Plaster vs Face Brick
Listen to this article in Zulu:
Most South African homes were built by the Third Little Pig!
Were you shockingly old before you realized that many houses, especially those in the USA and certain parts of Europe have minimal (if any) brick and cement walls? (I was!)
Ever wondered how a tornado can raise an entire town to the ground or a whole neighbourhood can burn down in mere minutes due to wildfires?
It’s because most of those houses are made of timber and drywall! (Yep, Wood and glorified cardboard).
Yes, this means that the Extreme Home Makeover team can finish a 5-bedroom house build in a matter of days, and yes, (generally speaking) construction costs are much lower than in South Africa, but you know what?
If the three little pigs taught us anything, it was this: The piggy with the brick and stone house was much better off in the long run.
South Africans should be thankful for our super sturdy, wind and (reasonably) flame-resistant brick houses.
This does however limit our options for wall coverings to a certain extent. Unless you go to extremes of unnecessary spending, it’s unlikely that a standard South African family home will have full external wooden cladding and look like a Cape Cod beach house.
We are pretty much stuck with a choice between Face Brick and Plastered walls.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
There are many positives to our local style of building, not least being durability and low maintenance costs.
External Face Brick pros and cons:
Face Brick exterior walls, unless you choose a super fancy specific brick for the entire building, are generally less expensive than plastered external walls because you will save on labour and extra material costs.
Face Brick also requires basically zero recurring maintenance once it’s built and sealed.
Face Brick, if done right, can also be aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t have to look dated or old fashioned.
Unless you decide to plaster over your Face Brick walls or rebuild a section of your home, the appearance of face brick is pretty much set in stone (pun intended). There’s no altering this with a simple coat of paint!
Face Brick walls inside your house:
It is difficult to hang anything on Face Brick due to the inherently rough surface and the same goes for putting up shelves or mounting electronics.
Face brick, due to its dark colour, can make a house look and feel gloomy.
The upside of Face Brick indoors is the fact that having an exposed brick wall as a “feature” in certain rooms of your house is still very much in vogue.
Plaster pros and cons:
Plastered external walls exude a more modern vibe.
Plastered and painted walls on the outside of your house will require maintenance. This can mean painting your house every couple of years, but also means being on the lookout for dirt and grime on your walls. Splashed up mud, bird droppings and even pet footprints can easily ruin your “effortlessly modern” home’s appearance.
Plastered walls can however be easily modified if you want a change – simply choose a new colour! (This goes for internal walls as well.)
Inside your house, plastered walls are also slightly more functional due to their smoothness and the fact that you can easily paint them to suit your home’s mood and style.
What if I can’t decide?
Then you don’t have to! Both wall coverings have their merits, and both can work well in most homes, as a combination. Plaster some walls but keep one or two brick walls exposed for the industrial loft vibe. Go wild – it’s your space, so LIVE in it.
Also, remember that you don’t necessarily have to chip off plaster to get that exposed wall look – an easy hack is to find a brick imitation cladding that suits your style, and simply go with that. No mess, no fuss!