No serious conversation about construction and quality building materials would be complete without including brick in the discussion. Brick has been a common building material for thousands of years. Many ancient brick structures are still standing. Today, brick remains a proven, solid and attractive building option.
Since ancient times, brick products have improved considerably from sunbaked mud and straw. But modern technology cannot improve upon the basic ingredients of clay, sand and water. The addition of heat to the mix completes the package. Brick's hardiness and durability is proven by the fact that brick is one of the few building materials that's routinely salvaged and re-used.
In addition to longevity, brick offers good insulation and weatherproofing. It requires no paint, so it does not fade. Despite its simplicity, you're not limited to the standard size red blocks. There are various colors and shapes for the design application desired.
Brick is avalable in several types, depending on the project.
There are three grades of brick to choose from:
Check your local building codes or Home Owner's Association regulations before selecting your brick.
Brickwork is easier than you think, and is considered fun or relaxing by many. Don't rush into this however - you'll need a lot of training and practice before tackling any structural or load-bearing projects. Here are a few things to remember:
Due to its natural origins, matching brick color is not easy, so buy enough to complete your project (and include some extra for breakage or later repairs)
Another item you'll see in the masonry aisle is concrete block. Used in foundations and walls, structural concrete block usually has two open cells to reduce weight, allow steel reinforcement and improve insulation. Solid concrete cap blocks, are used on top of a course of block to seal the wall or support wood or brick.
Shop concrete block.