An introduction to Brick building
Fired clay bricks remain one of the most enduring building
materials known to the world wide building industry. Some might
argue that it is also one of the most beautiful and that it adds
character to any building with its colour, strength and texture.
Clay brick dates as far back as the Egyptian age and connects us
with the history of our ancestors.
Being such a versatile building material and because of its very
good climatic characteristics, it remains the material of choice
for residential buildings in South Africa. Bricks have an
excellent fire rating, it is weatherproof and has really good
acoustic properties and is almost soundproof, and best of all it
amount to only about 10 per cent of the total cost of a typical
residential building. Homebuyers will almost always prefer to
buy a house constructed out of clay brick as it does not
deteriorate over time and has a higher resale value.
Bricks vary quite significantly in because of the diverse
manufacturing processes and types of clay used in their
manufacture in various regions. Often potential home builders
make the mistake in thinking that all bricks are the same and
there is no need to shop around for different finishes and
colours. This can be costly as the quality of different brick
manufacturers vary considerably as will also be reflected in the
price. A very cheap brick might be of un-even size or may warp
making building with them a lot more difficult.
The use of face brick is often used in residential architecture
for its low maintenance properties and often the aesthetics is
overlooked completely. Face brick can be very aesthetically
pleasing with its rustic look and a good architect might combine
face brick with plastered areas to come to more a balanced
aesthetic as face brick in its single form can be a bit
overwhelming. When opting to build with face brick make sure you
appoint a good builder with a good face brick portfolio as the
jointing of a face brick wall can make or break the aesthetic of
this type of construction. Also make sure you order sufficient
bricks the first time as, because it being a natural material
can vary noticeably per batch.
These bricks are similar to a clay stock (plaster) brick but are
more often used in regions where clay might be in short supply.
There is usually not a big price difference between cement and
clay plaster bricks and cement brick is mostly used as a
substitute. When ordering cement bricks make sure that they are
properly cured and dry before using them. If more that 5 per
cent breaks upon delivery, have a knowledgeable person check the
quality of the bricks.
Plaster (Stock) bricks
Cheaper than face bricks, a plaster brick still is manufactured
to high standards to ensure uniformity of size and structure, but have
to be plastered and painted thereby cancelling out the cost saving and
has to be maintained at fairly regular intervals. Often great aesthetics
can be achieved by combining plastered walls with face brick walls