When you are designing your granny flat, there are some very important decisions that you will have to make. One of them is the exterior of your granny flat. So – can you build a granny flat with bricks?
Yes, The two most common options you have to choose from are either cladding or a brick veneer. A brick veneer will cost more, however you never have to paint it and it will last a lifetime, if constructed properly.
In this article I will cover 7 Amazing Brick Granny Flats plus:
- What the advantages are building a granny flat with bricks.
- What the disadvantages are of building a granny flat with bricks.
- Brick styles and designs you can choose from.
- Are you restricted to what bricks you are allowed to use?
- Will some bricks protect your granny flat better than others.
This home extension, could easily be a detached granny flat. Source: Not a Paper House
With these in mind, lets start with the advantages
What Are the Advantages of Building a Granny Flat with Bricks?
To aid you with deciding on that choice, let’s explore what is both good and the bad about a brick veneer.
These painted bricks really set off this Granny Flat. Source: Pinterest
We’ll start with the good:
- Many people consider it more aesthetically appealing, as it builds a granny flat that matches in with their primary dwelling better than cladding.
- Brick is very strong and durable, it will last for decades, aging elegantly.
- There are many different styles and colours of brick, which can be used to create your own individual look for your granny flat.
- It can be custom designed to suit the requirements and restraints of your site. For example, brick veneer will withstand a bushfire rating up to BAL 29. Or it is a choice for those who have limited space and need a fire-rated wall between the granny flat and main home.
- It increases the acoustic privacy between your two dwellings.
- It is easy to maintain and will never need painting.
What Are the Disadvantages of Building a Granny Flat with Bricks
Like most things, a brick veneer does not come without its’ downfalls. So, here is the bad of building a granny flat with brick:
This attached granny flat is certainly more expensive to construct. But looks great! Source: Architecture Magazine
- It is more expensive than cladding. What it will cost you to build your granny flat will add up. By just how much all up will depend on your design and size.
- You will lose some of your allowed internal space. Just how much depends where you live in, but for a 60sqm granny flat, is roughly 4sqm – the size of a standard bathroom. This is because brick is thicker than cladding, and your granny flat is measured from the external walls.
Brick Styles and Designs
There are a wide range of brick styles and designs. PGH Bricks and Pavers has a great tool on their website that you can use to choose different colours, themes, finishes and facades, to get a visualisation of what your chosen design will look like.
Looking for something different? This throwback to the 60’s might inspire. Source: Buy a Small House
It is also possible to build double-brick granny flats, such as these ones by My Granny Flat WA. These allow for better insulation, soundproofing, energy efficiency, and ability to withstand fire or pests.
Yet another design showing you what is possible with a brick veneer is this granny flat in Forrestville, which was custom-designed to suit the limitations of the property.
The brick veneer matches the primary home, and the granny flat is positioned facing the back fence, to allow for some privacy.
Are You Restricted to What Bricks You Are Allowed to Use
It is part of the role of your Engineer to give you advice on the plans for your design. They take into consideration what structural designs and materials work best for your land and its’ foundation, and your proposed design.
So, their advice will include the best designs and materials specifically for your land and design. For example, they will guide you as to if cladding is suitable as a facade for your granny flat, or whether you will need a stronger brick veneer.
You can use bricks for a completely different look. Source: Pinterest
Exactly what types of bricks are stronger than others can be seen in the sub-heading below.
Your local Council may also limit what type of brick you are able to use.
This granny flat in East Maitland was custom-designed to suit the surrounding neighborhood. Their bricks are brown in colour, with a modern white mortar, to suit its’ locality.
If the granny flat did not fit in with their local street frontage, their plans may not have been approved by Council.
Will Some Bricks Protect Your Granny Flat Better Over Others
The first thing to think about when choosing a brick veneer is the most common brick types used in brickwork. I have listed all of these below for you.
Common Burnt Clay Bricks:
These are the most mature and most often used material in construction. It is the typical red brick you probably think about when thinking of “bricks” in general. They are used to construct a number of building structures, including masonry walls, foundations, columns, and more.
They are manufactured by being pressed in moulds, then dried and fired in a kiln. They have no unique appealing appearances, so are more used for general work. If used in walls, they need to be plastered or rendered.
You don’t have to overdo it either. One wall makes a great feature. Source: Pinterest
This brick is not as strong or long-lasting as some of the newer options, and so you really should steer clear from it, unless your budget is tremendously low.
Sand Lime Bricks:
These are made when a mixture of sand, lime, and water (with no additives) are high pressured and autoclaved, forming a white material.
I actually used these bricks for the piers of my granny flat. Source: YouTube
The benefits of these over clay bricks include:
- They are grey in colour rather than your standard reddish colour. They can also be made in many different colours.
- Their shape allows for a smoother finish.
- They do not need plastering. They are very well-built and long-lasting.
- They do not need as much strength to install.
- They offer good acoustic insulation, are energy efficient, and have a great level of fire resistance.
So, many architects will specify sand lime bricks when designing a granny flat.
Also called the concrete block or concrete masonry unit (CMU), this type of brick is very popular with builders. It is used predominately as a building material to construct walls.
These bricks can be made in different colours, producing delightful aesthetic attractions. They are manufactured from a mixture of powdered cement, water, sand, and gravel, which makes a light grey block with a finely textured surface and a strength that is high under compression.
These make a smart choice if you want to build something with a sleek and modern aesthetic.
Bricks are a very adaptable, flexible, multi-talented material with a number of purposes, included adding stability, strength, security, and an aesthetic appeal to your granny flat. When building your own granny flat, you will have the choice of either cladding or a brick veneer for your external walls.
You also have other choices, such as timber veneer. However the constant upkeep of materials like timber can be a nightmare to deal with as the years go on.
When I got to know Allan Staines, who “Fathers” owner-building in Australia, I did ask him whether, if price was not an issue, if he would opt for cladding or a brick veneer.
He answered easily – brick, as it never has to be painted, no maintenance is needed, and it will last decades. Whereas using cladding is a nuisance, having to paint it as the years go by. So, this is one area of your granny flat where you do not skimp and try to save money by purchasing cheap materials.
If you are looking for more information on how to build your own secondary dwelling, you can find out more about how I went when I built mine here.
You are also free to read every cent that I spent whilst building, to give you an idea how much this all might cost you.