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Bricks

Facing Bricks

Facing Bricks

Considered one of the oldest building materials, facing bricks have played a key role in extraordinary architecture for thousands of years. Despite this long history, the ever-evolving colour, texture and shape possibilities of brick have allowed architects and developers creative freedom to bring innovative, contemporary project designs to life.

Within this history, Taylor Maxwell have been a trusted brick supplier to the construction industry for over 60 years. Working with leading UK and European brick manufacturers, our range of bricks span from the popular red facing brick to more contemporary long format and glazed options. In addition, we can work with our manufacturing partners to create bespoke brick blends that meet your specific facade requirements.

Working from 12 regional offices, our brick specialists are expertly placed to provide technical and design support, to progress your project from concept to completion. Whether you need advice on brickwork bond patterns, mortar joints, colours, compressive strengths, durability or regional suitability, our teams are ready to help.

Buff Facing Brick | Taylor Maxwell

Types of Bricks

Wirecut

Unlike other brick options, wirecut bricks are not made via a mould but are instead produced by extruding a column of clay through a brick-shaped die before wires are used to cut the column into individual bricks.

These economical bricks tend to be smooth with very precise edges however a softer edge or textures can be added to the brick via a roller during the manufacturing process. Wirecut bricks commonly have perforations through the bricks which can come in many forms, or alternately they can be entirely solid.

Handmade

Handmade bricks are produced without the use of machines and instead, wet clay is hand thrown into sanded moulds to create distinctive results. This unique process forms curved creases in the brick face, each of which is particular to the individual brick.

The method lends itself to significant flexibility when it comes to sizes and brick specifications, making it a popular choice on heritage projects where finding a matching reclaimed brick proves difficult. Though handmade bricks can come at a higher price point, their rustic beauty remains highly desirable to architects and developers alike.

Stock

To replicate the handmade process, without requiring the same amount of labour, the stock brick, also known as a soft mud brick, was developed. Resulting in soft edges and a frogged indent in the brick, stock bricks are produced through an automated process where clay is in placed into moulds by a machine and is released using sand.

The method creates a rough, grained surface across the brick's faces, providing facades with a timeless look that is full of character.

Waterstruck

Like Stock bricks, waterstruck bricks are created when wet clay is pressed into moulds but in the waterstruck process, water is the lubricant used to release the clay.

This method usually results in a solid brick, featuring a distinctive texture and a lip at the bottom of the brick face. Customers enjoy featuring Waterstruck bricks for their subtle markings and inimitable finish, providing project facades with character and visual interest.

Linear

Formed from a number of possible manufacturing processes, linear bricks are defined by their longer or thinner dimensions when compared to the standard facing brick.

Linear bricks are often chosen for their sleek uniformity and their ability to accentuate the horizontal and linear aspects of a facade. A handmade linear brick can create a delicate and elegant feature, while a wirecut option can be utilised to cultivate a crisp, dramatic finish to a facade.

Glazed

Available in any RAL colour, glazed bricks are typically created by applying a high gloss or matte ceramic coating to a wirecut brick. Due to this additional veneer, glazed bricks offer not only visual advantages but will also enhance a facades’ resilience during harsh weather conditions, such as frost.

Glazed bricks are a cost-effective way of designing interesting project details. Why not pick a special shaped option to achieve stunning depth and dimension across your facade?

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Design

As a brick’s manufacturing technique will heavily affect its visual appearance and performance, and with thousands of different colours and textures available, it can be challenging to find the brick type that is most suitable for your development.

Though the variety is vast, it is these endless aesthetic possibilities that can make designing a facade using facing brick so successful. From matching heritage brickwork through to developing ground-breaking new buildings, our knowledgeable teams are located across the UK to draw upon their years of experience to offer advice and consultation, to guide you through the process of material selection.

Browse through inspirational case studies below to see how our teams have helped others achieve their project design vision.

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Product Selector

We partner with all major UK manufacturers and supply a large range of imported European bricks to provide you with the widest choice of facing bricks possible. Our range includes an exceptional spectrum of colours including reds, oranges, blues, greys, yellows and creams with long format, glazed bricks and bespoke blends available.

Use our product selector tool to explore examples of the colours, textures and finishes we offer.

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Product selector tool

Brickwork Bonding Patterns and Mortar Joints

In addition to specifying the right brick colour and finish for your project facade, it is important to consider the brickwork bond pattern, mortar joints and mortar colour that you’ll be using.

As these elements will have a significant impact on the appearance, strength and durability of your brickwork, our teams are there to advise.

Brickwork Details

Bonding Patterns

Stretcher Bond

The stretcher bond is a popular brickwork pattern, formed when bricks are laid with only the stretcher showing. Bricks overlap midway with the courses of the bricks above and below creating a simple and consistent repetition.

