5 Common Types of Brick: Classification and Uses

© The Balance, 2018

Types of Brick

Bricks are used for building and pavement all throughout the world. In the USA, bricks were once used as a pavement material, and now it is more widely used as a decorative surface rather than a roadway material. Bricks are usually laid flat and are usually bonded forming a structure to increase its stability and strength. There are several types of bricks used many of them being about eight inches long and four inches thick.

There Are Various Types of Bricks Used in Masonry:

  1. Common Burnt Clay Bricks
  2. Sand Lime Bricks (Calcium Silicate Bricks)
  3. Engineering Bricks
  4. Concrete Bricks
  5. Fly ash Clay Bricks

Bricks are used as siding in the building industry due in part to its important characteristics and just because it can be a good affordable option. Below we summarize the benefits and applications of the most commonly used type of bricks.

Common Burnt Clay Bricks

Common burnt clay bricks are formed by pressing in molds. Then these bricks are dried and fired in a kiln. Common burnt clay bricks are used in general work with no special attractive appearances. When these bricks are used in walls, they require plastering or rendering.

Sand Lime Bricks

Sand lime bricks are made by mixing sand, fly ash and lime followed by a chemical process during wet mixing. The mix is then molded under pressure forming the brick. These bricks can offer advantages over clay bricks such as:

  • Their color appearance is gray instead of the regular reddish color.
  • Their shape is uniform and presents a smoother finish that doesn’t require plastering.
  • These bricks offer excellent strength as a load-bearing member.

What Are Engineering Bricks?

Engineering bricks are bricks manufactured at extremely high temperatures, forming a dense and strong brick, allowing the brick to limit strength and water absorption. Engineering bricks offer excellent load bearing capacity damp-proof characteristics and chemical resisting properties. These bricks are used in specific projects and they can cost more than regular or traditional bricks.

Concrete Bricks

Concrete bricks are made from solid concrete and are very common among homebuilders. Concrete bricks are usually placed in facades, fences, and provide an excellent aesthetic presence. These bricks can be manufactured to provide different colors as pigmented during its production.

Fly Ash Clay Bricks

Fly ash clay bricks are manufactured with clay and fly ash, at about 1,000 degrees C. Some studies have shown that these bricks tend to fail poor produce pop-outs, when bricks come into contact with moisture and water, causing the bricks to expand.

Why Is Brick Construction So Popular?

There are many advantages when bricks are used as part of the construction. The following list presents some of the most common advantages when using bricks instead of other construction materials.

  • Aesthetic: Bricks offer natural and a variety of colors, including various textures.
  • Strength: Bricks offer excellent high compressive strength.
  • Porosity: The ability to release and absorb moisture is one of the most important and useful properties of bricks, regulating temperatures and humidity inside structures.
  • Fire Protection: When prepared properly a brick structure can give a fire protection maximum rating of 6 hours.
  • Sound Attenuation: The brick sound insulation is normally 45 decibels for a 4.5 inches brick thickness and 50 decibels for a nine-inch thick brick.
  • Insulation: Bricks can exhibit above normal thermal insulation when compared to other building materials. Bricks can help regulate and maintain constant interior temperatures of a structure due to their ability to absorb and slowly release heat. This way bricks can produce significant energy savings, more than 30 percent of energy saving when compared to wood.
  • Wear Resistant: A brick is so strong, that its composition provides excellent wear resistance.
  • Efflorescence: Efflorescence forms on concrete structures and surfaces when soluble salts dissolved in water are deposited and accumulated on surfaces forming a visible scum.
  • Durability: Brick is extremely durable and perhaps is the most durable man-made structural building material so far.

Other Brick Types

Bricks can also be classified depending on their geometry or shape. There are bricks in the form of bullnose, channel, coping, cownose and hollow bricks to name a few. Every one of these also has a unique function and characteristic that allows you to have the right brick at the right place.