- Excellent sound insulation: Ideal for locations near busy roads, double brick is very effective at blocking noise from outside, meaning your living spaces will be quieter. Openings like doors and windows, however, need to be factored in.
- Reduced termite risk: The absence of a timber frame makes the house less of a target for termites, and limits their impact if they do appear.
- Hanging strength: Decorative items such as framed artworks and photos, shelving, mirrors, and TVs can be much more securely hung on internal brick walls compared to the limitations and complications of embedding a hook into a joist hidden behind a plasterboard wall.
- Feature finishes: In addition to a smoothly rendered finish, interior feature walls can also be painted or left bare to highlight the natural beauty of brick.
- Increases value: For all the above reasons and more, building experts, as well as 87% of Australians, agree that a house built with double brick provides a higher return on investment and adds 20% to its overall value.
The limitations of brick veneer
- The level of thermal insulation against both heat and cold is dependent on the performance on the separately installed layer of wall insulation.
- The presence of the timber frame increases the likelihood of termite infestation.
- A much higher amount of outside noise is able to enter the house’s living spaces, even with insulation installed.
- Difficulties with being able to fix hooks to walls and suspend decorative items.
- A hollow sound and feel to internal walls.
The limitations of double brick
- The doubled bricklaying process takes longer to complete.
- Bricks on both the inside and outside of a house will be more expensive in terms of both materials and labour.
- Renovation projects can be more complicated if double bricked walls need to be relocated.
- A failed damp course will compromise the performance of the internal walls.
Double brick vs brick veneer summary
Use our brick calculator to see how many bricks your next build might need. We also recommend getting a quote from one of our experts online or calling 13 15 79 for more information.
Both the internal and external layers are constructed with brick, separated by a 50mm cavity space.
The combined two layers of brick creates excellent insulation.
A wooden or steel frame provides the house’s skeleton, with brick walls on the outside and plasterboard walls on the inside.
An insulation layer needs to be installed on the frame between the two walls. A wide range of insulation options available to suit local conditions.
What about solid (clay) bricks vs perforated bricks?
After you’ve decided on whether you’re building a double brick or brick veneer house, you’ll need to start considering where you might include solid and perforated bricks. Perforated bricks can be immediately distinguished from solid bricks by their many “cores” (that look like a series of parallel tunnels through the brick from one end to the other) that make them lighter, but less strong. As perforated bricks are made of less clay, they are also usually cheaper than solid bricks. Many houses will use a combination of both types.
Key features of solid bricks
- Very strong and durable.
- Very low maintenance cost.
- Great load-bearing strength.
- More easily reused and recycled.
Key features of perforated bricks
- Lightweight and economical.
- Easy to handle and faster to move and lay.
- Compromised ability to hold fixings for very heavy objects.
- Greater water absorption potential compared to solid bricks.