Bricks are available in various designs and materials to suit specific jobs. Bricks tend to be either solid in design or have an indentation on one side – called a frog – to reduce weight. Also to reduce weight, bricks can have holes extending from the upper surface right through to the lower surface. These are called Cored bricks.
Make sure the bricks you use are suitable for the job and able to withstand the weather conditions that they will be subjected to. For example, some bricks are only suitable for interior use, so it is recommended you seek advice from your builders’ merchant or supplier to ensure you get the right bricks for the job.
Clay based and used where the finish is unimportant or if the finished wall is to be rendered.
This brick has much smoother surfaces on all its sides and are used for jobs where an attractive brickwork finish is required.
An alternative to the facing brick but used for similar jobs. The difference is that the faced brick has only one smoother face in addition to one or both ends.
Made of clay, engineering bricks are extremely strong and hardwearing and used in jobs that need extra strength or areas susceptible to extremely bad weather.
Airbricks are used to increase ventilation at the base of a wall. They are situated below a suspended ground floor.
Used in areas of high temperature as their composition prevents cracking. The most common use for this type of brick is in the construction of fireplaces.
Concrete bricks are extremely durable and come in a variety of colours and textures. Generally used as an alternative to clay bricks in patio construction.
Calcium silicate bricks
Made from lime and sand, this type of brick has a smooth finish and is very uniform in shape, making them easier to lay. Other characteristics include durability, and excellent noise and heat insulation properties. Calcium silicate bricks are also available in a wide range of colours.
Bricks with irregular shapes are available in a wide range of designs and are mainly used for ornamental purposes such as capping garden walls, creating ornate windowsills and building curved walls.
Calculating how many to order
To calculate how many bricks you will need, divide the surface area of the wall you plan to build by the surface area of one face of the bricks you are going to use. The standard size for a brick is 215mm x 103mm x 65mm (8 ½in x 4in x 2 ½in) but do check the dimensions of the bricks you are buying with your supplier.
- Place the brick on its side on a solid surface.
- Using a bolster, make a groove about 1mm deep all the way around the brick.
- Having done this, position the blade of the bolster along the groove on one face, and holding it as upright as possible, hit it hard with a club hammer.
- The brick should break cleanly along the groove.