By using the full brick, cutting and waste is reduced, making this the most economical bond option.

English Bond

An English bond pattern comprises alternating courses of headers and stretchers, with the headers centralised with the midpoint of the stretcher on the course above and below.

Though this may require more facing bricks than other bond patterns, it is one of the strongest brickworks patterns and is commonly used on engineering projects such as bridges and embankments.

Flemish Bond

Comprising alternating stretchers and headers on each course, the Flemish bond pattern forms when headers are centralised with the mid-point of the stretcher on the courses above and below.

This is a strong brickwork pattern as it’s often used on walls that are two-brick thick however in recent times, this bond has been replicated in a single skin width.

Header Bond

In complete contrast to the stretcher bond, the header bond is formed when bricks are laid with only the brick headers showing.

This bond is most frequently used to achieve curved brickwork with a tight radii, where the stretched bond may not be suitable.

Stack Bond

Constructed by stacking either horizontal or vertical bricks on top of one another, the stack bond is a contemporary brickwork pattern that involves no bricks overlapping.

Though this creates a relatively weak bond, it can be incredibly striking, making is a great choice for feature brickwork or cladding applications.

View Bond Patterns

Mortar Joint Profiles

Recessed

The recessed or raked mortar joint is created when mortar is raked out to a consistent depth, leaving a portion of the brick bed exposed.

This stylistic feature will emphasise the individual brick and create a crisp, shadowed appearance across the brickwork. Unless well compressed, this mortar joint can be susceptible to water penetration when rain and snow sit on the exposed brick ledge.

Flush

To create a flush mortar joint, mortar is liberally applied and then evenly levelled so that the mortar is flush to the adjacent brickwork.

When using a flush mortar joint, it’s important to ensure the surface doesn’t protrude from the brickwork as this can allow water to sit atop the mortar.

Weather Struck

Weather struck mortar joints are created when mortar is applied at an angle of 45°, creating a slope that starts at a pressed in upper edge and finishes in line with the edge of the brick below.

When applied correctly, the weather struck joint leaves a careful, orderly appearance that allows water to shed from the joint surface.

Bucket Handle

Formed using a curved jointing tool, the bucket handle or concave mortar joint is widely practiced due to the tight seal created by this compacting method.

Not only will the bucket handle mortar joint provide high resistance to rain water penetration, it can also emphasise the surface and quality of the surrounding brickwork.

Read more about mortar for brickwork

Mortar Colour

Not always fully appreciated for the impact it can have on your final facade, brickwork mortar colour is an element worth considering when moving through the specification process.

As mortar makes up around 15-17% of visible brickwork, the choice to compliment, match or contrast your chosen facing brick will significantly alter a project’s final design. When specifying brickwork with our teams, they can also support your mortar colour selection, so that it may harmonise with historic adjacent projects or create a juxtaposing feature as your vision requires.

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Sustainable benefits of brickwork

With its long lifespan and recyclability at the end of its use, facing brick remains a sought-after product in contemporary construction, as developments move towards stronger sustainability targets.

Through the UK’s historic architecture, manufacturers can reliably claim a brick’s durability and 150-year life expectancy in conjunction with its aesthetic benefits. This means the natural material requires minimal maintenance or replacement once installed.

Facing brick also positively contributes to a building’s thermal mass by storing thermal energy when the surroundings are higher in temperature, returning the stored thermal energy when the surroundings are cooler. Using facing brick in a fabric first approach means you can create a comfortable, low-energy indoor climate, before sourcing additional energy saving products.

To give back to our wildlife, our teams are also able to supply bee bricks, bat boxes, swift boxes and other biodiversity benefiting products. Easy to install, these safe spaces for our flora and fauna contribute to a developments environmental credentials while tackling the planets worrying nature loss.

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Finding your project the perfect brick match

Are you a developer looking for a particular brick to match with an existing development? Are you an architect looking for brick options to suit the local and surrounding architectural style?

As a commercial supplier of facing bricks, our brick specialists are well equipped to help identify and provide a reliable brick matching service for your next project. With advisors based in 12 regional offices across the UK, our teams have immediate knowledge of their local areas and the facing bricks and masonry used on existing schemes.

For yourself, your client or a planning committee, we will provide samples based on an exact match where possible, or the nearest brick/blend type to meet the required finish.

Follow the steps below to submit a brick match request. If we are unable to identify your brick from the images received, we will arrange for one of our area sales team to contact you and arrange a site visit.

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To speak to one of our team, call us on 0203 794 9377 or email enquiries@taylor.maxwell.co.uk

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