English     |     Chinese     |     Japanese
HOME       |        ABOUT US        |        OUR PRODUCTS       |        PROJECT GALLERY        |        CONTACT US        |        SITE MAP
  back BACK 
bottom corner About Us          -   Company Profile   |   About Bricks   |   Brick Plant Engineering   - bottom corner
Bricks are the only man-made building materials that testify to their use since the early human civilization. With their attractive appearances and superior properties such as high compressive strength and durability, excellent fire and weather resistance, good thermal and sound insulation, bricks are widely used for building, civil engineering work, and landscape design.
bottom corner   bottom corner

The Basics of Brick

General Brick Specifications

Brickwork Mortar

Laying Patterns

Weight and Packing Information

Techinical Publications


1. Classification of Bricks
Clay bricks can be classified according to their varieties, qualities, and classes.

1.1 Common Bricks
Common burnt clay bricks, which are accepted for use in general brick work with no special claim for attractive appearances. Walls built with common bricks require rendering or plastering.

1.2 Facing Bricks
Quality burnt clay bricks, which give attractive appearance in their color and texture. It is used without rendering, plastering, or other surface treatments.

1.3 Loadbearing Bricks
Loadbearing bricks, which can be either common or facing bricks, conform to specified average compressive strength limits depending on their classes as given in table below.

Class Average Compressive Strength
N/mm2 P.S.I.
* Based on British Standard 3921:1965

1.4 Engineering Bricks
Engineering bricks are bricks burnt at exceedingly high temperatures. They possess a dense and strong semi-vitreous body and conform to the defined limits for strength and water absorption. They are primarily used in civil engineering works that require high load bearing capacity, good damp-proof, and chemical resisting characteristics.

Engineering Average Compressive Strength, (No less than)
N/mm2           U.S.A.
Average Water Absorption, %
(No greater than)
69.0 (10,000 psi)
48.5 (7,000 psi)
* Based on British Standard 3921:1965

1.5 Damp Proof Course
Clay bricks of specified low water absorption used at the base of a wall (minimum two courses) to resist the upward movement of ground water. Their use is recommended for free standing wall where otherwise a sheet of DPC material would create a plane of weakness causing the wall to be vulnerable to lateral forces.

2. Properties and Functional Performances of Brick
Bricks are made from clay by burning it at high temperatures. The action of heat gives rise to a sintering process that causes the clay particles to fuse and develops extremely strong ceramic bonds in the burnt clay bodies. Such bonds are highly stable. As a result, bricks can withstand the severe weathering actions and are inert to almost all normal chemical attacks.

2.1 Strength
Bricks are well-known for their high compressive strength. Their compressive strength depends on:

  1. the raw materials used,
  2. the manufacturing process, and
  3. the shape and size.
Bricks made by a de-aerated extruder and fired to sufficiently high temperature can easily withstand a compressive pressure exceeding 28 N/mm2 (4,000 psi). They are suitable for almost all structural building applications

2.2 Aesthetic appeal
Brick possesses the natural and pleasant colours of burnt clay. Its colour formation is achieved through a complicate physical chemical reaction during the firing process. In contrast to colour of stained body, brick colour is permanent and will not be faded during weathering process. Different clay compositions, firing temperatures or kiln atmosphere can lead to different colours of the burnt products. By proper control of these factors, bricks can be made to exhibit endless variety of natural and attractive colours.

Besides its richness in colour, bricks can be made to various textures. It is the combination of colour and texture that gives brick such distinctive feature which is everlasting and meadows with age. In view of the high cost to maintain the appearance of a building, the unique features of brick become an unparalleled advantage to housing design.

2.3 Porosity
Porosity is an important characteristic of brick. In contrast to other moulded or pre-cast building materials, the porosity of brick is attributed to its fine capillaries. By virtue of the capillary effect, the rate of moisture transport in the brick is ten times faster than in other building materials. Moisture is released during day-time and re-absorbed during night-time. The ability to release and re-absorb moisture (a "breathing" process) by capillary effect is one of the most useful properties of brick that helps to regulate the temperature and humidity of atmosphere in a house. This distinctive property makes brick an admirable building material, particularly suitable for houses in the tropics. On the other hand, all porous materials are susceptible to chemical attacks and liable to contamination from weathering agents like rain, running water and polluted air. Porosity of building material is an important factor to consider in respect its performance and applications.

