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  • Lisa Gardener

Period Bricks - Could these traditional building elements work for your home project?

Here are some tips for using period brickwork

Q Are heritage bricks only suitable for use on period properties?

Traditional bricks aren't just for old buildings. An existing structure will naturally have its own surroundings and context, so perhaps only a narrow range or maybe just one brick type will look right. But for a new build, there's a vast palette available and you can even create your own unique blend of size, colour, texture and bond pattern. Often, working in collaboration with your designer, an expert could visit your property or plot to see what the surroundings are, and then create a bespoke blend unique to your project.

Q How can bricks be used to enhance the aesthetic of a home?

There is a variety of ways! In many contemporary builds, brickwork is combined with modern materials, which offers a contrast between rustic units and smooth and shiny new elements, which looks really effective.

You should also consider different bond options - you get more interest when you use both the header and the stretcher because you can mix things up. Due to different manufacturing techniques, the individual sides of the brick will look distinct, so if you build a wall that uses all of the surfaces available you'll get far more variety.

Q How can period bricks create a striking focal feature?

The eye is naturally drawn to interesting locations in the home, like a fireplace. These can be enhanced by using decorative bricks; look into the various bonding patterns, like hit-and-miss brickwork, where you have holes in the wall and can look through it. You can use a contrasting unit to create arches, too, just be imaginative!

Q What key practical considerations should be made when choosing bricks?

Ensure the detailing does not allow the brickwork to stay saturated with water. This is typically an issue with bricks made abroad, which are crafted to different standards. They endure three or four cold and wet British winters, and all the faces start falling off - Iv'e known people to have to take buildings down and rebuild.

Another point people may not think of is how many sides of the brick has a usable face. It may only be one, but it could be up to six, which allows for more design features, and less wastage.

Q What should people budget for when looking into heritage bricks?

An attractive machine-made brick can be bought for 50p. A handmade unit with an unusual size and colour might be £1.50. For unique shapes, sizes and mixtures, the price is higher, but these can make projects more attractive.


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