The front of the building is used to protect and decorate the walls. That is why the selected material should be characterized by strength, durability, weather resistance and low moisture absorption. Facing brick is one of such materials.
Features and Benefits
Facing brick is a type of material intended for decoration of the facade. In this regard, the brick is also called “facade” and “front”. Like any finishing element, a brick performs 2 main functions - protective and decorative.
The protective function determines the compliance of the material with the following requirements:
- high strength required to withstand mechanical stress, shock and wind load;
- low coefficient of moisture absorption , which means frost resistance, durability of the product, as well as the absence of mold and fungus in the room and on the surface of the facade;
- heat resistance , resistance to low temperatures and sudden thermal changes (the brick must withstand the most dangerous changes - jumps from low to high temperatures).
Given the complexity and considerable cost of installing a brick facade, a rare owner will agree to a design life of less than a couple of decades. However, subject to the masonry technology, such a facade has a 50-year or even longer period of service.
At the same time, the use of brick for the facade opens up unlimited possibilities for its design. A different type of brick, many options for masonry - all this makes brick cladding a real work of art.
In some cases, the use of this material as a finishing is unacceptable. Let us dwell on this in more detail.
Brick, depending on the type, weighs 2.3-4.2 kg, respectively, brickwork with an area of 1 m2 of material with dimensions of 250 * 65 * 120 mm has a weight of 140-260 kg. It is easy to imagine how much weight the facade of even a small house will have.
This necessitates a reliable foundation for the facade. It will be possible to use a brick only if the existing foundation extends beyond the walls by at least 12 cm (the width of a standard brick) and has a suitable bearing capacity.
In the absence of such, it is possible to arrange a separate foundation for facade masonry by linking it with the main anchors, but this is not always possible from a technical point of view. In addition, the process is quite laborious and expensive. Additional costs will also be caused by the need to remodel the roofing system and pediments, since with the increasing area of the building, they will not be able to fully protect the building.
When constructing a separate foundation for the facade, it is necessary to connect the bearing walls and cladding. As a binder system, special flexible polymer bonds or stainless steel analogues are used, as well as galvanized steel wire. One end of the wire is mounted to the wall, the other to the facade. This allows you to save the location of the facing row, preventing its removal or "collision" on the supporting structure of the building.
An important requirement is the ability of the walls to "breathe", that is, to let water vapor accumulate in the room into the atmosphere. Compliance with this requirement is ensured by preserving 2-4 cm of the ventilation gap between the facade and walls, as well as equipping the first vents, which are located in the upper and lower parts of the facade.
Ventilation is performed using special elements, or they may represent several unfilled vertical joints between the bricks. The purpose of such elements is to provide air circulation by taking it in the lower part and outflow in the upper part of the facade. The fresh air circulating inside the gap purges it, as it were, taking with it part of the water vapor.
Non-compliance with this requirement is due to the technical characteristics of the brick lining (water vapor during freezing will destroy the brick, contributing to the appearance of cracks on it) and insulation (if there is one in the ventilation space), as well as condensation on the surface of the walls and poltolka inside the building.
Thus, the width of the facade foundation should increase by another 30-40 mm for the organization of the ventilation gap.
At the same time, a layer of thermal insulation material is often laid in the latter to increase the heat efficiency of the building. In this regard, the width of the gap increases by another 5 centimeters (or 50 mm), which entails an increase in the width of the foundation to 190-210 mm and the need to increase its bearing capacity.
However, today there are narrower versions of the material on sale - their width is 85 mm (euro brick), and sometimes it can only reach 60 cm. When using such a brick, the protruding part can be reduced to 130-155 mm.
If it is impossible to fulfill the described requirements for the features of the foundation and structure of the building, it is not necessary to abandon the idea of living in a "brick" house. There are worthy analogues of brick finish - clinker tiles, facade panels imitating brickwork.
The following types of facing bricks are distinguished.
The most affordable option. The products are based on clay, modifiers to provide finished bricks with certain technical properties, sometimes pigments. Raw materials are formed into bricks, dried, and then fired in high-temperature (up to 800-1000 degrees) furnaces. The strength and quality of the finished product depends on the quality of clay and the exact observance of production technology.
Ceramic brick can vary in shades, dimensions, texture, be hollow and solid. Its shade varies from light brown to brick red in terms of raw materials without pigments. The hue is due to the characteristics of the clay composition, temperature and firing time (the higher the temperature and the longer this process, the darker the product is). When pigment is added, the color of the brick varies from light, beige shades to dark gray, graphite.
The minus of the material is the tendency to efflorescence - a whitish coating that occurs when in contact with the salts of masonry mortars of poor quality.
It is also based on natural clay and a small amount of environmentally friendly additives, which are kilned together in an oven. However, the heating temperature is already at least 1300 degrees.
