Two of the most common building types in the United States are the brick home and wood frame home, also known as light-construction frame. Man has built homes from bricks for thousands of years. Early forms of wood framing include the post and beam, balloon frame and the stick and platform techniques. Both types of homes have their advantages and disadvantages.
Frames homes require a siding material, such as clapboards or vinyl siding; these materials need regular painting or cleaning. Brick homes need no siding and no painting or cleaning; older brick homes, however, may need repointing if the mortar has eroded.
Melvyn Green, a structural engineer and president of Melvyn Green & Associates Inc. in California, reports that older brick homes with non-reinforced masonry are unstable in earthquake zones. Bricks may also become hazardous projectiles in a tornado. In a hurricane, studies show that while frame home construction benefits greatly from strong joint connections, such as metal hurricane ties, well-constructed brick homes generally fare better than frame homes.
Brick homes are attractive and lend a sense of permanence to the structure. The insulating qualities of the bricks keep the home interior cool in warmer climates. Wood frame homes are versatile since homeowners can side, paint and amend the structure according to personal preference.