Types of Bricks Available

Written by arlene mckanic
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Types of Bricks Available
Bricks have been used in buildings since at least ancient Roman times. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Brick is a hardened rectangular block of clay that has been dried and baked in a kiln. Bricks are used for buildings and pavement and can be solid, have cavities on the long face that are called frogs, perforated with small holes or hollow. Bricks can also be made of sandstone, flint, granite, limestone or marble. They are usually laid with mortar. Bricks made out of concrete are called slabs.

Standard and Roman Brick

The standard brick size is 8 3/4 inches by 4 3/4 inches by either 2 inches, 2 5/8 inches or 2 7/8 inches. Roman brick is longer and narrower than standard brick at 12 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches.

Adobe Brick

Adobe brick is longer and much thicker than common brick. It's made from sand, clay and water with straw or manure (or both) added in. The bricks are put in rough moulds and allowed to dry in the sun. The bricks are very durable and are commonly used in South America and the American Southwest for the houses of Native American people. Adobe brick has thermal properties that keep a building cool in summer and warm in winter.

Clinker and Fire Bricks

Clinker bricks are very hard, dense, heavy bricks fired under such high temperatures that they almost turn to glass. Because of this they tend to be darker than more traditionally made bricks and are considered desirable and decorative by some architects. Fire brick is a ceramic brick that is made to resist high temperatures. It's used to line furnaces, kilns and fireplaces. To make it, the clay is fired in a kiln until --- like clinker brick --- it's almost turned to glass. Fire brick is about 40 per cent aluminum oxide and 50 per cent silicon dioxide and can stand temperatures that would cause any other sort of ceramic to melt. A special fire clay is used to create this brick.

Staffordshire Blue and Cream City Brick

Staffordshire Blue brick is a construction brick from Staffordshire, England. Although the clay the brick is made from is red, it's fired in a high-temperature/low-oxygen kiln, which gives it a blue colour and makes it very hard. Cream City brick is a light-coloured brick made from clay found around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Like Staffordshire brick it's also made from red clay, but because it has more lime and sulphur than other clays, the brick becomes cream coloured when fired.

Types of Bricks Available
Brick is also used for pavements. Here it's crossed by trolley tracks. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Facing, Building and Salmon Brick

Facing brick is a specially treated coloured or textured brick that is used for exterior or decorative facing. Salt or a glaze material is added to the brick while it's being fired. Building brick is a common brick that doesn't have a special texture or surface. Salmon brick is a soft, underburned pink brick. It's also called chuff or place brick.

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