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In brick masonry construction, units of baked clay or shale of uniform size are laid in courses with mortar joints to form walls of virtually unlimited length and height. These units are small enough to be placed with one hand. Bricks are kiln-baked from various clay and shale mixtures. The chemical and physical characteristics of the ingredients vary considerably; these and the kiln temperatures combine to produce brick in a variety of colors and harnesses. In some regions, pits are opened and found to yield clay or shale that, when ground and moistened, can be formed and baked into durable brick; in other regions, clays or shales from several pits must be mixed.

The dimensions of a U.S. standard building brick are 2 1/4 by 3 3/4 by 8. The actual dimensions of brick may vary a little because of shrinkage during burning.

Brick Nomenclature

Frequently, the Builder must cut the brick into various shapes. The most common shapes are shown in figure 7-50. They are called half or bat, three-quarter closure, quarter closure, king closure, queen closure, and split. They are used to fill in the spaces at corners and such other places where a full brick will not fit. The six surfaces of a brick are called the cull, the beds, the side, the end, and the face, as shown in figure 7-51.

Brick Classification

A finished brick structure contains FACE brick (brick placed on the exposed face of the structure) and BACKUP brick (brick placed behind the face brick). The face brick is often of higher quality than the backup brick; however, the entire wall may be built of COMMON brick.

Figure 7-50.-Nomenclature of common shapes of cut brick.

Figure 7-51.-Brick surfaces nomenclature.

Common brick is brick that is made from pit-run clay, with no attempt at color control and no special surface treatment like glazing or enameling. Most common brick is red. Although any surface brick is a face brick as distinguished from a backup brick, the term face brick is also used to distinguish high-quality brick from brick that is of common-brick quality or less. Applying this criterion, face brick is more uniform in color than common brick, and it may be obtained in a variety of colors as well. It may be specifically finished on the surface, and in any case, it has a better surface appearance than common brick. It may also be more durable, as a result of the use of select clay and other materials, or as a result of special manufacturing methods.


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