Brick 101

Consumers Builders Supply is one of northern Ohio’s largest stocking distributors of brick and stone. We offer hundreds of colors, styles, textures and sizes of brick. You can choose from traditional reds to pastel pinks, earth tones, misty grays, browns and deep burgundies. Our surface textures run the gamut from smooth to heavily textured units that create an Early American hand-made look. Build beauty, value, strength and distinctive appeal into your next project with our brick or stone.

Brick is man’s oldest manufactured building product. Evidence of its use and durability is seen in the ruins of virtually every civilization. Brick is composed of shale and clay which is fired in kilns at temperatures of approximately 2000° F. The firing process causes the clay particles to physically and chemically bond together creating an extremely durable building material.

WHY BRICK

Durability: Unlike most of the materials that are selected for a new home, the brick selection will be a once-in-a-lifetime decision. If properly installed, the brick on your home will withstand the tests of time.

Insurance Savings: Check with your homeowners insurance agent for the rate difference between a brick home versus a non-brick home. The savings can be considerable.

Resale: A brick home has and always will have positive impact on the resale value of a home.

Low Maintenance: After being properly installed, a brick wall will require little, if no, maintenance for the lifetime of your home.

Safety for your family: Your brick home will stand up against the forces of nature and man for years to come.

Brick adds more than curb appeal to a home, it adds value. Whether it’s a reflection of brick’s beauty, durability, or maintenance-free properties — or a combination of the three — any Realtor will tell you that brick homes are generally the most marketable, often bringing greater prices at resale than comparable homes of other materials.

ORDERING AND DELIVERY

When you place an order for brick, scheduling takes place immediately. Actual delivery to your job site depends on the availability of the brick and of delivery equipment. During peak construction periods schedule backlogs may be extensive. Normally when a brick is in stock, delivery to your job site should be within three to five working days.

SHAPES

Design professionals enjoy the flexibility of brick as a building material. Special shaped brick can often be used to achieve a unique aesthetic design or to give a finished look to a brick detail. Many manufacturers have catalogs of standard shapes or shapes that can be made to order. It is important that shaped brick be manufactured at the same time as the regular field brick for a given job. Special shaped brick are special order items and may take extra time to produce. Planning ahead can make a real difference in the appearance of your finished job.

CLEANING BRICK

After construction, masonry must be cleaned of excess mortar and other job site dirt. Good masonry installation practises will help keep the wall clean initially and minimize the need for later cleaning. The safest method for cleaning masonry is a brush and bucket. Plenty of water and a sturdy fiber brush are used to scrub the wall. Wire brushes should never be used. Other acceptable methods may include high pressure water, steam and chemicals. Be sure to consult the manufacturer or brick distributor for a recommended cleaning method before proceeding. All methods should be carefully monitored and pre-tested in an inconspicuous area.  Improper cleaning can result in stains and possibly remove the surface of the brick or otherwise damage the wall. Muriatic acid is never reccommended for cleaning brick or stone. Muriatic acid may introduce impurities and may cause staining or “acid burn”. High pressure water, steam and sand blasting can also permanently damage mortar joints and the brick’s face.

MORTAR

Mortar can be nearly 20% of the total surface area of a wall. A change in colour of mortar will effect the overall tone of the wall. The mortar can be tinted to blend or contrast with the brick color. Mortar joints can also be finished with a variety of different techniques and joint profiles. The combination of mortar colour and finish can have a profound effect on the finished appearance of a wall. Mortars can also vary in terms of their physical properties. In practical terms a good mortar must have a satisfactory board life, work-ability, resistance to water penetration and bond to the masonry unit being laid. There is no single type of mortar that is suitable for all brick and stone and there is no one mortar composition that is superior to all others. For best results a mortar type and composition should be selected based on the characteristics of the masonry unit being laid.

SIZES

Brick are available in several sizes. Brick sizes are often chosen based on their aesthetics related to the overall project appearance or for a design requirement such as a particular bonding pattern. Cost of installation is also often a factor as larger brick units have (in general) lower cost of installation. Please note that nomenclature can vary from one manufacturer to another. It is best to confirm actual sizes rather than rely on a name.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Brick is a good construction material from an environmental perspective. The raw material required to make brick is some of the most abundant on earth. Very little refining or processing is required to prepare the raw material for making brick. The process of mining clay is regulated by the government and when a quarry is closed the land is usually returned to its natural condition. Although energy is required for in the production process and for transportation, this is offset by the energy saving offered by the thermal mass effect of brick buildings. The expected life span of brick buildings, which can be hundreds of years also reduces the environmental impact.

COST OF BRICK

Brick is initially more expensive than some alternative siding materials. The lower maintenance cost, expected useful life and higher resale value of brick buildings easily offsets the higher initial cost of brick and makes brick your best value in exterior cladding. Because brick is a premium product, it can cost slightly more than some other commonly used products. The difference is less than one might expect, however – a brick home cost 3 to 5% above the cost of a vinyl siding house, for example – and will quickly be offset by brick’s energy-efficiency and low maintenance requirements. According to Marshall and Swift’s Residential Cost Handbook, the appreciation of a brick home is, on average, 6% greater than that of an identical home with a vinyl, wood siding, cedar, or aluminum exterior.

TEXTURE

The surface texture of brick is very important to its overall appearance. A variety of textures are available including smooth, wirecut or matt, (semi-smooth) and torn face (rough texture). Texture can also be created by applying coatings, machine made impressions, and other mechanical treatments. Texture generally has little or no effect on the durability of a particular brick. Unique textures can also be created with different manufacturing processes such as in handmade and wood molded brick. These textures can sometimes be approximated by mechanically treating extruded brick through methods such as paper cutting and tumbling.

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