Modern methods of construction allow for a creative use of bond patterns as facing brickwork is usually no longer a structural element, but only a facing which imitates a solid load bearing wall.
This provides an opportunity to be creative and playful with brickwork design while at the same time maintaining the links to tradition, longevity and robustness for which brickwork has always been known.
There are a number of ways in which the stretcher (longer, rectangular face) and the header ( shorter, square face) can be laid, so deciding on a preferred style up front is crucial.
Before we take a look at brick bond patterns, let’s familiarise ourselves with the names of different brick parts.
- Stretcher – The longer face of brick showing in the surface of a wall
- Header – The end face of a standard brick
- Bed Face – The face of a brick usually laid in contact with the mortar
- Arris – Any straight edge of a brick formed by the junction of its faces
- Frog – An indentation in one or both bed faces of moulded or pressed bricks
- Perforation – Holes through extruded bricks from bed face to bed face
With the Stretcher Bond, courses are laid as stretchers with the joint of one course falling midway between the joints of the courses below (with allowance for the 10mm mortar joint). As the outer leaf of a building envelope is now only half a brick thick in modern construction, stretcher bond has become the most popular bond as it is time and cost effective to use with minimal wastage produced as bricks do not need to be cut to size.
A variation on this pattern is the Raking Stretcher Bond, where the brick overlap is a third or quarter brick.
A Header Bond laying pattern is similar to the Stretcher Bond, but using the brick header instead of the stretcher, with bricks offset by half a brick.
Popular during the 18th century, the Header Bond pattern often employed contrasting brick colours to give a decorative effect. This bond uses so many bricks that it is usually reserved for very high-quality buildings. It can also used for radial brickwork and creating curved surfaces, as the header faces can accommodate smaller radii.
The traditional English Bond alternates between stretcher and header courses, with headers centred over the stretchers underneath.
English Bond was the standard brick bond for English buildings and structures beginning in the late Middle Ages, commonly used until the end of the 17th century.
English Bond is considered to be one of the strongest bonds, so continues to be used for civil engineering projects, such as bridges, viaducts and embankments. However, it does require more facing bricks than other patterns.
The traditional Flemish Bond has alternative stretchers and headers on every course, with the headers centred over the stretchers underneath. From the beginning of the 18th century, the Flemish bond superseded English bond as it was considered more decorative, despite it being slightly weaker when constructed one brick thick.
Flemish bonds can be replicated in the half-brick outer leaf of a cavity wall by using whole bricks as stretchers, while the headers are created by half bricks called bats or snap-headers.
English Garden Wall Bond
Similar to the English Bond, the decorative English Garden Wall Bond has three courses of stretchers between every course of headers, often in a different colour.
Laying stretchers uses up fewer bricks than laying headers however it is also less strong, hence its use in traditional walled gardens and other modest structures. This is very rarely found on buildings outside the North of England, where it is abundant and particularly prevalent on the East coast.
In vertical or horizontal Stack Bonds, the bricks do not overlap. As this arrangement is inherently weak, it is typically used as a decorative laying pattern which delivers a striking visual effect. To compensate for the lack of bonding, typically bed-joint reinforcement is built into every third bed-joint.
Stack bond is popular with architects looking for a more contemporary appearance, however a brick with very tight dimensional tolerances should be used to maintain the alignment of the perpendicular joints.
The direction in which a brick is laid can create interesting patterns and add value to virtually any wall.
The most popular orientation is brick on bed, where the stretcher face is displayed.
To create a feature detail, the brick can be placed on end in a soldier course orientation. The quoted compressive strength of the brick will reduce in this orientation.
The brick can be placed on edge to create details such as cappings (this is also known as Rowlock). The quoted compressive strength of the brick will reduce in this orientation.
The Wienerberger technical team can deliver the below services when it comes to helping you specify brickwork on your next project.
- Assistance with specifications for clay bricks
- Advice relating to application best practice of clay bricks in design and construction
- Design advice on provision for movement with clay bricks
- Recommendations on associated brickwork components such as Damp-Proof Courses, mortars and more
- Design advice on the use of British Standard and purpose made special bricks
- Brickwork related CPD seminars delivered by our sales team
Find out more at www.wienerberger.co.uk.