Concrete and bricks are two predominant materials used throughout construction work. Their unique characteristics help to tailor them to suit certain projects. Here, we explore and compare the individual qualities.

If you require support throughout your construction or renovation project, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team. Here at Martin Perry Associates, we provide an array of services – so whether you need a chartered surveyor or a structural engineer in Cornwall, we’ve got you covered.

Cost

Budgets will often dictate the limitations throughout the construction project and its design. If this is the main priority for your project, then concrete slabs might be the way to go.

Concrete slabs will generally have a lower cost, this is because they don’t require much in terms of raw materials.

Bricks can be up to 20% more expensive and are also more difficult to cut. The irregularities of the shape of the bricks can increase the difficulty of the installation process, which can raise labour costs.

In terms of value for money, concrete is a clear winner. If you do decide to choose concrete, you should ensure that you choose high-quality concrete.

Cement flowing out of a truck at a construction site

Strength

Concrete and bricks are both relatively strong. This will be accentuated or restricted by the mortar used to hold them together.

Concrete blocks require a minimum compressive strength of 1,9000lbs per square inch. If the strength per square inch is measured, concrete bricks are much stronger than bricks.

Concrete can withstand 3,500 psi, whereas bricks are limited to 3,000 psi, and on top of that, mortar and cement can withstand 2,500 psi.

Weight

Both bricks and cement are quite heavy materials. The weight of the two will depend on the material and the type of construction.

The average clay brick will weigh around 5 lbs. A conventional 8-inch concrete block will weigh around 43 lbs.

If you are using autoclaved aerated concrete or lightweight blocks then you can expect them to contain as much as 80% air, so they will only weigh about 20% of a conventional block that is the same size.

The interior of a home with a brick archway and a cement wall

Insulation

When building a home, the main factor to consider is the insulation values of the material you intend to use. When deducing which is more effective, the R-Value is used.

The R-Value is a measure of how well the material will resist the conductive flow of heat. The higher the value, the better the insulation and the more energy will be saved throughout the property.

Basic brick walls have an R-Value of 0.2 per square inch. Plywood has an R-Value of 2.5. Most brick homes are wood framed with brick sheathing, so this is worth bearing in mind when working out the insulation value of the property.

A conventional 8-inch concrete block wall will have an R-Value of 0.008 per square inch or about 2.5 for an entire block. Insulated concrete blocks can increase their value to about 1.2 per square inch and an air-entrained block can have a value as high as 3.9.

Recommended R-Values are:

• Exterior walls R-13 to R-23
• Ceiling and attic spaces R-30, R-38 and R-49

If you are embarking on a renovation project and need the help of structural engineers or chartered surveyors, get in touch with our team at Martin Perry Associates to find out how we could make your renovation journey smoother.

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