Brick Basics: How to Choose Bricks
by Carlisle Homes
Interested in understanding bricks? Here’s everything you need to know.
Durable, energy-efficient, and made to last – there are many good reasons to build with brick. They look great too. Thanks to advances in technology, bricks now come in a vast range of colours and finishes, making it easy to create a stunning exterior.
Wondering how to choose brick for your new house? At Carlisle, we offer a wide selection of bricks from three of the best suppliers in the business – Austral Bricks, PGH Bricks & Pavers and Daniel Robertson Bricks. Here’s everything you need to know about this trusted building material, plus tips on how to choose a brick colour for your house, and size and texture options.
Why build with brick?
Brick is a timeless and affordable building material loved by homeowners and designers for its:
Energy efficiency: Bricks have a high thermal mass, which means your home stays naturally cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Easy maintenance: Bricks do not need to be painted, coated, or varnished to maintain their good looks.
Weather resistance: Brick is completely weatherproof and can stand up to even the toughest weather extremes, such as storms. It’s also pest-resistant and naturally fire-retardant (ideal for homes in bushfire-prone areas).
Safety and sustainability: Bricks are made from shale and clay, which are naturally abundant materials, so they are kind to the environment. Bricks can also be recycled.
Where to use brick
While exterior walls are the obvious place to use bricks, that’s far from your only option. You can use bricks to create a feature around an indoor or outdoor fireplace, a perforated brick screen, or a front path. You’ll find that running brick from inside out is a great way to create a natural sense of flow between the interior and exterior of your home.
How to choose brick
Consider the style of your house
The brick colour, shape, size, and texture you choose will impact the look and feel of your home. Take your cues from the style of your home and the aesthetic you wish to create. Also factor in the colours of finishes of other elements on your façade, be it timber or stone.
Not quite sure what your brick style is? Pay a visit to our display homes across Melbourne and see different brick exteriors up close. You may also find it useful to gather ideas from the internet and magazines.
When it comes to choosing a brick colour for your new home, it’s good to know there are myriad hues available. For a timeless look, consider classic red, terracotta or straw (which come as standard options for your new Carlisle home).
Or, create a more contemporary look by upgrading to bricks in pale grey, deep blue-grey, or charcoal.
If you’d prefer a more characterful aesthetic, and you’re wondering what colour bricks to choose, check out the other great upgrade options at Carlisle. You can take your pick from bricks in varying tones of grey, terracotta or brown, and weathered or recycled bricks, all of which are guaranteed to give your home wow factor.
As a design element, the texture of brick is just as important as the colour. Choose from bricks with a smooth, glazed finish; ones with tumbled edges for an earthy organic feel; or add luxury with metallic-finish bricks – all of which you can upgrade to with your new Carlisle home.
The most common brick size for exterior walls is 230mm long x 110mm wide x 76 high. But there are other sizes to choose from too, including split bricks (230mm x 120mm x 50mm); linear bricks (230mm x 90mm x 50mm); double height bricks (230mm x 110mm x 162mm); and one and a half bricks (230mm x 110mm x 119mm).
Consider your location
Where you live will determine the type of bricks you need. If you’re in a coastal area or have high-saline soil, consider choosing exposure-grade (EXP) bricks, which have superior resistance to salt attacks. According to PGH Bricks, EXP bricks are ideal for homes up to one kilometre from a surf coast or 100 metres from a non-surf coast. General-purpose (GP) grade bricks are suited to homes in all other locations.
Choose a mortar colour & finish
Don’t forget the details! Mortar is the material that binds bricks together, and the colour and finish you choose will impact the finished look of your home.
The most common colours for mortar are off-white, grey, and stone. But you can also have mortar custom-coloured to match your brickwork. A contrasting mortar – for example, pale mortar between dark bricks – will create a striking contrast, and highlight the shape of each individual brick. This is particularly striking when the mortar complements the colour of your render. Meanwhile, a mortar colour that matches your bricks will soften and unify your brickwork.
Also consider the mortar joint finish. The main options are rolled, racked, flush, and struck joints. A rolled joint, which is designed to keep water and moisture out of your brickwork, is the type you’ll most commonly see in Australia. A raked joint, which recedes slightly from the brick face to create an eye-catching shadow effect, makes more of a statement. A flush joint, which runs flush with the brick face, minimises shadowing and creates a flat look.
Brick pattern, or the way the bricks are laid, is another important consideration when designing your exterior.
For your new Carlisle home, you can select a classic brickbond pattern (also known as stretcher bond), where the bricks are offset by half a brick from one row to another. Or opt for a more contemporary horizontal bond pattern (also known as stack bond), where the bricks are laid one on top of the other, resulting in a grid-like effect.
Get the foundations right, and see your dream home come together!