Brick construction combines long-term strength and durability with a classic and versatile aesthetic appeal. Utilising a variety of brick laying techniques, masons can create both modern and historic brick design patterns to meet the needs of different projects. By varying the position and placement of each brick, installers are able to balance the appearance, performance and cost of each brick structure.
Running bond, or stretcher patterns, represent the most widely-used brick laying technique according to the Woodlands Junior School. In a running bond, each brick is positioned lengthwise, so that only the long side of the brick is visible. The header of each brick butts against the header of the adjacent brick. Each unit is centred over a joint in the rows above and below so that the bricks overlap one another by one-half of a unit. This type of brick laying technique requires the least amount of material because all bricks are laid lengthwise, and also requires the least amount of skill from installers. Many consider running bond patterns to be boring, or utilitarian in appearance despite their many other advantages.
English bond represents the oldest and strongest type of brick laying technique according to Building Magazine UK. The mason alternates courses of stretchers, or bricks placed lengthwise, with courses of headers, or bricks placed so that the headers face out. This not only creates a visually-appealing design, but also ensures that no continuous vertical joints will be present, resulting in a more durable structure.
Common bond blends both running and English bond patterns. Bricks are laid lengthwise, with every few rows arranged so that the headers face out. These rows of headers add aesthetic appeal, and also help to tie the bricks to the underlying framing for added strength.
To create a Flemish, or Dutch style of brick laying, masons alternate between stretchers and headers within a single row. For example, the first brick in a row will be laid out lengthwise, while the next one is placed so that the header faces out. This creates a unique cross-shaped pattern once the wall is complete, which may be further emphasised by using two different colours of brick for the headers and stretchers. According to Woodlands Junior School, this brick laying style is traditionally used with Georgian style design.
Stacked brick laying features columns of bricks stacked one on top of the other. The bricks on each row are placed directly over top of the one below, and do not overlap adjacent columns. According to Walton and Sons Masonry, this technique is used primarily for aesthetics and offers very little structural strength.