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How Bricks Are Made

Ever wondered how exactly bricks are made? From ingredients to color, mason Mark McCullough explains how bricks are made and what makes them unique.

When looking for a brick for a masonry project, bricklayers have a lot of choices. Between colors, textures, and shapes, brickyards can consist of twenty different types of bricks.

What is Brick Made of?

Regardless of the type of brick chosen, the main ingredient is clay. Clay is unique to the area from which it comes, causing bricks from different regions to consist of different colors.

Bricks made in the southeast tend to use red clay, causing the bricks to be a very prominent shade of red. Bricks further west, such as the Milwaukee area, use yellow clay, creating the lighter yellow and beige-colored brick buildings prevalent. Bricks from the northeast tend to be reddish-brown.

Bricks Come in Different Textures

Manufacturers use molds to create bricks, and the consistency and texture depend on the mold. Many brick molds aren’t square, intentionally generating bricks with rounded ends, tumbled profiles, and less consistent dimensions. Other molds, such as those made from metal forms, produce perfectly consistent bricks with sharp corners.

Masonry and Bricks Have Evolved Over Time

Brickwork used to be all about creating a strong structural envelope. But today’s brick buildings are more about the atmosphere, energy efficiency, and technology, turning bricks into an accent piece. And, with so many types of brick available and other materials to mix them with, the possibilities are endless.

Imperfect Bricks Inspire Artistry

Molded bricks are often purposely inconsistent to create a specific timeless look. Unlike other building materials, many masons prefer these inconsistencies as they allow for creativity and artistry. This requires the mason’s talents to take over to create flat, square, plumb, and consistent surfaces.

Resources

Mark explains that he loves a variety of bricks for different functions and purposes, and they’re sourced naturally from all different parts of the country and the world. When looking for bricks, a brickyard or a stone masonry yard is the best place to look.

The Spaulding Brick Company provided expert assistance with this segment.