The result is a monolithic product devoid of pores and voids. This, in turn, demonstrates increased strength (for comparison, clinker has M350 strength, ceramic analogue has a maximum of M250), as well as minimal moisture absorption (1-3%).
Naturally, this also has a beneficial effect on the frost resistance of bricks - some types of clinker withstand about 500 freezing cycles!
The use of a special type of clay requires considerable investment in finding places of raw material deposits. The process itself is also quite complicated and financially expensive. This is what determines the high cost of clinker.
If it is impossible to use an expensive clinker, you can install a more affordable clinker tile. Another worthy analogue is concrete tile under a brick.
The basis of the composition of silicate brick is quartz sand. Lime, modifiers and plasticizers, pigment are added to it. The production of products is carried out by the method of autoclave synthesis. At the first stage, the future product is shaped by dry pressing. Then the workpiece is exposed to water vapor, the temperature of which is 170-200 degrees, and high pressure - up to 12 atmospheres.
Silicate brick demonstrates high strength, good heat and sound insulation qualities, and also differs in the accuracy of forms at an affordable price.
However, for facing a building, the material is used infrequently due to its high moisture absorption and high weight. In those cases when silicate brick is still chosen for cladding, the masonry must be treated with hydrophobic compounds, as well as increased roof plumb for better protection of the facade.
A relatively new product in the construction market. The surface of the brick is an imitation of chips of natural stone. At the same time, the material is light in weight and affordable. This is explained by the fact that the cement mortar is not more than 10-15%, all other components are waste from cutting natural stone (grind into crumbs), rejection from stone and gravel, sand shell, etc.
All components are mixed, moistened and sent into molds, where they are pressed under tremendous pressure. The final stage of production is drying or steaming products.
One notable feature is the incredible dimensional accuracy. Possible deviations do not exceed 0.5 mm. This is very valuable when laying a brick facade and unattainable in the manufacture of clinker or ceramic brick.
It is not a type of brick in the full sense, rather, it is a soft mineral-polymer panel with imitation of clinker masonry. Unlike the types discussed above, the material does not require strengthening the foundation, it will allow faster and cheaper cladding of the facade.
Differences between products can be based not only on the material of manufacture, but also depend on the features of the texture of the brick. Bricks of the following textures are distinguished.
The most affordable and easy to manufacture type of brick. It is worth noting the convenience and ease of use - pollution does not accumulate on a smooth surface, ice does not form, and a layer of snow does not stick.
They have artistic furrows and ledges forming a decorative pattern. As a rule, they are used to decorate individual elements of the facade - window openings, architectural components. Use it on the entire surface of the wall is irrational, since the embossed surface retains dust, is covered with ice.
In addition, it is useful to know that from a long distance the relief is invisible, but it provides an interesting color effect. Refracting on inhomogeneous surfaces, the sun's rays illuminate the facade in different ways. As a result, he plays in different colors, shimmers.
Such bricks come in different colors, sometimes completely unbelievable. A similar effect is achieved due to the application of special clay compositions or a layer of colored glass chips to the brick surface. Further, the brick is fired at a temperature of not more than 700 degrees. This causes the top layer to melt and sinter with the main product. When using clay, a painted matte brick is obtained, when applying a glass layer - an elegant glossy analogue.
Externally, engobed bricks do not differ from glazed ones - they also have different colors, a matte or glossy surface. However, the weight of the former is less, as is its price. This is due to the fact that the brick is not burned 2 times, but one, which reduces its cost. The dye is applied to the dried product and only after that it is fired.
For a long time, the only type of brick in the domestic market existed in terms of dimensions. It can still be found on sale today. Standard brick sizes are 250 * 120 * 65 mm. This size is denoted as 1NF and is called a single (KO).
If we talk about other types of brick of domestic production, then the following are distinguished:
- Euro (KE) - has a smaller width compared to a single analogue, so by size type it is 0.7 NF. Its dimensions are 250 * 85 * 65 mm.
- The single modular (KM) has dimensions of 288 * 138 * 65 mm, and its size is indicated as 1.3 NF.
- Thickened brick (KU) is a thicker variety of standard brick, in the product it is 88 mm, size type - 1.4 NF. In addition, there is a modification of thickened bricks with voids of horizontal orientation (KUG).
- Stone (K) - includes several types of bricks, the length of which is 250 or 288 mm, the width varies between 120-288 mm, the height is 88 or 140 mm.
- Large-format stone (KK) also includes several types of products, the minimum width of which is 220 mm, the maximum - 510 mm. The width is represented by 3 options - 180, 250 or 255 mm. Height is from 70 to 219 mm. A kind of large-format stone is an analogue with horizontal voids (KKG).
You can learn about the features of sizes by looking at the accompanying documents of the products. In addition to the indicated ones, it is important to know the decoding of such designations as P - ordinary brick, L - front or front, Po - full-bodied, Pu - hollow.
