In terms of how quickly the two are to construction, oak is a clear winner.
Oak frames are traditionally crafted off-site, so putting them up on your property is a relatively speedy process. In fact, the National Home-Building Council has estimated that on some projects, using oak frames can save up to three-months on construction time. This means you could spare yourselves months of inconvenience, as living on a construction site can be very stressful, while renting elsewhere during this time can take a real toll on your budget.
Saying all this, there are some new brick techniques on the rise, such as thin-joint masonry. So if you are keen on bricks but do want to keep timings to a minimum, you might find a speedy alternative.
Speaking of professionals, you won’t get far without a skilled contractor on board, and this can be an issue for those after oak frames. That’s because oak has traditionally been used in Scottish homes, but not those in the rest of the UK. As such, there are less contractors who have the specialist skills to construct using this material.
On the flip side, the majority of contractors will be skilled in maisonry. This means you’ll have more professionals to choose from during tendering, and so can select one with the best references and quotes.
Without a proper selection of contractors, you might find yourself resorting to a less than ideal professional, putting you at risk of bad practises.
If you’re keen on making sure noise levels stay to a minimum, either because you like peace and quiet, or because you live in a densely populated area, then brick might be for you.
The best defense against sound is to put something very heavy and solid between it and you. Therefore, very dense and heavy brickwork has a natural advantage over the less bulky material of oak.
If you still want to go with oak, but are concerned about noise, you can create better sound proofing by building two separate walls with a structural break between them. This gap can then be fitted with a sound absorbent quilt - problem solved.
When it comes to being eco-friendly, nothing is better than good old fashioned oak. That’s because, unlike brick, it’s renewable. Cut down one tree, and it can simple be replaced with another. Whereas brick relies on the extraction of raw materials from the ground, and once those are gone, they’re gone.
They’re also much less wasteful than other industrial materials. For example, to produce aluminium or steel, raw materials have to be mined and transported, before being processed into their constructed forms. This generates waste, which cannot be used for anything else. Whereas with oak, even the sawdust can be recycled, into either paper products or even insulation for homes.