Brick Veneer and weatherboard Homes, pros and cons.
In Australia, the most common houses out there are either brick veneer or weatherboard built houses. Weatherboard built homes are not as common in recent times because it's cheaper to build mass produced brick veneer on slab construction. With this said, there are still plenty of weatherboard homes in existence. These two construction types are your typical Aussie three bedroom standard houses, and on any given day you will find thousands of these advertised online or in your local newspaper.
Veneer or 'cladding' is the term to describe a covering or coating on a structure or material, its basically the skin that protects your home from the outside element; wind, rain, cold and hot weather and helps to insulate your home, it also helps with the structural integrity of your home.
In this article I’m going to talk about some of the problems you may find when potentially buying either of these two types of homes constructed on piers or stumps. We will be looking at the different defects that you may find on the cladding and what the implications are to the homes integrity and future costs that may arrive.
Weatherboard built homes are constructed with timber cladding material made from either hardwood timbers like eucalypts such as; Alpine Ash, Mountain Ash, Messmate or more commonly pine timbers like cypress pine or preservative treated pine. You can also use imported timbers like redwood, baltic pine and western red cedar just to name a few.
But one thing they all have in common is they ROT! Yes having a timber clad house will mean at some point you’ll experience rotting to your timbers, which left untreated will spread like cancer through the timber boards and you will need to replace it which can cost you a lot of money.
Maintenance is an ongoing pursuit when having a timber clad house, if its painted you will need
to re-paint it every 10 years or less depending on the location of your home and vulnerability to the weather extremes. Some timbers are also susceptible to timber pests like borers or termites.
The good news about weatherboard homes is that they are fairly inexpensive to maintain but can be time consuming. If you have a rotted out board you can just have it taken out and replaced without replacing the whole wall. You would then sand back and paint over the board. They don't crack and they move well with the internal structure and footing systems, they also take a lot of stress and movement.
Lets face it, a great looking weatherboard home looks fantastic!
If you are at home right now and live in suburban Australia, get up and walk outside into your street, chances are most of the houses in your street are brick veneer constructed homes. Brick veneer houses are the most commonly built house in Australia. It's almost un-Australian not to live in a brick veneer home, either that or there's no other option in your area.
Brick veneer homes are built with a masonry exterior, either built with different kinds of bricks or cement block construction, they can be painted or rendered and are one of the most cost effective ways of building a home today. They are very durable and need very little if any maintenance at all. . . . until
CRACKS! Cracks in the brick work of brick veneer homes are very common and in certain construction
types can be the result of foundation sinking, poor drainage or expansion.
There are different types of cracks that you have to look out for and the direction in which the brick work is cracking.
In most cases you will have a step cracking in mortor which can be up to 4mm in size, this is common and is normally consistent with the house settling after being built and it is to be expected, and normally is nothing to worry about. If the crack exceeds 4mm this can be caused by foundation movement, expanding soil from periods of wet and dry weather or the strip footings not being property engineered for the construction.
This can be a very costly problem and you might have to get underpinning to the foundations which WILL cost you thousands of dollars.
If the house is not fitted with articulation joins as well this will be a problem with the natural expansion and contraction of the brick work and can cause cracking around windows and doors. Another costly problem.
Both kinds of constructions are great, you just need to look out for defects that may cost you money and always get yourself a building and timber pest inspection before you buy any property.