December 6th 2019
Bricks are a versatile and timeless building material that has been used across the UK for centuries. You've probably come across countless brick buildings-from London's modern masonry museums to Manchester's beautiful Edwardian homes and the historic industrial warehouses of Liverpool. Although, have you ever really taken notice of the bricks?
Facing bricks is a term often used in the construction industry to refer to all bricks used for their aesthetic properties. This means bricks of all colours, sizes and textures that are used above a dampproof course, i.e not engineering bricks. It's these bricks that make up around 80% of what a building looks like.
Facing bricks can be used across a variety of different masonry structures, including:
Most facing bricks are either extruded (wire-cut) or pressed using individual moulds. You can also find handmade bricks, which add unique character, although these are more expensive due to their unique nature.
Two main benefits come with facing bricks: aesthetic appeal and durability.
When it comes to designing our home, we want to impart some of our personality on an otherwise static structure. That's why facing bricks are manufactured in a diverse range of colours, shapes, and surface textures, offering virtually unlimited design possibilities to ensure your property provides a lasting impression for all the right reasons.
For instance, you can choose a red facing brick that has a slightly rough finish to achieve a rustic look, or instead opt for a smooth blue brick for a modern finish. There are countless choices when it comes to facing bricks, and you can easily customise your home using this traditional building material.
Both clay and concrete facing bricks are typically exposed to the elements and therefore built to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, especially thaw and frost cycles. Consequently, they will maintain their appearance with minimal maintenance-even hundreds of years after they've been laid. They are also energy efficient and help regulate internal temperature by absorbing and releasing heat slowly, lowering the overall costs of heating/cooling within your home.
While facing bricks are a popular choice for many facades, there are several things to consider, especially if you're adding to a pre-existing structure. Below are the key points you should think about before purchasing facing bricks.
While clay has been the traditional building material for bricks over the centuries, concrete facing bricks are growing a little in popularity. Concrete bricks are slightly cheaper to manufacture and widely available, making them a viable alternative for many consumers. However, it's worth mentioning that the colours could fade slightly over time, and require a little extra thought when laying to account for the different material.
One of the main challenges you will come across when adding facing bricks to an existing masonry structure is trying to find an exact brick match. Many styles of bricks have been discontinued over the years and are simply no longer available anymore.
There has also been a significant shift within the industry from local brickworks to larger brick manufacturers (primarily due to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis). Local manufacturers have either closed down or been mothballed, and many bricks have gone along with them. This means that it can be increasingly difficult to source the exact style or type of brick that you may have used initially.
Facing bricks are all about design and aesthetics. So, the last thing you want is different brick shades that diminish the physical appearance of your home.
However, colour variations are a common occurrence. Even if you purchase the same type of brick you may still see a slight difference between batches. For the best results, we recommend that you use a minimum of 3 packs at once and blend those packs when laying. This will help to blend the colour and reduce any noticeable sections.
Sometimes the perfect brick just doesn't exist anymore. But, there are many ways of re-creating that brick from blending different brick types to brick tinting, we don't just offer you one brick that's close- we give you the best options to help you make the best decision.
If you need help matching a facing brick, try our brick matching service or learn more about brink tinting in our in-depth guide.
To choose the right brick, you can make some judgements based on our brick library of colours and textures that you like. However, pricing and availability for each brick constantly vary. Therefore we recommend getting in touch about your new project as soon as possible so we can reserve stock where possible and help you make the choice that's right for you.