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What should I know about buying bricks?

FAQ Category: 
Selecting bricks

When ordering or specifying clay bricks, ensure the following points are discussed and made known to the suppliers:

  • Expected sizes. Not all bricks are manufactured to the standard imperial size of 222mm long x 106mm wide x 73mm high
  • The required application e.g. type of building, finish etc.
  • The degree of exposure to weather conditions, closeness to the seas etc.
  • The track record of the preferred brick in the area where you are building
  • An undertaking or warranty from the brick supplier that the bricks delivered will be fit for purpose
  • Colour expectations in the case of face bricks or exposed brick areas
  • The acceptable levels of breakage during delivery to site
  • The the brick manufacturer registered with the Clay Brick Association of SA.

To avoid colour banding it is highly recommended that face bricks are taken from a number of different packs and carefully blended during building operations.

 Properties that require consideration when buying or specifying clay brick are:

  • Compressive strength (varies from 7MPa to 50MPa)
  • Water absorption (face brick up to 10%, NFP up to 16%)
  • Modulus of rupture - strength in bending
  • Moisture expansion - important when detailing long walls
  • Initial rate of absorption: This affects the development of bond between the mortar and the brick. Bricks with high rates of absorption (often lower quality) may require pre-wetting well before laying to prevent absorbing excessive water from the mortar mix. Trial and error experiments when bricks arrive on site will determine the need to pre-wet bricks.


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