All Your Questions About Bricks, Answered

Posted on 11 Jun 2019

A brick isn't just a brick!

If you've seen our ads, read some of our other blog articles or visited us in store, you'll know that we talk a lot about how a brick isn't just a brick. It's true - there is so much more to bricks than what meets the eye! To help explain the intricacies of bricks (and why they're still the most popular building material in WA), we've answered nine of our most frequently asked brick questions below. 

Q: What are face bricks and internal bricks?

A: A face brick is a brick that will be seen once laid, either on the outside of your home or as an interior feature wall. Face bricks come in a range of sizes, colours, textures and finishes, all with a unique look. Internal bricks, on the other hand, are simply structural bricks that won’t be seen once the home is finished and the plastering is completed. They are used for interior walls, and can also been used on the outside of a home if it is to be covered in render, cladding or another material.

Q: How many bricks are in the average 4x2, single-storey house?

A: Actual quantities can vary by home size and design, but the average 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home is normally constructed of approximately 7500 standard face bricks and 5000 to 6000 internal Maxi bricks (which are the equivalent to 2.5 standard bricks in terms of size). Rendered homes will normally contain anywhere from 8500 – 10000 maxis.

Q: What are cored bricks used for?

A: Cored bricks have vertical “cores” or perforations, which means that cored bricks are lighter and are easier to lay than solid bricks, and are usually used for the majority of the brick work in a home without sacrificing strength or performance. As cored bricks require less clay during the manufacturing process, they are also usually cheaper than solids.

Q: What are solid bricks used for?

A: Solid bricks are usually used to cap wall or window sills so that you don’t see any unsightly core holes. They are aesthetically more pleasing and they also assist in directing water runoff away from the window or door openings. Sometimes engineers may request solids be used in mass retaining walls since they are heavier.  At other times they may specifically request solids where weight bearing rails are to be fixed. For example, solids are regularly used to replace cored bricks in aged care facilities where the patient will be using rails to assist in keeping their balance. With solids, there is less chance that the fixings will come loose compared to a cored brick.

Q: How much do bricks cost?

A: The short answer is that it really depends! The longer answer is, in the Midland Brick range, bricks can cost anywhere from 75 cents a brick for non-loadbearing, render-grade commons, up to $2.78 per brick for an imported range like Estilo. Some brick makers charge far more though, especially for options like glass bricks!

 

Midland Brick Estilo bricks in Blanco

 

Q: What are brick bonds and brick joints?

A:brick bond is the pattern in which bricks are laid. There are a number of brick bonds, but the most common is known as Stretcher Bond or Running Bond.  Bonding patterns reduce continuous vertical joints, which gives strength to the wall, minimises cracking and adds to the overall aesthetic look of the wall.

Brick joints – more accurately called mortar joints - are the spaces between the bricks. They are usually specified as nominally 10mm in thickness.  There are a number of mortar joint finishes; one of the most popular is the Flush joint (which is a full joint, finished flush with the brickwork and then usually brushed or sponged to achieve a smooth finish). An Ironed or Rolled (hosed) joint is also a popular option. An Ironed joint is achieved by using a jointing iron or hose, and then is finished off with a light brush or a sponge.

Q: Why does brick size or shape matter?

A: When it comes to bricks, size really does matter! Why? Well, not only is there an aesthetic element to it – some people prefer the look of slimline bricks over double-height bricks, for example – but brick size can also help determine the cost of your project.

Usually larger sized bricks are more economical to lay; there is less jointing to perfect, not to mention there are actually less bricks to lay when working with two-course bricks than there would be if you were using smaller bricks!

Brick shape can also matter with internal bricks, as some are specifically designed for a certain purpose, like our Longreach bricks, our Downpipe Maxi or our Acoustic Maxibrick.

Q: Are bricks good for acoustic and thermal insulation?

A: Bricks perform very well when it comes to both acoustic and thermal insulation.

The heavy mass of clay bricks is ideal for acoustic insulation, particularly for low frequency noise, and cavity masonry walls have the added benefit of isolating impact sounds. Clay bricks also perform very well in diminishing low-frequency, airborne noise caused by building mechanical systems, elevators, amplified music, traffic and aircraft; something lightweight materials struggle with, without additional (and expensive) insulation.

The thermal mass of clay bricks has the ability to retain heat energy when subjected to a temperature differential and to slowly release it back into the environment as the conditions change. In laymen terms, it means that bricks retain heat well (meaning your home stays warmer in the winter) and release heat slowly (meaning your home stays cooler in the summer). Think of bricks like a thermal battery – it absorbs energy well, but releases that energy slowly.

From a sustainability perspective, when buildings are built with materials with a high thermal mass – like bricks – they have a lower requirement for artificial heating and cooling, meaning lower energy use and improved thermal comfort for building occupants. 

Still have questions? That's ok - we're happy to help! To speak to one of our Customer Service team, call 13 15 40 or reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.

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