Choosing the best BRICKS for your house

Article by Charmaine Chido Makichi

When building a house, one of the most important materials needed for the process are bricks; so in today’s article I am going to be focusing on bricks.
I’ll talk about brick types, appearances and how to choose the best type that suits your building and outcome needs.

A brick is a small rectangular block typically made of fired or sun-dried clay, used in building. It is also used to make walls, pavements, and other elements in construction.

Brick color plays a huge factor in the finished look and feel of a project. One of the many advantages of bricks is that they are available in a wide selection of colors
When choosing a brick type, you should know your house’s style because the brick that you choose will influence your home’s overall look.

You should be able to identify good quality bricks because good quality bricks should be well burnt and should have a uniform color throughout the body of brick.
Over burnt and under burnt bricks loses the uniformity of color on its surface and strength. Very dark shades of red indicate over burnt bricks whereas, yellow color indicates under burnt bricks.

There are different types of bricks which are:

1. Sun-Dried or Unburnt Clay Bricks. Sun-dried or unburnt bricks are less durable and these are used for temporary structures.

Burnt bricks. These bricks are divided into four categories:
2. Concrete bricks- Concrete bricks are made from solid concrete poured into moulds. They are traditionally used in internal brickwork, but are more frequently being used in exterior work, such as facades and fences, to provide a modern or urban aesthetic.

3. Lime bricks- Calcium silicate bricks are made of sand and lime and popularly known as sand lime bricks. These bricks are used for several purposes in construction industries such as ornamental works in buildings, masonry works etc. Sand lime bricks are popularly used in European countries, Australia and African countries.

4. Engineering bricks- They were traditionally used in civil engineering and are most suitable for applications where strength and resistance to frost attack and water are important. Examples of situations where engineering bricks are used include ground-works, manholes, sewers, retaining walls and damp proof courses.

5. Fly ash bricks- Fly ash bricks are used in building industry. Fly ash Sand-Lime bricks: Building industry. They can also be used as an alternative material for burnt clay bricks which is one of the important building materials used for construction of housing and buildings.

6. Fire Bricks- A fire brick is a special type of brick made using fire clay and has a good resistance against high temperatures which are used in kilns, lining furnaces, fireplaces and fireboxes. These bricks are manufactured in a way similar to that of normal bricks, except during the burning process- Fire bricks are exposed to very high temperatures.

Brick selection is a very important consideration when planning to build house and should be given due attention as it has a lot to do with the quality of the house as well as outlook.

In Zimbabwe we have many brick moulding entities mostly in the SME sector, who normally focus on what are generally known as common bricks, these are made of cement and river sand morter. In the rural and peri-urban areas, the most common type of brick used is the farm brick, which is made of just burnt clay soil.

The biggest brick making companies are Beta bricks and Willdale, the later being a publicly listed company trading on the stock exchange.

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