The standard description of the products looks like this - KOLPo 1 NF / 100 / 2.0 / 50 / GOST 530-2007. At first glance, this is a meaningless set of signs. However, being able to "read" the designations, it is easy to understand that we have a single facade brick with a strength grade of M100, the average density class of the product is 2.0, and frost resistance is 50 freeze / thaw cycles. The product meets a specific GOST.
For imported bricks, other conventions are used, since they have different dimensions. Consider the most popular options:
- WF - in this way bricks are marked in size 210 * 100 * 50 mm;
- OF - products of a slightly larger format - 220 * 105 * 52 mm;
- DF - an even larger type of product with dimensions of 240 * 115 * 52 mm;
- WDF model is characterized by dimensions of 210 * 100 * 65 mm;
- 2-DF is a larger analogue of DF, having dimensions of 240 * 115 * 113 mm.
This is not all the possible dimensions of the finishing material. Moreover, most manufacturers have their own dimensional tables and apply the original marking. Finally, there are hand-molded bricks that do not have standard sizes.
In connection with such a dimensional variety, you should start calculating the required number of bricks and purchasing it only after you have precisely decided on the type of product used and clarified its dimensions from the supplier.
The most widespread for facing was ceramic brick, since it has an optimal price / quality ratio. Consider the most worthy brands of ceramic bricks.
The material of domestic production is a standard front hollow brick imitating the texture of oak bark. Strength indicators - M 150, water resistance indicators average for this type of material - 9%. There are collections that imitate the antique counterpart, as well as bricks with textures “rustic”, “oak bark”, “water surface”. Even within the same batch, the bricks have different shades, which makes Bavarian masonry possible.
Another Russian brand that produces euro-brick with a white rustic texture. These hollow products have increased strength (M175) and slightly lower moisture absorption (6-9%). The advantage is a rather diverse design - “rustic”, “water strokes” and “wave”, “antique brick” and “birch bark”.
The products of Estonian Aseri factory, which is also a hollow ceramic brick, corresponding in size to the euro version. Unlike domestic counterparts, it has a significantly higher strength (M300). Moisture absorption indicators - not more than 9%. This brick looks softer and more airy due to the cream shade.
Finnish red hollow brick, which also has improved strength characteristics (M300) and better moisture absorption (8%). Available in a single version with a smooth surface.
Solid brick of Belgian origin with strength indicators M250 and moisture absorption of 15%. It is issued in gray color, various relief textures are possible.
The second most popular place is occupied by clinker facade brick. Among the most reputable manufacturers, the following should be highlighted.
Domestic companies Ecoclinker and Terbunsky Potter
They produce standard hollow bricks. The strength of the Ecoclinker bricks is M300, which is 2 times more than the strength indicators of the brick of the second manufacturer. Differences in the values of moisture absorption are insignificant (5-6%). Bricks of both brands have the same smooth surface, the differences relate only to color. Ecoclinker products have a pleasant chocolate shade; the Terbunsky Potter bricks are characterized by a beige palette.
Clinker of this domestic manufacturer is presented in Euro size and is a smooth white hollow brick with moisture resistance not more than 6%. It has 2 modifications - products with strength indicators M200 and M300.
German companies Hagemeister and Feldhaus Klinker
The products of these manufacturers are united by equally high strength indicators (M1000). Products of both brands are hollow ceramic bricks with a smooth surface. The moisture absorption of Hagemeister products is 2.9%, Feldhaus Klinker - from 2 to 4%. The color palette of the latter is shades of red, a gray palette is characteristic of Hagemeister bricks.
German brands Janinhoff and ABC
Also combines the similarity of strength characteristics (M400) and moisture absorption (3-4%). The products of both companies are hollow smooth bricks. ABC produces yellow and yellow-coal products, the second producer - red, and brown-red counterparts.
High-quality hyper-pressed brick can be found in the catalogs of the domestic manufacturer Avangard. At the buyer's choice are several collections in which the products vary in color, texture features. As for the dimensions, this is a standard brick, as well as its analogue, which is 2 times smaller in width (i.e. 60 cm). Among the significant characteristics - M250, water absorption of the material - 6.3%.
How to choose?
In addition to bricks, consultants usually offer to buy curly elements for the design of bevels, door and window openings, corners and other architectural elements. Such designs have a figured shape and are much more expensive than brick for exterior decoration.
It makes sense to acquire them if you are supposed to do the facing work yourself, and you do not have professional skills for this. The use of curly elements will greatly facilitate the process.
If the lining will be performed by a professional, then even without the use of curly structures, he will be able to attractively draw corners and other facade elements. This type of work will cost more than a simple bricklaying on a flat surface. However, even in this case, the cost of the master’s work when designing complex elements will be lower in comparison with the cost of buying curly products.
