Brick masonry has been around for a long time. Many years ago, the clay bricks were sun dried. Later they were fired in a furnace to harden and became even more resistant to the elements. Bricks last the test of time, much of old Rome is build with bricks and 2000 years old. The red brick look is a bit of an english thing and adds the english character into your building. Bricks in general are very low on maintenance, the occasional clean which is not even mandatory, just for the looks.
Bricks are made from clay-bearing soil, sand, and lime. Certain manufacturers have switched out lime for concrete. An environmental point to think about is that to bind the bricks together mortar is used- which is mostly made out of cement. Cement is very high in carbon emissions during its manufacture (2).
Masonry claddings come in the form of brick or stone/ schist. Both have the disadvantages compared to weatherboards that the installation will take longer and that the cladding is very heavy. The weight of the cladding could mean a higher cost in the foundation work and material. However, masonry claddings also have the benefit of being very durable as little to no maintenance over the lifetime of the building is required. The materials are also natural and common.
The advantages of brick masonry:
Has a very long lifespan
Minimal to no maintenance required
Bricks are made out of natural materials
Bricks can be cleaned and reused
The disadvantages of brick masonry:
Mortar is required to bind the bricks together (concrete production accounts for about 5% of global emissions (4))
The cladding is very heavy and may require extra cost and material in the foundation work
Bricks take longer to install as it is more labor-intensive
The production of fired bricks is energy-intensive
(2) Bath University, 'Inventory of Carbon and Energy', Authors: Hammond, Geoffrey; Jones, Craig; Lowrie, Fiona; Tse, Peter
(3) Wikipedia, 'Brick', 09.11.2019
(4) Columbia University, Earth Institute, 'Emissions from the Cement Industry', Author: Madeleine Rubenstein, 09.05.2012