What do I need to know when choosing bricks?
Whether you are doing an extension or building your own home, the bricks you choose will have a huge impact on the look of your finished project. There are a number of things you need to consider when choosing your brickwork, such as colour, texture, laying patterns, mortar choices, building regs and cost.
Getting your brickwork right first time is key as it is one of the most difficult and costly things to change later. Whereas inside, it might be easy to swap designs, the less you muck around with your bricks, the better.
Bricks can either be machine-made or handmade, where they are thrown by hand into individual moulds. Although they do come in standard sizes, you can also get other bespoke sizes made. There isn’t necessarily a technical difference between the two types of brick, but as you would imagine, machine-made bricks are a lot cheaper.
Which one works best for your building will depend on the age and style of your house. Machine made bricks will give a more modern look, whereas handmade bricks will work best for a more rugged, natural look in barn conversions and period renovations. If you are renovating or repairing a period property, you could use reclaimed bricks. They will do a job and as long as they are not too porous and should have stood the test of time already.
Where you are building in the country can have an influence on the type and colour of brick you go for. Yellow bricks are more common in London and the South East, with bricks being a deeper, darker red in the north of the country. In the Midlands, you are looking at a more orange tone. Sometimes the planning department will give you a steer, where they will want you to use a brick that fits with the external setting – or in some cases, is very different.
Buying bricks from a builders yard or merchant is fairly simple and more often than not, they will hold them in stock or be able to order them in at short notice, but if you want a bespoke brick made, you are looking at a lead time of approximately 6-8 weeks.
Do your research, but take your time as there are literally thousands of brick styles to choose from. In fact, narrowing it down might be your biggest challenge yet.