Stone and Masonry
Bricks are manmade argillaceous rock. Brick and cement or cinder block masonry are not quite as artistic as stone masonry, but are usually quicker and cheaper. Like stone masonry, a footing is laid, and tiers of block or brick are placed upon the footing. The way a brick is positioned in a wall is given a name. The long part of the brick is termed the stretcher, the short end, the header, and the flat face of the brick is the bed. A tier or layer of brick can be a stretcher course (if all faces showing are stretchers), a headed course (ends showing are heads), a sailor course (where bricks are upright, with beds showing) or soldier course (where bricks are upright, with stretchers showing). Bricks laid in stretcher position with headers abutting are termed rowlock stretchers, and with headers upright are termed rowlock headers. There are various patterns that are used in brick laying. Strictly, in bricklaying, pattern refers to changes in arrangement or varied brick texture or color used in the face. But the different methods of joining bricks with the mortar can also be termed patterns. There are five types of bonding. They are:
- Running bond—Consists of all stretchers, but each tier is moved over one half brick.
- Block or stack bond—Each tier is placed over the previous in exactly the same position.
- American bond—A variation of running bond, with a full course of headers every fifth, sixth or seventh course.
- English bond—Alternates block bond tiers with header tiers.
- Flemish bond—Similar to English bond, but differs in that instead of alternating tiers, it alternates stretcher and header in the same tier.
Modern building codes require that masonry-bonded walls have no less that 4% headers in the wall surface. Headers bond the wall across its thickness. Metal ties are usually recommended for bonding an exterior wall. This allows for stretching and resistance to cracking.
The surface of the brick wall can vary, depending on how the joints are finished. There are about seven types of finished joints.
Concave is the most common. It keeps moisture out and the mortar is forced tightly between the brick and thus makes an excellent bond.
The V-joint is formed with a special jointer, a piece of wood or a trowel, and it stands out as a sharp line. V-joints direct water off.
The raked joint forms a deep recess, which does not keep water out, but produces a shading that accentuates the brick courses.
The weathered joint sheds the water better than any other. It is recessed at the top, and is level with the brick surface at the bottom of the joint.
The struck joint is the opposite of weathered—it is recessed at the bottom and slants towards the top.
The flush joint is the easiest of all to make. One simply uses the trowel to smooth the face. It is water resistant but not very strong since the mortar is not compacted.
The extruded joint, also called the "weeping" joint, is water resistant and is used mainly for garden walls or where a rustic appearance is desired. It is made by using an excess of mortar between tiers of brick. When a brick is put into place the excess mortar is then squeezed out, and left where it hangs over.
The type of stone, brick, or bonding to be used depends on the purpose and desire of the builder. But whatever type is chosen, stone and brick last the longest, besides being pleasant to the eye.