Disaster Protection and Building with Brick

By Kirk Taylor, Masonry Sales Specialist, Potomac Valley Brick

When you choose to build with brick, you’re making a long-term investment in the future of your home or business. Not only is brick acclaimed for its classic and timeless appearance, it also provides superior protection against natural disasters, fires, ballistics and more. Brick ensures safety in ways that other materials cannot. When thinking about what building materials to use on your next project, consider the following:

  • Brick can withstand natural elements and even disasters

Remember how the big bad wolf failed to blow down the last little pig’s house because it was made of bricks? Despite it being part of a classic fable, that narrative does hold some truth. Brick can withstand numerous natural elements, offering protection against hail, strong winds and blown debris. In September 2004, the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University conducted a study that demonstrated that brick homes offer a more significant amount of protection from wind-blown debris than materials such a vinyl or fiber-cement siding. Compared to Florida’s building codes regarding high-velocity hurricane zones, tests found that brick houses surpassed the 36-mph impact resistance requirement. Brick is also more resistant to abrasion and weathering that can be caused by storms and high winds. Its natural coloring means that it can withhold its original color throughout time.

  • Brick protects from fire, both within and out

With its main component being clay, brick can withstand heat over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on its composition and purpose. It’s classified as a non-combustible material, meaning it can serve to both resist and contain fires. When it comes to row homes and interior communal areas, these qualities are essential. If a fire breaks out within a building, having a brick exterior protects the buildings around it from catching. And if a fire breaks out near another building, brick is more likely to contain the fire and prevent it from entering the structure. The International Building Code states that the clay brick typically used for residential construction provides at least a one-hour fire-resistance rating.

  • It’s an inexpensive option for ballistic protection

Bricks make up many federal level buildings for reasons other than its stately and traditional presentation. Brick provides ballistic protection, and while there are other materials that can do this too, brick is an attractive and affordable option. Although we all hope that buildings in our community never face the senseless destruction that ballistics inflict, having a brick exterior ensures additional security if faced with a dangerous situation. A ballistics test led by The Shooting Institute in Alabama demonstrated that structural brick fared better against firearms than concrete masonry units (CMUs).

  • Masonry provides durability and low maintenance efforts

As stated above, brick has an excellent reputation for being more sturdy than other materials when handling high winds, blown debris and natural elements such as hail. Another benefit outside of durability is the level of maintenance needed to upkeep its quality. Bricks do not show destruction or decay nearly as quickly as other materials, and if it does happen to need any reinforcement over the years, this process is typically lower cost. Potential maintenance is usually minimal, such as repointing mortar joints. Brick allows a home to age with few complications, and the design remains timeless.

For commercial, industrial or residential needs, brick is a safe choice to protect from disasters or anything else thrown its way. Building with brick is an investment that pays off, due to its reasonable upfront cost and minimal maintenance needs in the future. Choosing to use brick to build your space demonstrates the value you place on the people inside your structure, along with the importance of the property itself and keeping its contents safe and secure.

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