Are brick houses hot in summer? And how to cool brick houses?

Most parts of Australia experience high temperatures in summer. Despite the fact that we love our beaches, a warm home is not something we want to come back to. While brick houses are fireproof, they are not good insulators – meaning the interior of the house can get quite warm. So why do brick houses get hot and how to solve the issue? Read more to find out.

Why do brick houses get hot?

Bricks absorb heat under the sun and release the heat after sunset. This is due to the dense structure of bricks that hold a lot of thermal energy in the brick. During the daytime, bricks absorb the heat from sunlight and store the energy until the sunsets. While only one or two sides of brick are heated by sunlight, bricks release the stored energy to all sides, both the exterior and interior, heating up the house.

How to keep brick houses cool?

After knowing how brick houses can get hot, the two ways to keep the interior of brick houses cool are insulation and reducing heat from sunlight.

Insulating brick houses

Insulation slows heat transfer between the exterior and interior walls to limit heat being released to the interior of the house. Whether including insulation at construction or retrofitting, insulation can help to cool brick houses. Some systems use water pipes that run across the walls to add an additional layer that constantly carries the heat away.

Protecting the windows are key in insulating brick houses as sunlight can directly influence the temperature indoors. Double glazed windows and blinds are great investments to reduce heat transfer and block out sunlight. Closing the windows also helps to reduce hot air entering the house.

Air conditioning is another option if the above two insulation methods are not available. Cooler temperatures in the house keep the inner side of the bricks at a lower temperature and force the thermal energy to exit through the outer side of the bricks. While this is a relatively expensive and not environmentally friendly option, heritage house owners may find this option helpful.

If you are looking to build a new house and are concerned about the heat slowly released by bricks in the evening, clay bricks could be one of your options. Clay bricks are less dense than traditional bricks, meaning that they heat more easily but also release the heat faster for a cooler evening.

Reducing heat from sunlight

To prevent a brick house from releasing heat in the evening, why not prevent the bricks from heating up in the first place? Reducing sunlight exposure and heat absorption of the bricks reduce the heat that bricks released after sunset.

There is a range of methods to protect brick houses from direct sunlight, including extended awnings, plants and external claddings. The blocking of direct sunlight limits the direct heating of the bricks. The additional sunlight blocking also provides additional privacy for homeowners.

Light-coloured bricks or paints can help to reduce sunlight absorption. Dark colours absorb more energy from the sun. Lighter exterior colours reflect more sunlight from the surface and reduce heat absorption. Paint additives with insulation properties are helpful in further limiting the bricks in absorbing the heat. Other than light colours, reflective materials or coatings are great alternatives as well.

The heating issue of brick houses is limited to solid brick houses, but not brick veneer houses. (Learn how to differentiate solid brick houses and brick veneer houses.) BuildMart Australia sells construction bricks and external brick veneers for any construction projects in Australia. Contact us on 03 9560 7601 for any inquiry.

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