Brick is a masonry unit made of clay which is formed into shape while plastic and dried in a kiln. The standard nominal brick size is 8″ x 2-2/3″ x 4″. Face brick is made of certain clays and is treated to produce a desired color and surface texture. A common brick is for general building purposes and not typically treated for color and texture. Bricks are graded by their durability when exposed to weathering based on regional US standards of ‘Severe’, ‘Moderate’, and ‘Negligible’. They are also graded by compressive strength, water absorption, and maximum saturation coefficient:
SW brick can be exposed to severe weather regions, ground/moisture contact and has a minimum compressive strength of 2,500psi.
MW brick can be exposed to moderate weather regions, ground/moisture contact, and has a minimum compressive strength of 2,200psi.
NW brick can be exposed to negligible weathering or as use as an interior brick with a minimum compressive strength of 1,250psi.
Bricks are also grouped by type based on the allowed size variation, color, chippage, and distortion allowed.
FBX is face brick used where a minimimum variation requirement for size, color, and mechanical perfection is desired.
FBS is similar to FBX but with a reduced minimum variation requirement than FBX brick.
FBA brick is used where a wide variation in size, color, and texture is desired.
From an estimating standpoint a running bond pattern on 100 square foot of wall will require 675/ea bricks. For a 3/8″ Joint, 10.3 cubic foot of mortar will be required for every 100/ea brick. Brick is commonly sold by the 1,000 units.
Labor costs will be affected by lengths of straight walls, jogs in the wall, windows, doors, piers, pilasters, lintels, reinforcing, weep holes, etc. Openings can add up to 50% labor time based on the area of the opening. When maximizing bricklaying productivity, make sure there is adequate materials to eliminate waiting and place the best bricklayers at corners and openings. It’s important to use only screened sand for mortar to avoid wasting time picking out pebbles. Locate the brick stack and the mortar in a location easy for access and bringing materials back and forth. It is common to expect 25% waste in terms of mortar and 3% waste in bricks for cutting and breakage.