How do I choose the correct brick bonding pattern?
Bonding is the industry term that’s given to the pattern in which the bricks are laid. Whilst the primary purpose of a bond is to ensure the brickwork is strong and stable, it can also have a dramatic effect on the visual appearance of a wall.
There are a number of ways in which the stretcher (the longer, rectangular face) and the header (the shorter, square face) can be laid, so deciding on a preferred style up front is crucial.
To learn more about the different brick bond patterns, see below.
With the Stretcher bond, courses are laid as stretchers with the joint of one course falling midway between the joints of the courses below. As the outer leaf of a building envelope is now only half a brick thick in modern construction, stretcher bond has become the most popular bond as it is time and cost effective to use.
Popular during the 18th century, the header bond pattern often employed contrasting brick colours to give a decorative effect. This bond uses so many bricks that it is usually reserved for very high-quality buildings. It can also used for radial brickwork, as the header faces can accommodate smaller radii.
Soft mud bricks have a more traditional or reclaimed appearance, offering a softer and warmer brick aesthetic, without compromising on technical performance.
Soft mud brick moulding actually covers a number of manufacturing processes where bricks are formed using mould boxes. Hand-making involves the forming of the clay by hand, coating in sand and throwing into a mould. Machine manufacturing of soft mud bricks follows the processes of hand making, recreating the hand thrown technique by throwing the clay into sanded moulds using belts.
Soft mud bricks are available in a traditional sanded finish or in a handmade/creased texture, featuring a “frog” indentation rather than perforations like extruded bricks. Waterstruck soft mud bricks are made by using water instead of sand to release the clay from the moulds, creating a distinctive textured finish. As with all other manufacturing processes the wet bricks are then dried and fired.
The traditional Flemish brick has alternative stretchers and headers on every course, with the headers centred over the stretchers underneath. From the beginning of the 18th century, the Flemish bond superseded English bond. Flemish bonds can be replicated in the half-brick outer leaf of a cavity wall by using whole bricks as stretchers, while the headers are created by half bricks called bats or snap-headers.
English Garden Wall Bond
The decorative English garden wall bond has three courses of stretchers between every course of headers, often in a different colour. Laying stretchers uses up fewer bricks than laying headers however it is also less strong hence its use in traditional walled gardens and other modest structures.
In vertical or horizontal stack bonds, the bricks do not overlap. As this arrangement is inherently weak, it is typically used as a decorative laying pattern which delivers a striking visual effect. To compensate for the lack of bonding, typically bed-joint reinforcement is built into every third bed-joint.
A wild bond is where the bricks are laid in a seemingly random formation, which delivers a cobbled, authentically traditional appearance.
The direction in which a brick is laid can create interesting patterns and add value to virtually any wall.
There are six traditional ways in which a brick may be laid. These orientations are defined by which side of the brick is outward facing and which is fixed to the existing structure.
Mortar Joint Profiles
Further to bond patterns, mortar joint profiles also provide a number of options that will impact on the overall look of the finished build. It also plays an important role in the weather resistance of brickwork. The choice of joint profile should be based on technical performance requirements as well as appearance.
We would always recommend discussing joint profiles with the architect to get their advice on suitability for the area, the climate and also potential cost variations.