What are Facing Bricks?

Mary McMahon

Facing bricks are bricks which are intended to be visible, and are thus designed with some aesthetic aims in mind so that they are visually interesting and appealing to look at. Many brick manufacturers produce facing bricks, using a variety of techniques, and they are readily available from building and home supply stores. It is also possible to make special orders if a particular color, size, or style is desired.

Face brick is made specifically for exteriors.
Face brick is made specifically for exteriors.

As the name implies, facing bricks are designed to be used as facing, as for example on the exterior of a wall, where the bricks will be seen. These bricks may lack the tensile strength of engineering bricks, which are used for structural brickwork, although bricks for facing can also be used for structural applications in some cases. These bricks are designed to have a neat, even appearance. They also tend to be made from materials which are interesting to look at, since they will comprise the literal face of a building, and will be the first thing people encounter when approaching.

While these bricks can come in classic red, it's also possible to find cream, yellow, and other colors. Some bricks may have inclusions which add visual texture, and the bricks can also be stamped with motifs or designs which are designed to make them more attractive. Facing bricks can be extruded or molded, and in some cases may be made by hand, although handmade brick can be quite expensive.

Sometimes, it is possible to find affordable facing bricks in the form of reclaimed brick. Reclaimed brick is brick which is salvaged from a structure which is destroyed or remodeled. While reclaimed brick is sometimes chipped, scarred, smeared with mortar, or layered in paint, it may be in good condition, in which case it can be used for facing. People may also want to actively cultivate a slightly weathered look, in which case they may prefer to use reclaimed brick for facing because it's already been aged, so to speak.

Some things to think about when selecting brick include the color and size, and what kind of pattern is going to be created with the brickwork. There are a number of different patterns or courses which can be used to lay out brick, and some people mix these up even further with alternating colors and other variations. With an idea of what one wants in mind, it's possible to pick facing brick which will meet the need.

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Discussion Comments


How should European bricks be built-- with the holes horizontal or vertical?


I like the concept of using reclaimed bricks. It's amazing what people can do these days with reused building materials, and often the visual appearance of things made with reclaimed brick is a lot more interesting than things made with "new" bricks.


Facing brick can be more expensive than engineering brick, especially durable kinds, because it is made for appearance as well as strength. It can be less expensive to buy facing which looks like brick, but is not, though often sheet facing is easy to distinguish as not being genuine brick.

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