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What Is a Flemish Bond?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2014
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A Flemish bond is a bricklaying pattern which is highly ornamental in nature, making it popular for courses of brick which will be visible. Flemish bond was widely used for residences historically, before bricks were replaced with other building materials, and in region where brick is still used, it continues to be popular. It can be used for structural walls in a home as well as garden walls and partitions. Like other types of brickwork, it can be worked in contrasting colors, if desired, to create more visual interest.

Before describing Flemish bond, it may help to provide information about two terms used in bricklaying: headers and stretchers. Headers are bricks oriented with the short side facing out, while stretchers are oriented with the long side facing out. Understanding the distinction between the two can help people visualize how Flemish bond looks. There are also numerous illustrations which can be found through the image search functions on many search engines, for those who are more visually inclined.

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In Flemish bond, a course which alternates headers and stretchers is laid. Then, a course is laid on top, with the headers in the previous course being centered under the stretchers in the new course. The course laid over this one is oriented like the first course, and so on, creating a complex alternating pattern with the long and short sides of the brick. To bring more contrast to the pattern, sometimes the headers are made from different colored brick or brick which has been treated to darken it so that the headers will stand out.

Various masonry techniques can be used at the corner and edges to create a smooth transition. In cases where only one wall is going to be visible, it is not uncommon to only use Flemish bond on the visible parts, and to use an easier technique on the walls which cannot be seen to make the construction go faster and to avoid having to fiddle with the masonry at the corners.

Flemish bond brickwork, also known as Dutch bond brickwork, has long been prized as aesthetically pleasing and visually interesting. Creative masons may alternate courses of brick even further, with a block of Flemish bond up to a certain height, followed by courses laid out in other patterns. Because this design is popular, false brickwork made from materials other than brick such as vinyl and laminate may be produced in a Dutch bond pattern.

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gravois
Post 3

I am really curious about that name. Has anyone been to Flanders or to Holland? Is this type of brick pattern extremely common over there? It is so rare that you hear about Flemish anything

Ivan83
Post 2

I have been doing brick work for a number of years and I can remember a job that I did about a decade ago where a client wanted a Flemish bond everywhere, even in areas where it would be completely invisible.

I informed them that the Flemish bond brick patter was very labor intensive and using it unnecessarily would increase the time and money it took to finish the job. Still, they insisted. This is just the way that some people think. They want the best even in places where it will not matter at all. I guess if you have that much money you have to spend it on something.

nextcorrea
Post 1

The facade of my house is constructed in a Flemish bond style. It was the first thing my wife and I noticed when we went to look at the house. It really is stunning. It is one of those looks that is both beautiful and revealing of all the time and effort that went into its construction. We still get lots of compliments from friends and family when they see our beautiful house after a long absence. I'm hoping that when we go to sell it the novelty of the Flemish bond will boost the price.

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