Double Brick vs Brick Veneer: Key Differences for Sydney Houses

When buying a house in Sydney, one of the first things you’ll notice is the exterior wall structure. Sydney houses are typically built using double brick or brick veneer construction. What are the main differences between these two types? In this article, we’ll compare the pros and cons of double brick versus brick veneer homes in Sydney.

Double Brick House Construction

A double brick house has both the interior and exterior walls built using brick. This involves two rows of brick laid parallel to each other. The cavity between is filled with mortar for structural stability.

Double brick walls are wide, ranging from 270mm to 380mm thick. The brickwork extends across the entire wall from the floor to the roofline. This provides continuous masonry construction without gaps.

Pros of Double Brick Homes:

  • Stronger and more durable than brick veneer
  • Higher fire resistance and acoustic insulation
  • Improved temperature control and energy efficiency
  • Lower maintenance than other wall types
  • Less chance of termite infestation inside walls
  • Higher resale value in some areas

Cons of Double Brick Homes:

  • More expensive to build than brick veneer
  • Heavier structure places greater loads on foundations
  • Renovations/additions more difficult and costly
  • Harder to install wiring and plumbing within walls
  • Overall thicker walls reduce interior floor space

Brick Veneer House Construction

The brick veneer style uses a single row of external brickwork. This is attached to a backing of timber or metal stud framing. The wall cavity between the brick and frame is similar to double brick construction.

Brick veneer walls are much thinner at around 110mm to 150mm wide. The interior wall surface is lightweight plasterboard or fiber cement sheets. And the exterior brick usually extends from the floor level up to the roof line.

Pros of Brick Veneer Homes:

  • Less expensive to construct than double brick
  • Lightweight walls place less stress on footings
  • Easier to run wiring and plumbing inside the frame
  • Cavities and plasterboard provide good insulation
  • Smaller footprint increases available interior space

Cons of Brick Veneer Homes:

  • Not as strong or durable as double brick
  • Higher maintenance requirements
  • Lower fire resistance and acoustic insulation
  • Termites can enter via wall cavities
  • Potential for moisture damage if membrane fails
  • Lower resale value in some markets

Key Differences Between the Construction Methods

Let’s recap the major differences between double brick versus brick veneer houses:

  • Double brick has two solid brick walls while veneer uses a single brick face.
  • Double brick walls are significantly thicker and heavier.
  • Brick veneer has a lightweight stud frame behind the brickwork.
  • Double brick provides higher structural strength.
  • Veneer walls are less expensive to build than double brick.
  • Brick veneer requires more ongoing maintenance.
  • Double brick has better insulation, fire resistance and noise barriers.
  • Veneer can have potential moisture issues if membranes fail.
  • Termites can attack veneer walls through the cavity but are less likely in double brick.

Using Pre-Purchase Inspections to Determine Wall Type and Condition

When purchasing an existing Sydney home, consider getting a professional pre-purchase building inspection. The detailed inspection report will analyze the construction methods and condition of the house walls.

This allows buyers to compare double brick versus veneer walls prior to purchase. Inspectors check for defects like cracks, bowing, dampness, and other damage in the walls. Their expert eye can identify potential structural issues requiring repair.

For buyers, a pre-purchase inspection provides peace of mind about the wall condition. It also arms purchasers with information to determine if double brick or veneer construction is better suited for their needs. Knowing the positives and negatives allows buyers to make an informed home purchasing decision.

In summary, both double brick and brick veneer offer pros and cons. Key factors for buyers to consider are durability, maintenance, insulation, construction costs, termites, and resale value. Pre-purchase inspections deliver data to compare the wall structures in a house under consideration. This helps buyers select the optimal wall construction to match their priorities when buying a Sydney home.