10 Pros and Cons of Masonry for Self Build Houses

As you start carrying out your initial research when planning to build a self build home, one decision you will want to think about early on is your chosen construction method.

In recent years, the number of options homeowners have to choose from when it comes to self building has increased exponentially, especially with the advancement of emerging construction technology. Therefore, it’s important to weigh up all the options when planning your self build to decide which option is most suitable for you.

There are a variety of construction methods that self builders opt for when building their home:

In this blog, we are going to focus on Masonry Construction.

brick and block house

What is ‘Brick and Block’ Construction in Self Building?

Masonry or ‘brick and block’ construction is perhaps the most well known and established construction method. Masonry is one of the oldest trades in recorded history, and has been used for over 6,000 years according to Soumar.

This method refers to the traditional use of brick, stone or concrete block materials to build your self build home, including the walls and structural elements. The materials are assembled and fused together using mortar to create a durable and strong home or property.

When deciding on brick and block or other construction methods, it’s important to have a grasp on the core pros and cons of each method to make sure you are choosing the method that most suits the type of home you are hoping to build. We have laid out how masonry compares to other construction methods.

stone house masonry construction self build

Pros of Masonry Construction for Self Building

1. Strength and Durability

Compared to other construction methods, such as timber frame homes, brick and block self build homes offer overall better strength and durability. Whether you opt for brick, stone or concrete, this construction method is designed to withstand heavy loads, is exceptionally weather resistant and generally has a longer lifespan.

The large number of masonry constructed properties in the UK are a testament to the reliability of this method.

2. Fire Resistance

All forms of masonry construction provide heightened levels of fire protection in comparison to other methods, largely due to the fact that materials like stone and brick are not flammable. This means that these types of homes are less likely to experience a spread of flames in the unlikely event of a fire, providing an extra layer of security for homeowners.

3. Higher Resale Value

Traditionally constructed homes that use brick and block can often see higher returns when reselling compared to other types of homes.

In particular stone homes, which are considered to be exceptionally durable and aesthetically desirable, self builders who may be looking to sell their self build property on in the future may consider using masonry construction in order to see the best return on their investment.

4. Thermal Performance

Compared to some other methods used in self building, masonry construction offers a very good level of thermal insulation and comfort for homeowners. Materials used in masonry, such as bricks, stones have a greater ability to absorb, store and slowly release heat. This means you may need to rely on your central heating less in the winter and enjoy a more comfortable indoor environment.

5. Low Maintenance

Generally, brick and block construction requires less maintenance over time when compared to other materials and methods. Masonry is very durable and does not need to be frequently repainted, stained or finished which makes it a great low maintenance option.

brick and block construction self build

Cons of Masonry vs Other Methods

6. Cost

In general, masonry construction can be more constantly compared to other modern alternatives on the market. However, this can of course depend on your requirements. The materials that are used in this type of construction such as bricks and stone can overall be costlier, and the labour intensive nature of masonry means higher construction time on site.

This of course can depend on the material you opt for, and stone is often more expensive than concrete or brick.

7. Construction Time

In comparison to modern, modular or prefabricated construction methods available on the market, masonry construction can take more time overall to construct on site. The process of laying brick or stone can be laborious and time consuming, which can lead to an extended construction timeline.

Some other modern methods involved fabrication off-site beforehand which makes them faster to install overall.

8. Design Limitations

Masonry construction can provide more design challenges compared to other methods, particularly stone or brick structures. Particularly when opting for complex architectural features or curved designs, this can be harder to achieve due to the shape and nature of these materials. Often, you’ll need to consult a self build architectural expert or engineer in order to achieve this kind of design with this construction method.

9. Weight & Structural Requirements

Brick and block construction involves the use of fairly heavy materials, particularly when compared to SIPs or timber frame construction methods. Brick, stone and concrete can impose extra structural requirements on your self build, including the need to reinforce the foundations and install load bearing elements. This can add additional costs and complexity to your self build.

10. Environment Impact

The production of some masonry materials, concrete in particular, can have a negative overall environment impact compared to an option such as SIPs. The production of concrete produces significant carbon emissions which contributes to higher levels of greenhouse gases.

If the environment is a consideration for your self build, an option like stone masonry can be a better choice as it is a natural material that does not undergo the same construction process.

Building Self Build Homes with Masonry in the UK

Masonry self builds continue to be popular in the UK due to their performance, reliability and cost effectiveness. While masonry will be a great option for some self builders, they are not always going to be perfect for others.

We recommend carrying out your own research on all construction methods.

If you are interested in a masonry self build, reach out to us on 023 8244 3801 or head over to our contact page.

Related Posts

10 Pros and Cons of ICFs in Self Build Homes

View Post

10 Pros and Cons of Self Build Timber Frame Houses

View Post

10 Pros and Cons of SIPs in Self Build Homes

View Post