In addition to brick, you should take care of buying a mortar. Today, water-based cement-sand mortar is being used less and less due to a decrease in water absorption by modern bricks.
So, the moisture absorption of clinker can be as little as 3%, so when using a traditional cement mortar, it is simply not possible to achieve high-quality adhesion.
The construction market offers a wide variety of masonry mortars. It is important to choose a composition that matches the type of brick used. VOR fixing mixes are trusted by customers. The range includes mortars for clinker and other types of bricks. Conveniently, these same solutions can also be used for the external decoration of joints.
Solutions from manufacturers usually have a rich color palette. You can choose the option that is as close as possible in color to the shade of bricks or choose a more contrasting combination.
When creating brick facades, the finishing material is usually laid with a spoon. If you put the material with a poke, this significantly increases its consumption.
The buyer does not need to calculate the amount of material, taking into account bonded facing, since bricks are still purchased with a margin of 25-30%. The resulting amount is enough, even if necessary, sometimes put the cladding with a poke.
The number of products directly depends on the area of the facade and the thickness of the seams. The larger the latter, the less brick is needed to finish 1 m2. A joint thickness of 10 mm is considered standard, but this value may vary depending on the characteristics of the brick and the skill of the bricklayer. These virtuosos are able to create masonry with a thickness between bricks of 8 mm.
When calculating the volume of material, it is important to take into account the width of the row. So, when laying in one brick for the decoration of two-story buildings, you may need as much material as on one-story facades when finishing in one and a half or two bricks.
It is possible to achieve the strength, durability and visual attractiveness of a brick facade only when conducting work in strict accordance with existing technologies:
- Brick cladding is always a ventilated facade. As a heater (if necessary) it is better to use "breathing" mineral wool. The use of polyurethane and polystyrene foam sheets is impractical, since in this case their damping cannot be avoided, which means that the materials lose their thermal insulation properties. Their use is permissible only in the absence of a ventilation gap between the facade and walls.
- The use of a moisture-proof vapor-permeable membrane allows to increase the service life of mineral wool insulation.
- Brick cladding, especially a combined facade (when different materials are used for the walls and the front part) requires binding with load-bearing walls. Outdated "grandfather" methods of communication (reinforcement, steel mesh and other improvised materials) usually cause the facade to crack in the bonding area.
It is preferable to use galvanized wire or perforated and flexible stainless steel strips for work, as well as basalt-plastic flexible rods.
- If you need to cut bricks, the only tool that will allow you to make an even cut without damaging the material is a grinder with a blade for cutting dry stone with a diameter of 230 mm.
- Before laying the facade, the load-bearing walls must be cleaned, dried and covered with at least two primer layers, and wooden structures require additional treatment with antiseptics and flame retardants.
- The use of products from several lots will help to avoid the effect of a striped facade, the appearance of which is due to differences in shades of brick. To do this, take 3-5 pallets with bricks from different lots and use them alternately when laying rows.
- When using not special masonry mixtures, but a self-made cement mortar, the bricks are soaked in water for several minutes before laying. This is to prevent moisture from being taken from the solution.
- It is important to carry out vertical ventilation gaps every 3 rows of lining. They are not filled with solution; when it gets there, it is immediately cleaned with a wooden stick. You can make ventilation gaps with the help of plastic boxes. Their width is 10 mm, and the height corresponds to the height of the brick. Their use is much more convenient, especially since the boxes are inexpensive.
- At the bottom of the windows, when facing, at least 2 ventilation gaps should be preserved.
- Brick laying can only be done with positive air temperature in dry weather.
It is important to immediately remove excess solution that has fallen on the front side of the masonry. After completing each row, it is recommended to brush off the drops of the solution from the front side with a brush.
Spectacular examples in the exterior
Brick lining of houses can be performed on the entire surface of the facade or only part of it. Options for combined facades can be represented by a combination of brick and plaster, wood.
Of course, a combination of noble clinker and wood, for example, as in the design of this open veranda, is a win-win.
Beautiful facades are obtained when using brick with a pattern or a combination of monochrome and colorful products (some imported bricks within the same batch have, for example, red and red colorful bricks). As a result, the masonry is voluminous, there is a mosaic effect.
The exteriors of private cottages look exquisitely and stylishly, where the facade elements are continued during the design of neighboring buildings, garden paths, entrance groups.
For houses in the classical style, the combination of stone and brickwork, as well as the use of antique bricks, is relevant.
It is important how the shade of the house will be outside. A combination of two or more shades allows to avoid monotony and give the facade volume. You can call a classic a technique in which brickwork is done in beige shades, and window openings have a darker, contrasting solution.
If desired, you can paint the brick facade, waiting for it to completely dry and treating the surface with a solution of chlorine 10% (to remove traces of the solution on the front of the brick). The selected shade can be any, but the most common - black and white, beige.
The intricacies of choosing a facing brick are described in detail in the video below.