Brick Bonds and Texture Detailing

Bricks are normally chosen on texture and colour. The UK is particularly suited to bricks as the strong permanent colours contrast with the muted soft tones of daylight which occur for much of the year. Increasingly designer bricks as available in the Bespoke Brick range are also being used in texture patterning. This can take many forms. The most obvious is for the designer to use different brick bonds.


Most buildings are built in single skin 102mm stretcher bond with bricks arranged in a half lap bond vertically, joints are offset by ½ a brick. The bonded brickwork spreads load and ensures the wall is stable. ¼ bonding of bricks is normally accepted as the minimum requirement, the stretcher bond gives a ½ bond.

Bed Joint Reinforcement (BJR) has made it possible for bricks to be built stack bonded with straight joints. BJR is introduced in continuous strips every 225mm horizontally. The wall is then stable providing other structural concerns are addressed.

Flemish Bond is often considered the most attractive of bonds. The normal single outer skin of 102 mm brickwork has alternate headers and stretchers. The half brick is called a snapped header. Bespoke Brick can arrange for snapped headers to be pre-cut from whole bricks and delivered to site. A Queen Closer or ¼ brick is required to put the brick on the correct bond.

English Bond was the preferred bond of the Victorians and when used with a full brick, 215mm wide, is the strongest bond. Again a copy of a full brick wall can be achieved with a half brick or snapped header.

Linear bricks are now available which come in a variety of sizes but are longer and thinner than standard bricks. Some authorities believe because the shear force is increased BJR should be used every 3rd bed-joint in the façade.

There are many other bonds which can be used including running bond, monk bond and diaper bond, in fact, as many as 60 different bonds are possible. Herringbone brickwork, in either prefabricated or solid brickwork form, and vertical brickwork are also possible with BJR.

Increasingly prefabrication has become part of brickwork design. This option can now be taken with a number of sophisticated solutions. These include the following options which are normally mortared up to match with standard brickwork.

  • Brick slips bonded on blockwork, the blocks subsequently built in.
  • Bricks cut with a rear tongue, set into panels with RC.
  • Slips glued to fibreglass panels which interlock are often used for soffits.
  • Stainless steel panels, holed to take adhesive securing slips.

A simple transformation for brickwork is altering the mortar or even the pointing. With a standard wall, mortar covers around 17% of the surface. Tinted, or mortar with the sand altered to tone with the brickwork, can have a large visual impact. The pointing can also have a huge difference. More obviously there is an increased interest in blending different bricks which can give a vibrant and interesting façade.

As it is hard to determine the pointing and mortar colour in isolation it is advisable for the designer to develop his ideas on the reference panel and adjust as required.

All construction must conform to the appropriate standards and codes and be reviewed by a competent professional.

Brick Education Brick Bonds & Texture Detailing - Stretcher Bond

Stretcher Bond

Brick Education Brick Bonds & Texture Detailing - Header BondHeader Bond

Brick Education Brick Bonds & Texture Detailing - Stack BondStack Bond

Brick Education Brick Bonds & Texture Detailing - Flemish BondFlemish Bond

Brick Education Brick Bonds & Texture Detailing - English BondEnglish Bond

Brick Education Brick Bonds & Texture Detailing - Hit & Miss BondHit and Miss


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Brick Education notes provided by Simon Hay, Chartered Architect, Building Expertise Ltd.