If you’re in the fortunate position of planning to build a beach house from scratch, or perhaps buying an existing one, but are uncertain of what materials to use, this post can help. We have all had daydreams of moving to a house on a beach somewhere warm – particularly those of us in Colorado! – but the dream is usually of a simple wooden structure and seldom brick.
Brick is a good material choice for a beach house, offering strength, stability, and the ability to withstand inclement weather exceptionally well. It doesn’t rot, split or perish, and is easier to maintain than many other material choices. Initially pricey, bricks have almost no maintenance costs.
The first choice material for many people when planning or buying a holiday (or permanent) home on the beach will almost certainly be wood. Good, warm timber that will take on the ambiance of the sea air in the first year or two and then envelop you in its comfy embrace for years after that.
This is perfectly accurate, but just because this is the obvious choice doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Building with bricks is becoming more and more commonplace, even for beach houses and the possibilities are endless.
Is Brick A Good Choice For A Beach House?
Most of the effort, fun, and choices will go into and be absorbed by the interior of your new house, and that’s perfectly natural, but bear in mind that it’s the exterior that keeps the interior…well, interior! When the winds come to huff and puff at your door, you’re going to want an exterior that is not splitting, rotting, or otherwise falling apart to protect the beautiful enclave you have created.
To combat the sun’s blistering rays withstand the ocean gales and the increasingly frequent abnormal storms that the entire world is facing, very little beats brick, and though noticeably more costly than timber, there is far more to the equation. Facebrick – brick left un-plastered and painted – requires far less maintenance than timber, in both time and greenbacks.
In fact, the first time you sand down your timber house before treating the wood with varnish or paint, you will realize why that annoying neighbor kept suggesting you build in stone or brick. Of course, if you have staff to do this chore for you, it’s a different story, but there’s far more to a brick choice than ease of maintaining the dwelling.
How Are Bricks For Combatting The Elements?
Bricks look great on any home, including a beach house, but they also add value to your investment. In winter, they heat up slowly but take much longer than wood to cool down, lowering gas and heating costs. In summer, bricks will insulate the house somewhat, keeping it cooler and a great place to visit. Who wants to holiday in a sauna?
A brick building has excellent thermal mass. This is the ability of a heavier, denser material to store heat for a time and then slowly release it. This leaves the house cooler in summer and somewhat warmer in winter.
Is A Brick Beach House More Stable?
With modern technology and building materials, no beach house will fall over easily, and if a hurricane roars in, you’re certainly not going to be any safer in a brick house, but that’s not the issue. A brick house will stand up to strong winds, driving rain, scorching sun, and stinging sandstorms a lot better than a timber structure with little to no maintenance required, other than a hose-down and window-clean on occasion.
Brick homes offer far superior high-wind protection when compared to timber or vinyl siding. The Wind Science and Engineering Research Center aptly demonstrated this at Lubbock’s Texas Tech University.
Though many miles from the Gulf of Mexico, this university is one of the US’s leading schools in hurricane wind research. Their team postulated that a 7.5-foot long 2 x 4 would penetrate a home built with vinyl or even a fiber-cement siding if thrown at a speed as little as 25 mph/ 40 kph.
By comparison, a 2 x 4 would need to travel at more than 80 mph/144 kph to pierce the wall of a brick home. This is vital in the case of a very high wind event like a tornado, hurricane, or tropical storm. It’s one of those hope-it-never-happens scenarios, but you’ll be very glad you had the brick siding if it ever does.
Cost Of A Brick Beach House vs. A Timber One
As discussed, bricks are a lot more expensive initially but last longer and cost far less to maintain. This adds to the resale value of the property. A brick house is also not susceptible to rot or termite attack, which offsets the initial investment figure.
When building, remember to consider impact-rated windows and doors, which will withstand flying debris thrown about in a storm. They are water-tight, keeping humidity and moisture where it belongs – outside.
Do Bricks Help With Sound Insulation?
If one of the drawcards of having a beach house is the sound of the crashing waves, then bricks might not be the best choice for you, as they insulate against sound far better than timber. That said, having bricks as your siding gives you a little quiet inside, but you can always open a door or window if you need an auditory treat.
Pros And Cons Of Bricks For Building
- Compressive strength is very good for normal construction
- The raw material is easy to obtain
- Environmental impact during production is limited
- Fire resistant
- Maintenance costs are very low indeed
- Very durable – last for many years
- More secure
- Good sound insulation
- Mold growing in cracks might be an issue if conditions are favorable
- Less tensile strength
- Construction is time-consuming
- Less trustworthy in areas of seismic activity.
If the beach house is already built from brick, you can go ahead with confidence, all other things being equal. If you’re considering brick, then the initial cost will be higher, but maintenance will be lower, and bricks are great for withstanding the elements and offer added security.