Everything You Need to Know About Brick Masonry

People all around the world are using different kinds of construction methods, depending on the resources that are available to them. Reinforced steel and concrete in combination with bulletproof glass are not an affordable option for everyone.

Most people use natural construction techniques, with materials like clay and mud to construct their homes. Although these techniques provide solid steadiness, and good insulation if applied properly, they do require a lot of skill, and they are time-consuming.

They are also considered to be primitive methods of masonry because the possible repairs require a lot of resources and hard work. The next logical step in the evolution of masonry is bricklaying, where courses or rows of bricks are placed on top of one another to build up a construction.

Brick masonry is a popular mechanism for construction, and examples of primitive brickwork dates as far back as the Bronze Age. Of course, modern brick masonry is the result of the centuries of evolution and improvement, and today, skilled and experienced bricklayers use several different techniques.

Brick masonry is a long-lasting form of construction, and it basically requires putting bricks in the mortar by using different bonding methods to construct durable mass that can resist shock, pressures and natural disasters. There are different types of bricks and mortars, and the cheapest type is brickwork in the mud.

This technique requires using mud as mortar to fill the holes and joints between the bricks. Mortar joints are constructed in such a way, that they are thick enough to hold the structure together, and their thickness should be at least 12 mm.

This method has its limitations, as it can only be used to construct walls up to 4m high. It requires the use of good quality bricks and ensuring that brick courses are placed absolutely horizontal. To ensure structural stability, the thickness of the mortar joints should be at least 10 mm, whether you use common clay bricks, engineering bricks or concrete bricks.

Also, since mud is not such a durable medium as concrete, you should check the level of the ground, and set the layout of the building structure with high precision to ensure the stability and good balance.

Brickwork in cement requires using cement as the glue to hold brock joints together and laying bricks in cement mortar which is more durable and stronger than mud. This technique provides more structural stability, and it depends on the types of bricks and bonds used to form the courses.

For constructing temporary structures, usually in dry places where humidity is not a problem, softer, rough-surfaced bricks are used. These bricks have a distorted shape, and they are considered to be third-class bricks in regard to their quality.

They are suitable to form a stretcher bond which is the simplest repeating pattern in bricklaying, where bricks are laid flat with its longest narrow side exposed, overlapping in the middle with the bricks below and above them.

Second class bricks are usually rough and ground molded, and slightly irregular in shape. To provide the best durability, the thickness of the mortar joints should be at least 12 mm. They can be formed into a header bond where the shorter face of the bricks is faced upon each other. Unlike the stretcher bond, the header bond is used to construct the walls with a full brick thickness.

A combination of header and stretcher bond can also be used, and it is called the English bond, where one course of bricks is placed in the header form, and the next one is placed in a stretcher form. The possible gaps are closed by using the quoin closer, which is a brick cut into two halves and used at corners to close the gaps in brick walls.

The first class clay brick is used with the cement of lime mortar, where the depth of mortar joints is not more than 10mm. These bricks have sharp edges and smooth surfaces, and their quality is superior compared to other brick classes. They are molded and burnt in large furnaces and are therefore more durable.

Once the foundation wall is cured and bricklaying can begin, these bricks can be used with steel or reinforced concrete to construct complex structures using the Flemish bond, where bricks are placed as headers and stretchers alternatingly, in a single course. This technique requires great skill and experience but it provides a unique aesthetic look. Other types of bonds might match your taste, and you should choose which one to apply if you are planning to do some bricklaying yourself.