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Bricklaying Jargon

See below for our simple Bricklaying Jargon buster of some of the most common terms used in Bricklaying - by bricklayers and builders.

Bagged joints Bats Blocks
Bonding Brick Bucket Handle
Cavity Damp Efflorescence
Fair faced Flemish Gauged Mortar
Hand Mades Header Lintel
Muck Perps Pug
Quoins Rubbers Sand-Limes
Stocks Stretcher Struck Joint
Ties Wire Cuts  

A flat mortar joint finish often lightly wiped over with sacking. This should not be used to achieve a neat decorative finish.
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Broken bricks or purpose cut bricks, which are used to fill in.
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Light or dense concrete blocks are generally used in masonry that is hidden such as within the inner skin of cavity work. They may, however, be used 'architecturally' in public buildings. Blocks most often measure 440 x 215mm, which is equivalent to 6 standard bricks. Lightweight blocks have insulation properties and are often made from aerated concrete where pulverised fuel ash is the aggregate. These are usually referred to as breeze blocks and common trade names include Theralite and Celcon. Harder concrete blocks may have hollow centres which can be filled with foam insulation. Very dense concrete is used in heavy load bearing blocks, which can be up to 225mm thick. These can be quite heavy to lift and require care when laying to avoid squeezing out the mortar.
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The general term given to the pattern of bricks laid or the method used to join new walls.
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A standard brick will measure (mm) 215(length) x 102(width) x 65 (height). Builders will always request to see designs in brickwork sizes to avoid part cuts.
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A shallow, rounded and inwards mortar joint finish used for bricks and blocks, so named as it was originally created from the shape of an old bucket handle.
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The outer brickwork is in place to keep out the weather and usually has no structural implications. The inner blockwork carries the floor and roof loads. The gap between prevents damp crossing. It is important to maintain a cavity that is clear and unbridged.
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The short name for a damp proof course originally made from slate, lead or bitumen treated hessian. This was prone to melting in warm weather and has now been replaced with high performance plastic. The damp proof course may be inserted in brickwork to stop damp rising or sinking. If at high level, the latter is usually accompanied by a flashing. In garden walls, the damp course is located beneath the top of the wall, often as a tile, to prevent the wall becoming saturated and damaged by frost. In house walls, the damp proof course is usually placed 150mm above ground level. This distance must be maintained to avoid damp being transferred through rain splashing.
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Natural salts, which occur in the material used to construct bricks, will sometimes be washed out by rain and appear as white stains. Although this is of no consequence to the wall's integrity, it is always disappointing and unsightly. Before choosing any brick, take care to find out if this is a feature of the brick and look at examples that have been in place for between 2 and 5 years.
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The out facing side of brickwork that will be on show and will consequently need to be built neatly.
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A brickwork bond where the stretcher face is alternated with the header face on the first line and on the course above, the header is positioned over the centre of the stretcher face below, so that the courses alternate.
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Mortar produced from sand and cement mixed with lime to produce a lower strength, more workable mix. This is well suited to softer bricks and useful where minor movements in walls may show up as cracked bricks if a hard mortar is used.
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Bench made stock bricks, where the soft clay from south-eastern England is thrown into the pre-sanded mould by hand. The finished effect will be horizontal ripples, most often mid-to-dark red with blue markings.
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The end of a brick. If laid together, this would be referred to as a header course.
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A concrete or steel beam positioned over doors or other openings to support the bricks/blocks above.
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Nickname for mortar.
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Perpendicular ends to bricks. If you look at the outside of a completed wall, the line and verticality of the perps is a good indication of the quality of bricklaying.
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Nickname for mortar.
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Right angle corners of brickwork that are built up at the start of the job to form the brick lines and courses. Less experienced bricklayers will sometimes fill-in between the quoins.
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Soft red bricks that can easily be cut to shape, such as within an arch. These bricks should always be used with a soft lime mortar.
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Calcium silicate bricks which are almost white in colour. Trouble may be experienced with spalling (the breaking up of the face of bricks), particularly if exposed to salt or frost.
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Bricks made in a mould either by hand or machine. The bricks are soft and mostly used in face work. The hand made bricks usually have a rippled appearance. Stocks usually have a frog, which is the indent on one long side. 'Frog up' is the normal method of laying. The Romans brought the stock brick to England.
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The long face of a brick. Stretcher bond is the most common bonding where each brick is laid length ways in the wall, with the joint of the course above in the centre of the stretcher face.
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A mortar joint usually on brickwork, requiring a good level of skill to achieve neatly. The mortar is ruled smooth with a small trowel so that the top is slightly in from the brick face and the bottom is flush with the brick face. Sometimes this is reversed but, in doing so, water may be trapped on the small ledge formed. This joint attracts shadow lines and can look the neatest.
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A steel, galvanised or better stainless, link between inner and out skins (see cavity).
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This is an extruded brick of modern style with a slightly dragged appearance, which is chopped to size with wire. Instead of frogs, wire cut bricks tend to be perforated on the mortar faces.
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