The Ultimate A-Z of Bricks Part 2

July 21st 2021

The Ultimate A-Z of Bricks (Part 2)

What's your favourite brick related word? 

Do you know your Veneers from your Soldiers?

This is Part 2 of our alphabetical rundown of all things brick related.

Did you miss Part 1 by any chance? Click here to get up to speed, then make sure you come back to join us as we run through Part 2.

We've picked a brick related term for each letter of the alphabet. It's not a full glossary but hopefully you find something you didn't know about before.

Last time we got to M. So without further ado, here's N...


Northcot Brick

We kick off this one with another brick manufacturer, Northcot Brick. They're a bit different to the big players but still an important and prolific brick manufacturer.

Based in Gloucestershire, they are renowned for a wide range of handmade and machine bricks and have provided bricks for a number of important developments including those where heritage needs to be preserved.

Also: Non-combustible material


Overhand Work

Overhand work (rather than underhand work -- which hopefully you don't come across too much of) is a form of bricklaying.

This is when you reach from the inside of a building to the external leaf of a brick wall, whilst standing on the floor or on a scaffold. This could be because laying from the exterior isn't possible or it may just give you more control.


Plinth Bricks

Plinth bricks are a kind of special brick that has a number of potential uses including sitting atop a wall to form a more decorative finish.

They are formed by a cutaway of the vast majority of the brick face, usually on the stretcher side. They can also be used underneath window sills and at the bottom of walls to create a run off onto the ground.

Also: Paving, Pointing, Pick and Dip



A Quoin is the technical name for those large rectangular blocks you sometimes see at the corners of more old-fashioned buildings, creating a contrast with the rest of the brick masonry.

They can be used as a load bearing and weather proofing feature but you can't deny the aesthetic qualities as well. You'll often see them arranged in a toothed form with the header of each block lying in an alternating course.

Also: Queen Closer



Ever see houses where there's no brick in sight and wonder what it's made from? Well in the UK it was probably still made from brick but the plain white or coloured facade is created using something called render.

This is a plastered finish that's added to brickwork to protect it and provide a different aesthetic quality. You'll see it in some towns more than others. It can also help with the energy efficiency of a house.

It's applied in layers and there are now different kinds of render you can choose from including cement, polymer and lime render.

Also: Rising damp, Retaining wall, Reveal



Soldier is another of the names given to different sides of brick.

This is where the stretcher is set on its end with the face showing vertically. It's quite a good way of mixing up the bonds in your brickwork and can sometimes be used to indicate a border between two floors.

Also: Stretcher, Shale and Stack



We mentioned this interesting aesthetic technique in our blog on No. 10 Downing Street as it was used in the construction of that building.

This is a unique way of presenting brick and mortar so that the mortar joints look smaller than they are. Some of the mortar is painted whilst a thin groove is made in the joint. This is then filled with a small amount of paint or render.

Sometimes this is done retroactively to restore existing brickwork.

Also: Tooling, Toothing



Ok this one is more to do with construction in general than bricks although they are involved, and U was difficult, sorry...

Underpinning is the process of strengthening existing foundations either by redistributing the weight of the building or strengthening the soil it's sitting on. This could involve replacing and repairing brickwork.

It's a fairly common procedure for older buildings or where natural occurrences mean the existing land is no longer as strong as it used to be.



In brick masonry, a veneer is a leaf of brickwork that is not load bearing and is used purely for aesthetic purposes. Usually behind this is an air cavity and then the structural support layer which could be made from wood, metal framing or blocks.

It has a number of advantages over traditional solid masonry including energy efficiency and a reduced cost.

Also: Vitrification



Although not that common of a word, a Wythe is actually a fairly standard feature in brick masonry.

It's used to describe any continuous vertical section of brick masonry, one unit in thickness. This might be independent of another wythe, or it may be interlocking. It's a useful term for describing a bit of continuous brickwork but may also be interchangeable with veneer, face, or leaf.

Also: Weinerberger, Wall Tie


Urrrrmm... Surely you can forgive us for this one, right?


York Handmade

Another brick manufacturer that specialises in handmade bricks.

They're a specialist company founded in 1988 converting a previous venture on the same site. They've won numerous awards for their work and supplied bricks for several notable building projects around the UK.



One way of describing a certain kind of brick bond. Usually known as a Herringbone bond, bricks laid in this way can add a lot of character to a building.

Stay right here for all things brick

So, there you go, our mega rundown of all things brick is complete. Make sure to catch Part 1 if you haven't already.

What's your favourite brick term from the ones we've picked?