Exploring the Different Types of Bricks

Exploring the Different Types of Bricks

March 18th 2024

Bricks are integral to the construction industry and a staple in British buildings. Looking around, you'll notice that most homes and commercial buildings use bricks due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and affordability.

However, with so many bricks available, knowing which is right for you is no easy feat. In this guide, we'll explore each brick type, including its composition, benefits, and price. Let's dive in.

Concrete bricks

Most people have heard of concrete bricks, but they're not as popular as you might believe. Despite their affordability and accessibility, these bricks don't usually spark the imagination or create beautiful finishes.

However, concrete does have its benefits, and many builders use it for internal brickwork because of its affordability. Here are the properties of concrete bricks:

Strength In many ways, concrete offers a lot of durability, but common concrete bricks can have a low compression tolerance.

Fire resistance Concrete has fire-resistant properties and can prevent the spread of flames.

Insulation One of the reasons builders use concrete for internal structures is its impressive sound-resistant features.

Affordability If saving money is high on your priority list, concrete bricks are among the most affordable options.

While concrete has numerous benefits, it's advisable to use it for internal walls and avoid using it underground.

Clay bricks

Renowned for durability, longevity and enduring appeal, clay bricks are always in fashion, and most buildings in the UK use them. The manufacturing process also means clay is weather resistant, making it ideal for buildings that deal with harsh weather.

Let's look at some properties and benefits associated with clay bricks:

Strength Many construction professionals use clay bricks due to their compressive strength, which can support load-bearing walls, providing structural stability.

Fire resistant Another key property of clay is its fire resistance. If a building suffers a fire, the bricks won't allow it to spread, enhancing safety and minimising damage.

Low maintenance While clay bricks will require minor maintenance, they're relatively stress-free and won't attract lots of mould or wear and tear.

Affordability Clay bricks are a relatively cost-effective option. However, buying small amounts means the expense can mount up, which is why many people use a brick marketplace for bulk deals.

Sand lime bricks

Also known as calcium silicate, sand lime combines various materials, including lime, sand and fly ash. When going through a wet mixing process, the materials bond with each other, creating a durable and aesthetically appealing finish.

Here's what makes sand lime stand out as a construction material:

Compressive strength With an impressively high compression strength, calcium silicate bricks can withstand heavy loads, making them ideal for commercial buildings.

Aesthetic appeal The most unique feature of sand lime bricks is their uniformity. While other bricks often require plastering, sand lime looks beautiful without extra help.

Fire resistance As with most other recommended building materials, sand lime bricks can protect buildings from spreading fires.

Affordability While sand lime bricks require an intricate manufacturing process, they're not expensive and can be an excellent investment.

Engineering bricks

As you can probably guess from their name, engineering bricks are renowned for their impressive strength, making them ideal for use in buildings with heavy loads. Also called Class A bricks, these building materials are perfect for extensive construction projects.

Manufacturers fire the bricks at high temperatures, which contribute to their longevity. Here are some common properties of engineering bricks:

Compressive Strength Engineering bricks have a compression rating between 50 N/mm² and 75 N/mm. Simply put, these materials can withstand a lot of weight and harsh weather.

Resistance Along with high winds, engineering bricks can handle lots of rain and have strong chemical resistance. Their fire resistance will also protect buildings from severe damage.

Versatility Commercial properties love these bricks because they come in a range of colours and finishes, making them ideal for a statement.

*Affordability While these bricks can be slightly more expensive, they provide an impressive return on investment in longevity.

Fly ash clay bricks

Fly ash clay bricks combine the properties of two winning materials, creating a highly durable finish. As a coal byproduct, fly ash alone won't offer any construction-worthy properties, but combining it with clay can be a more affordable alternative to traditional red clay.

The properties of fly ash clay bricks include:

Sustainability Fly ash isn't a recyclable material, and most of it ends up in landfill. By using it with clay, these bricks are a positive step forward in terms of sustainability.

Resistance These bricks also boast fire resistance, protecting buildings from the elements.

Aesthetic appeal Another benefit of fly ash clay is it goes through an intensive manufacturing process with strict specifications. The result? Uniformity and aesthetic appeal.

Affordability If you're looking for a more affordable alternative to red clay, the addition of fly ash can save money.

While these bricks offer a range of benefits, it's important to mention that they can expand when exposed to water. However, small amounts of water, including rain, usually have no impact.

Facing bricks

Commonly known as facade bricks, these materials typically combine concrete and clay to create an eye-catching finish. Their appeal makes them ideal for external designs; you can find them in multiple designs.

Facing bricks offer a range of benefits, including:

Weather resistance Combining concrete and clay means facade bricks have many resistant properties, including the ability to withstand rain, heat and wind.

Uniformity These bricks are all about aesthetic appeal, so you can guarantee they'll always look perfect.

Energy efficiency With their thermal properties, facade bricks can reduce your bills and keep the property warm.

Affordability With all their benefits, you're probably wondering why people don't use facade bricks more. Well, they're usually more expensive than traditional red clay or other options.

Final thoughts

With so many brick types available, finding the right ones is challenging. Before choosing your construction materials, consider the finish you'd like to achieve and whether affordability is a priority.

If you require some help along the way, please feel free to contact Brickhunter. We can offer a free brick estimate and give you access to a range of bricks from the UK's most reputable manufacturers.