A durable and energy efficient material:
Brick is regarded as one of the oldest, most durable building materials in use today. Dating back thousands of years, it has advanced from the use of simple dried mud cakes to high quality kiln-fired ceramics. Common brick is made from clay, shale, soft slate, calcium silicate, concrete, or quarried stone. Like ceramic tiles, they are created by the action of heating and cooling.
Due to its porous nature, brick acts as a natural insulator for your home. This makes it extremely cost effective, which explains why it is the preferred application in areas with cooler climates, such as the Northern and Midwest regions of the United States.
Versatility of brick
Although there are many types of brick in use throughout the world, in the United States, the most common are known as “standard modular”. Over the past decade there has been a growing demand for a variety of brick sizes, colors and textures. Manufacturers add pigments to produce a large range of colors. New processing techniques and additives have created an array of textures, shapes and dimensions. When selecting brick for your home project it is important to have a basic knowledge of the materials available.
For many, brick is considered the best exterior siding choice for both home and commercial use. However, it has long been used in interior applications for its decorative appeal. In past centuries, the use of brick on the interior of the home was mainly for insulation purposes. Brick walls and fireplaces are often seen in historic buildings and provide a warmth and character that would otherwise be lacking. For this reason, many new homes are utilizing brick in their interior designs in order to bring in that sense of warmth and character while maintaining the elegance of the structure. Please refer to our section on “Architectural Masonry” for a complete description of how these applications can bring a new home to life.
Things to consider when selecting brick:
With the growing popularity of different brick sizes, it is important to be aware of how your selection will impact appearance, installation and cost. Standard modular brick, as mentioned earlier, is the most common choice. Most masons will quote your masonry project based on the use of these bricks. However, other sizes such as “Norman”, “Queen” or “King” require different preparation and/or application costs. In a new construction setting, consulting with your mason at the earliest stage (rough framing or sooner) will help to accommodate for different size tolerances, such as brick ledges, racks, etc.
Natural stone products:
Natural stone products are – as their name implies – substances derived from nature itself. They are quarried from large deposits in the earth’s surface and include limestone, marble, granite, travertine, as well as many others. Their appeal in the building industry is due to their density and durability. This also makes them the more costly choice for siding, construction and décor.
Since these are derived from natural deposits, they are also prone to imperfections and flaws in color, texture and consistency. These random “flaws” are what give stone its character and make for a rich and stately overall appearance.
As with any masonry project, it is important to meet with both your supplier as well as your mason at the earliest stage in construction. Selecting a natural stone product will directly impact your construction preparation.
Cultured stone products:
In recent years, there has been a growing demand for cultured or manufactured stone products. These products provide the quality and appeal of natural stone at a fraction of its cost, weight and installation time. Improved processing techniques have made these products very similar in appearance to natural stone. These products are made with concrete, resins and additives and are marketed under many different names such as Arriscraft® and Eldorado Stone®.
Cultured stone products do not require a brick ledge as is true with brick veneers. Rather they are applied with mortar or adhesives and adhere directly to the wall. This makes it a popular choice for interior and exterior renovations. It also provides a larger selection of colors, shapes, and stone types.
Arriscraft® & Eldorado Stone®: These are full masonry units with the look and feel of real stone. For this reason, they blend nicely with brick. The ease of installation keeps labor costs desirable while adding a custom look to the home.
Robinson’s Thin Brick®: This looks and feels like brick, yet does not require a brick ledge, making it a popular choice for accent walls and finished basements. Since these are installed individually with mortar, the finished product gives the same appearance as a natural brick veneer.
Brick Pavers: Most often used by landscapers, this application consists of a variety of masonry materials including concrete, brick and cultured stone. Many of these materials are supplied in the form of kits to produce a selection of patterns and layouts. When utilizing these products, one must consider the base and area of application. Since they are laid over compacted sand, they provide good drainage, but are not as durable as solid paving surfaces. It is important to have a professional look at the area to be paved to help determine the best application to provide an attractive, yet functional surface.
Stamped Concrete: This paving technique is similar to traditional flat concrete, yet provides some flexibility in color, texture and design. Patterns are laid out in wet concrete to produce the look of stone, tile or natural surfaces. Color dyes and sealants are used to achieve a variety of looks to compliment your project. Expansion joints are added to provide weather resistance and durability. This application is a cost effective solution for large areas such as around pools, spas and outdoor living spaces.
Natural Stone: Travertine, limestone, sandstone and flagstone are some of the choices available in natural stone paving. As with any paving project, it is important to consider drainage, weather resistance and cost when planning this type of paving project. Spangenburgh Masonry can help you evaluate your needs and find solutions that are attractive, durable and affordable.
Although masonry is an age-old art form, the term architectural masonry is rather new. This describes a number of contemporary masonry applications that are used to add character to an existing structure. For many, adding architectural masonry to an existing home, improves the character and mood of their home. Often new living areas are added to expand the home or improve its ambiance. We have listed some examples of architectural masonry that can be used to compliment your new construction or older home.
Accents & Details:
Detailing, columns, piers, arches, quoins, etc.
Fireplaces & Ovens:
Interior, exterior, fire pits, brick ovens, etc.
Outdoor kitchens, decks, patios, cabanas, pool areas, spas, etc
Signs, mailboxes, deck piers, etc.