Figure 8-30.-Names of brick surfaces.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Upon completing
this section, you should be able to explain the
elements of brick masonry.
Brick masonry is construction in which uniform
units (bricks), small enough to be placed with one
hand, are laid in courses with mortar joints to form
walls. Bricks are kiln baked from various clay and
The chemical and physical
characteristics of the ingredients vary considerably.
These characteristics and the kiln temperatures
combine to produce brick in a variety of colors and
harnesses. In some regions, individual pits yield clay
or shale which, when ground and moistened, can be
formed and baked into durable brick. In other
regions, clay or shale from several pits must be
Standard U.S. bricks are 2 1/4-by-3 3/4-by-8
inches nominal size. They may have three core holes
or ten core holes. Modular U.S. bricks are 2 1/4-by-3
5/8-by-7 5/8 inches nominal size. They usually have
three core holes. English bricks are 3-by-4 1/2-by-9
inches; Roman bricks are 1 1/2-by-4-by-12 inches;
and Norman bricks are 2 3/4-by-4-by-12 inches
nominal size. Actual brick dimensions are smaller,
usually by an amount equal to a mortar joint width.
Bricks weigh from 100 to 150 pounds per cubic foot,
depending on the ingredients and duration of firing.
Fired brick is heavier than under-burned brick. The
six surfaces of a brick are called cull, beds, side, end,
and face, as shown in figure 8-30.
Occasionally you will have to cut brick into
various shapes to fill in spaces at corners and other
locations where a full brick does not fit. Figure 8-31
shows the more common cut shapes: half or bat,
three-quarter closure, quarter closure, king closure,
queen closure, and split.
TYPES OF BRICKS
Brick masonry units may be solid, hollow, or
architectural terra cotta. All types can serve a struc-
tural function, a decorative function, or a combination
of both. The various types differ in their formation
Building brick, also called common, hard, or
kiln-run brick, is made from ordinary clay or shale
and is fired in kilns. These bricks have no special
shoring, markings, surface texture, or color. Because
building bricks are generally used as the backing
courses in either solid or cavity brick walls, the harder
and more durable types are preferred.
Face brick is better quality and has better
durability and appearance than building brick.
Because of this, face bricks are used in exposed wall
faces. The most common face brick colors are various
shades of brown, red, gray, yellow, and white.
Clinker brick is over burned in the kiln. Clinker
bricks are usually rough, hard, durable, and
sometimes irregular in shape.
Pressed brick is made by a dry-press process
rather than by kiln firing. Pressed bricks have regular
smooth faces, sharp edges, and perfectly square
corners. Ordinarily, they are used like face brick.
Glazed brick has one surface coated with a white
or colored ceramic glazing. The glazing forms when
mineral ingredients fuse together in a glass like
coating during burning. Glazed bricks are particularly
Figure 8-31.-Common cut brick shapes.