Check out our frequently asked questions about brick to learn more. Please contact us with any other questions you have to learn more.
Refer to BIA Technical Note 20 for detailed information about cleaning brickwork. While pressurized water has been used successfully to clean brick, it can result in irreparable damage to any brick type if not done correctly and is only appropriate for certain brick types. See Table 1 and the Pressurized Water Cleaning section of BIA Technical Note 20.
Historically, brick colors were limited to earth tones, so similar earth tone colors or those that complement earth tones. Today, brick are available in a wider variety of colors, from deep blacks to trendy grays, whites, and much more.
Most brickwork has a natural finished surface that is vapor permeable and requires minimal maintenance. In general, BIA does not recommend applying traditional paint to brick masonry because of the risk of trapping moisture within the brick layer. Many traditional paints form a film that can seal the surface of the brickwork, which is not desirable. Applying traditional paint on brick masonry requires maintenance and recoating approximately every 3-5 years, like paint applied to the surface of most other materials.
When the opaque, smoother-textured appearance of painted brickwork is desired, BIA recommends applying a mineral-based paint. These paints typically consist of mineral silicates, which chemically bind to the surface of the masonry. The mineral base of the paint allows for vapor permeability which minimizes the risk of trapping moisture within the brick layer. These paints also last longer than traditional paint.
Some brickwork incorporates units with a hard, glossy finish (glazed) which is vapor impermeable. BIA recommends against painting this kind of brickwork. Refer to BIA Technical Note 13 for more information about glazed brick, its installation and maintenance.
Clay brick pavers will never fade in color like concrete pavers do, and are much stronger and more durable than concrete, making them less prone to deterioration. Clay pavers resist salt and freezing more consistently and do not require sealers like concrete units do.
For Industry Professionals:
BIA is proud to offer a variety of technical resources related to clay brick construction, including technical notes, brick briefs, case studies, and more.
Yes! BIA offers online courses and webinars to architects as well as exclusive courses and a Certified Brick Specalist program for members.
Think of who has used brick on key projects: Thomas Jefferson, Henry Hobson Richardson, Daniel Burnham, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Michael Graves and many more. But brick doesn’t have to be on a landmark to show significance. Perhaps you grew up in a town with new brick schools, or a mid-century brick fire station, or lived in a vintage apartment building clad with brick. BIA is proud to offer a number of resources and courses for architects.
BIA offers many resources for builders as well as a dedicated YouTube playlist full of educational information about clay brick. To be successful, builders need to use materials that perform satisfactorily, fit into a cost structure and work within the building schedule. But why use some synthetic exterior cladding to merely meet a minimum standard? If builders want to provide customers with a cladding that has unsurpassed performance and unmatched authenticity and style, then build with brick.
Why do fake brick manufacturers refer to their pavers as “brick” even though they’re not? Because they want designers and everyone else to be confused into thinking that the important thing about pavers is the shape – not the ingredients. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that anything that looks like a brick is brick. To get the rich color and authentic beauty one expects, fired clay pavers are the way to go. Check out our resources for landscape architects!
Brick screen walls are also referred to as perforated brickwork, lattice brickwork, or hit-and-miss brickwork. Unfortunately, we do not have a published resource for the design and analysis of brick screen walls. At this time, the industry is working to develop guides and references to catch up to the increased popularity and expanded use of perforated brick masonry. However, we do have some references and information that may be of use to designers. Contact BIA to speak with an engineer about this topic.
Movement joints in brick are called expansion joints. This is because clay masonry experiences a net overall expansion. BIA refers to these as veneer expansion joints to prevent confusion with building expansion joints. Movement joints in concrete masonry are referred to as control joints because the masonry experiences a net overall shrinkage and the joint “controls” where cracking will occur. Refer to BIA Technical Notes 18 and 18A for more information.
BIA recommends that joints be spaced no more than 20 feet apart when brickwork includes openings, such as windows and doors. When the brickwork does not include openings, joint spacing can be increased to 25 feet. However, there are a variety of other brick masonry features where BIA recommends placing joints. See BIA Technical Note 18A for more information about these additional locations and a recommended procedure for joint layout.
Yes. The 30-foot limit is part of the prescriptive code provisions. Use of the alternative design code provisions allows the brick veneer to be engineered to potentially extend to taller heights. For more information, see the BIA Brick Brief - Brick Veneer Above 30 Feet with Wood Framing.