Brick engraving is the process of engraving letters and designs onto the surface of a brick. The brick is engraved by sandblasting, hand-engraving or machine-etching, and the void left in the surface of the brick can be filled with a resin product or left empty. The primary use of brick engraving is seen in fundraising as well as ornamental decoration. Most companies that provide brick engraving are able to also provide the brick, however, the customers are also welcome to provide the bricks in most instances. The process of brick engraving can also be applied to granite, concrete pavers and limestone, with the smoothest surface typically providing the best results.
Seen most often in fund-raising events or memorial walkways, brick engraving provides a form of long-lasting tribute by placing a donor's name on the surface of a brick. Most fund-raising events provide different levels of donor engraving, with the differing levels represented through the use of differently-colored or alternately-sized bricks or stones. Some of the larger, corporate-type donors routinely use several bricks to display the corporation's logo along with individual bricks depicting company officers or independent sponsors. Custom brick engraving can be used to produce walkways, parking lots and commemorative walls.
Sandblasting is the most common method of modern brick engraving, and it allows an engraver to produce far more engraved bricks in a work period than hand-engraving. The letters or designs engraved into the brick's surface are often filled with a colored or clear resin to prevent the letter openings from filling with dirt over time. The resin also strengthens the brick and prevents the edges of the engraved openings from chipping away under the load of foot or vehicle traffic. Occasionally, bricks that are destined to remain in light traffic areas or those that are being placed on a wall will remain unfilled. Depending on the brick engraver, these bricks may also be less expensive when not filled or sealed.
Prior to sandblasting, engravers used hand tools to create the void in the face of a brick. Using a hammer and small chisel, the engraving professional would often work hours on a single brick, making the art of engraving very expensive. Today, computer-assisted sandblasting equipment can allow a single engraver to complete hundreds of brick engravings in a single work shift. This technology is responsible for making the fundraising efforts profitable and the finished engraving durable and long-lasting.