February 14th 2023
Are you undertaking an extension or renovation? Whether you're repairing existing masonry or adding to an original structure, successful brick matching makes a huge difference. But finding bricks that blend seamlessly with your existing structure can be challenging, costly and time-consuming - to say the least.
Our essential Brick Matching service has been designed to help you find the best solution with minimum fuss in super-quick time. But if you have a burning desire to find a perfect match on your own, we've got a few pointers on that for you too...
Mismatched bricks can stand out like a sore thumb, make your development lack visual appeal, and even compromise structural integrity. That's why, when you're sourcing bricks for a project, there are a few initial elements to consider:
Brick sizes have changed significantly across different periods in the UK, with imperial brick sizes used until recently (imperial brick size is 228 x 110 x 68mm). The metric system was adopted in 1965 and is now the standard (metric brick size is 215 x 102.5 x 65mm). While metric bricks can be incorporated into an existing imperial masonry structure by increasing the mortar joint bed, it is always best to source the original brick size to ensure consistency and a better visual finish.
The colour of your brick depends on the raw materials used in the manufacturing process. Colour shade variance can be common, so even if you have the perfect match, it's essential to provide an accurate forecast and timeline to ensure the bricks in your structure are from the same batch. Standard practice is to use a minimum of three packs concurrently (with overlap between deliveries where possible) to provide a well-blended finish.
While colour may be your main concern when matching bricks, texture should not be overlooked. Do your original bricks have a smooth, light, or heavy texture? Matching the original texture of your brickwork can help maintain a consistent look and feel, with light reflection, shadow, all impacting the final colour of your facade. While it may look good from afar, the texture becomes increasingly noticeable up close.
First you need to establish if your brick still exists. If it doesn't, the brick-matching process becomes a task of replicating what you've got. And, don't worry - there are still multiple ways to get the closest or perfect match at this point.
Finding the exact facing bricks used in your original masonry structure is normally difficult (often impossible), as many brick manufacturers have closed over the last 30 years. There is also a high likelihood that your original brick may have been discontinued or replaced.
If this is the case, here are a few options...
Using reclaimed bricks in your masonry project could be a great way to find an exact match, especially for older or listed buildings. They are also an excellent way to help reduce your carbon footprint as they have a minimal impact on the environment.
There are many suppliers of reclaimed bricks across the UK that have sourced bricks from demolished buildings and other masonry projects ensuring the bricks have aged naturally. It's also a higher possibility that you can find a similar size, as many imperial bricks can be sourced to align with the period of your originals. However the chance of you finding the exact brick used on your property may be still be slim.
When using reclaimed bricks, it's crucial to use a reputable supplier. Bricks need to be thoroughly tested to ensure they are suitable for their intended use. Generally, reclaimed bricks are supplied without certification, although frost resistance, strength, and water absorption all need to be considered before use. Availability of supply and wastage are other concerns when using reclaimed bricks, so make sure you provide an accurate forecast.
While you may think reclaimed bricks are needed to match the aesthetic, new bricks can help you achieve the same look - and they tend to be cheaper too.
Plus, all new bricks must meet the European Standard BS EN 771-1 for frost resistance and effloresce (soluble salts). Reclaimed bricks have no standardisation or guidelines, and subsequently, can impact your home insurance premiums. For quality guarantee and cost-savings, new bricks are certainly worth thinking about.
Brick colours vary significantly due to clay colour, kiln temperature and overall manufacturing process. Original masonry can also be difficult to match due to natural weathering, making brick tinting a viable option to maintain the original aesthetic and provide a balanced finish.
Brick tinting involves altering the colour of the brick through the application of specially formulated agents that are chemically bonded into the masonry surface. This helps to preserve the texture and character of the brick, resulting in a permanent, natural colour change that doesn't fade over time.
There are many different types of applications for brick tinting, such as correcting manufacturing colour problems, custom brick matching, historic property ageing, decorative work, and much more. While there are DIY brick tinting products available, it's always best to use a professional service as inconsistent application and mixing can result in spoiled brickwork.
Work to standard Reclaimed bricks don't require certification, so they must meet industry standards for frost resistance and soluble salts. Non-frost resistance bricks should only be used for internal use.
Account for wastage Wastage can be a major issue with reclaimed bricks. Depending on the batch, in some cases, up to 30% may be unusable. These costs should be taken into consideration when deciding between reclaimed v new bricks, which have little-to-no wastage.
Think about tinting Brick tinting is much more effective when it's applied to a slightly lighter brick. If you cannot find an exact match, choose a brick that is slightly lighter than your original when looking at samples. Remember to consider the size and texture of your new bricks too.
Match Your mortar Your mortar accounts for over 15% of the total area and can have a huge impact on the visual appearance of your structure. Trial different mortar colours and textures until you find the right match.
Matching your bricks successfully is a major step towards a flawless and uniform finish, whatever the project. If you're having trouble finding lookalike bricks, we offer fast and reliable Brick Matching service to take the stress out of your search.
With a collective 260+ years' national industry experience, our specialist team is standing by to find the bricks you're looking for wherever you are - and, whether it's an exact match or the next best thing, we'll deliver the results within one working day.
YOU tell us about the bricks you're looking for; WE find the best match in the market.
It really is that easy. Plus, we can help you figure out how many bricks you'll need to buy for your project, then source them and find you the best price - we'll even arrange delivery too!