Construction would have been limited to bricks just a few years ago. Before the construction industry chose to switch to concrete blocks to meet the requirements and ease of access, all larger buildings relied on traditional red brick. People desired long-term viability, and as people have become more environmentally conscious, blocks have become more prevalent.
The National Green Tribunal in 2013 has prohibited digging of the earth for making bricks and laying roads without prior environmental clearance (ECs) across the country, dealing a blow to the brick-kiln industry and road contractors.
The brick-kiln industry was seriously impacted, but the Fly Ash Bricks or AAC Blocks industry quickly grew as people discovered how easy it was to set up plants for them and how simple it was to build them.
Burnt brick and concrete blocks are both fire-resistant, solid, and insect-proof construction materials. They have a low insulation value due to their high thermal mass, which aids in heat retention. Despite their similarities, there are a few key differences between brick and block.
If you’re planning to create a new home or expand an existing one, understanding the differences between brick and concrete blocks will help you make a more informed decision.
Why burnt bricks are suitable for construction?
- Summer heat protection: Bricks have a high thermal density, which allows them to absorb more heat than AAC blocks. During the day, the bricks absorb heat and release it at night. In essence, you get the best possible choice for keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Days need less heat than nights, which is where the thermal insulation property plays a part.
- Environmentally friendly: Those of you who praise the environmental issues of making red bricks completely overlook the fact that these bricks are made from materials that can be quickly recycled and used in landfills. Blocks, on the other hand, are a different situation. Since they are made of concrete, they are not as recyclable as bricks. All of the construction work that necessitates the demolition of old buildings in order to build new ones will only leave loads of non-recyclable waste in the case of concrete blocks.
- Durability: Traditional red bricks are considered to be more robust, and structures constructed with them are stronger than hollow block structures. The durability of blocks is often said to last only if they are well maintained, as opposed to bricks, which can stand stiff for years if the construction is done in accordance with the proper methods of durable construction and the materials used, including brick quality, meet the requirements of strong buildings.
The quality and strength of bricks can be tested at testing labs. Brick Testing
- Burn less easily: Bricks are made up of highly compact earthen materials that burn less quickly. Because of the high compression, there is very little room for combustion to ignite and spread. They have the highest fire safety ranking. They can withstand a massive, well-developed fire much better than a house built of blocks or other materials.
Now that we’ve looked at the benefits of using burnt bricks for construction, let’s see how concrete blocks are beneficial.
Why use concrete blocks for construction?
- Cheaper option: As compared to brick masonry, block masonry is much less expensive. They are known to cost Rs. 1,500 less per cubic meter than brick masonry. This is not an insignificant distinction. According to estimates, the cost of constructing a wall out of AAC blocks is 17.65% less than the cost of constructing a wall out of conventional bricks.
- Better eco-friendly alternative: They do not affect or deplete nature in any way in the process of their production or manufacturing. They’re made of Fly Ash, which is a waste product from thermal power plants. Red bricks, on the other hand, absorb topsoil in their processing and manufacturing, depriving nature of its valuable protective layer of soil. That is the primary explanation for the National Green Tribunal’s opposition to red bricks.
- Soundproofing quality: Soundproofing may be a blessing for those who live in industrial areas or along busy roads. As opposed to brick constructions, block walls have a higher density and therefore have greater soundproofing. If your home is constantly surrounded by noise that prevents you from having a good night’s sleep, their powerful acoustic insulation is a huge help.
- Lighter weight: As compared to red bricks, concrete blocks are lighter, allowing for greater workability, stability, and durability. Their dry density ratio lowers the dead load on buildings, making them more functional and ideal for modern structures.
- Better strength: Concrete blocks are considered to be more resistant to earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes, all of which are becoming more common these days. Countries that facilitate and encourage the use of blocks put a high priority on their resilience in the face of natural disasters. The way they’re built adds to their durability and strength.
- Space-saving: Concrete blocks are often recommended by builders and contractors because they save a significant amount of space overall. The width is reduced, but the reliability is not compromised, increasing the amount of space needed in the construction of walls. The traditional brick walls are being phased out, particularly in big cities where there is a lot of competition for space.
When it comes to choosing between concrete block and burnt brick, it’s a toss-up. Anyone who is about to begin building must consider the advantages and disadvantages of both concrete blocks and burnt brick. However, a lot is dependent on the budget, the builder’s situation, and the available space. If you want a one-time investment and want to avoid a lot of maintenance, then going for burnt bricks would be right for you. However, the production of burnt bricks is not eco-friendly. While concrete bricks are cheaper, the waste from them is non-recyclable. All in all, you have to keep in mind all the points and weigh which option suits better to your construction needs.