Experiment results show that bricks with water absorption rate at 8% is 10 times more durable in resisting salt attack than that with water absorption rate at 20%. Well burnt brick has a normal water absorption rate less than 10% in contrast to that of concrete block and cement mortar exceeding 15%. This explains why brick walls require comparatively minimum maintenance in the course of time.

To mitigate the adverse effects but at the same time retain the advantages associated with porosity, the rate of water absorption of facing bricks for masonry brickwork should preferable be maintained around 10%.

A rarely known property of brick is its initial rate of absorption (IRA). It is in fact the initial rate of absorption that plays a key role in affecting the strength of bond between bricks and mortar during bricklaying. High value of IRA tends to remove excessive water from the mortar rapidly and thus hampers the proper hydration of cement . Experiments show that and an increase of IRA from 2 kg/m2/min to 4 kg/m2/min reduces the strength of brickwork by 50%. Generally, bricks with IRA exceeding 2 kg/m2/min will gives rise to difficulties in laying using common cement mortars. Modern brick extruder with de-airing action produces denser brick with lower IRA.

2.4 Fire Resistance
Brick is inherent with excellent fire resistance. A 100 mm brickwork with 12.5 mm normal plastering will provide a fire-resistance of 2 hours and a 200 mm non-plastered brickwork will give a maximum rating of 6 hours for non-load bearing purposes. Brick can support considerable load even when heated to 1000oC in contrast to concrete wall at only up to 450oC due to loss of water of hydration.

It is a fact that the non-combustibility of brick helps to promote its use in building houses against fire. There have been numerous examples in the past that people chose to use bricks for their houses after a devastating fire that burned down the whole city. Perhaps the most famous instance is the great London Fire in 1666, after which the rebuilding was largely done if not entirely in brick.

2.5 Sound Insulation
Brick wall shows good insulation property due to its dense structure. The sound insulation of brickwork is generally 45 decibels for a 4-1/2 in. thickness and 50 decibels for a 9-in. thickness for the frequency range of 200 to 2,000 Hz.

2.6 Thermal Insulation
Brick generally exhibits better thermal insulation property than other building materials like concrete. Perforation can improve the thermal insulation property of bricks to some extent. Besides, the mass and moisture of bricks help to keep the temperature inside the house relatively constant. In other words, bricks absorb and release heat slowly and thus keep the house cool during daytime and warm during nighttime.

Energy saving of a brick house is remarkable. A study commissioned by the Brick Institute of America had demonstrated that a brick house can save energy up to 30% when compared to that built of wood.

A comparison of the thermal conductivities of various materials is given in table below:-

Typical Thermal Conductivities of Various Building Materials
Material Btu/(sq.ft.-hr-F/in.) W/mK
Sand & gravel aggregate (dry)
Cement Mortar
Concrete (1:4)
Concrete Block (1:5) (four Oval-core)
Concrete Block (1:10) (four Oval-core)
Solid Brick (density:1925kg/m3)
Perforated Brick (25% perforation density:1400kg/m3)

2.7 Wear resistance
The wear resistance of a substance depends on its particulate bonds. Bricks shows high wear resistance because of its extremely strong ceramic bonds formed by the effect of heat at high temperature.

2.8 Efflorescence
Efflorescence is a phenomenon that soluble slats dissolved in water are carried, deposited and gradually accumulated on brick surfaces to form an unsightly scum. The soluble salts may be originated from the raw material of bricks. But in most cases, efflorescence is caused by salts from the external sources such as ground water, contaminated atmosphere, mortar ingredients and other materials in contacts with the bricks.

2.9 Flexibility in Applications
Brick is used for an extremely wide range of applications in an equally extensive range of building and engineering structures. In particular, it can be used for load bearing structures which greatly simply the construction process so as to save materials, time and labour. Besides, brick can be make into convenient shape and size to facilitate the construction work. It is very flexible and handy in application almost everywhere.

2.10 Durability
Brick is extremely durable and perhaps is the most durable man-made structural building materials so far. There has been numerous ancient brick-building standing for centuries as a testimony of the endurance of burnt-clay brick.


All Trademarks Are The Property Of Their Respective Owner. Copyright © 1998 - 2007. Claybricks & Tiles Sdn. Bhd. All Rights Reserved.