Brick Buying Guide

No conversation about building materials would be complete without including brick in the discussion. Brick has been around since water first met dirt. Archeological evidence shows that brick has been used in building for thousands of years. Since ancient times, the product has improved considerably as clay was added for durability and heat was applied to improve hardness. While improved materials such as silica and ceramics have been added, the modern versions of brick are still modified recipes of sand, water, clay and heat.

Brick’s hardiness is proven by the fact that brick is one of the few building materials that is routinely salvaged and re-used.

In addition to longevity, brick offers good insulation and weatherproofing. It requires no paint, so it does not fade. Sound good so far? There’s more.

If you think that building with brick lacks imagination, think again. You are not limited to red blocks 8" long 4" wide by 2 1/2" tall (the “standard” size). There are various colors and shapes for the design application desired.

Types of Brick * Building brick - Structural bricks are for construction. The holes are there to save material and reduce weight.

  • Face brick - The solid ones that show. They are available in various colors, sizes and shapes.

  • Firebrick - Heat resistant; made especially for fireplace or heat-sensitive construction.

  • Pavers - For sidewalks, patios, and edging.

  • Antique or tumbled brick - For instantly achieving the impression of antiquity.

Grades of Brick There are three grades of brick to choose from:

  • Grade SW - Severe Weathering – able to experience freeze and thaw cycles.

  • Grade MW - Moderate Weathering – tolerance to frost and freezing. Used for outdoor walls.

  • No Weathering - for indoor use only.

For Do-It-Yourselfers Brickwork is easier than you think, and is considered fun or relaxing by many (bricklaying was one of Winston Churchill’s many hobbies). Do not rush into this however, you need a lot of practice and training before tackling any structural or load-bearing projects.

No conversation about building materials would be complete without including brick in the discussion. Brick has been around since water first met dirt. Archeological evidence shows that brick has been used in building for thousands of years.

Brick can be cut with a brick chisel and hammer. Carborundum blades for circular saws make clean mitre cuts. Brick saws with diamond blades are available at rental stores. Wear eye protection anytime you cut brick. If you must store brick, avoid ground contact or contact with sun or rain. These factors could stain the brick or increase water absorption beyond the normal limits.

Buying Brick * Plan on 5 bricks per square foot in a paving project. Plan on 7 per square foot for a wall. The difference is due to the size of the bricks, the pattern used and the grout or mortar thickness.

  • There are 516 brick on a pallet.

  • There are 896 pavers on a pallet.

  • Unless you are experienced at cutting brick, buy some extras to allow for mistakes.

  • Always use the correct mortar mix for the project.

Good design idea: Don’t forget your fashion choices are not limited only to the brick’s colour and shape. Mortar is available in different colors and joint styles.

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