2 December 2021

Brick Basics: How to Choose Bricks

by Carlisle Homes

Interested in understanding bricks? Here’s everything you need to know.

Durable, energy-efficient and made to last – there are many good reasons to build with brick. They look great too; thanks to advances in technology, bricks now come in a vast range of colours and finishes, making it easy to create a stunning exterior for your home.

Interested in building with brick? At Carlisle, we offer a huge selection of bricks from two of the best suppliers in the business – Austral Bricks and PGH Bricks & Pavers. Here’s everything you need to know about this trusted building material, plus tips on how to choose well.

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Create a stunning feature wall inside your home – choose from a huge range of bricks offered by Austral Bricks and PGH Bricks & Pavers. Featured here: Canterbury Grand Deluxe, Aurora Estate, Clyde.

Why Build With Brick
Brick is a timeless and affordable building material loved by homeowners and designers for its:

Energy efficiency: Bricks have a high thermal mass, which means your home stays naturally cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Easy maintenance: Bricks do not need to be painted, coated or varnished to maintain their good looks.

Weather resistance: Brick is completely weather-proof and can stand up to even the toughest weather extremes, such as storms. It’s also pest-resistant and naturally fire-retardant (ideal for homes in bushfire-prone areas).

Safety and sustainability: Bricks are made from shale and clay, which are naturally abundant materials, so they are kind to the environment. They can also be recycled.

Where to use brick
Brick is for more than just exterior walls. Use it as a feature around an indoor or outdoor fireplace, perforated brick screen, or use as a front path or paving material. You’ll find that running a material such as brick from inside to outside of your home is a great way to create a sense of cohesion.

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Bricks are affordable, energy efficient, maintainable, weather resistant, and sustainable making it easy to see why so many homeowners and designers love them. Featured here: Matisse, Orana Estate, Clyde North.

How to Choose Well 

Consider the style of your house
The brick colour, shape, size and texture you choose will impact the look and feel of your home. Take your cues from the style of your home and the aesthetic you wish to create. Also factor in the colours of finishes of any other elements on your facade.

Not quite sure what your brick style is? Take a visit to our display homes and see different brick exteriors up close. You may also find it useful to gather ideas from the internet and magazines of different brick exteriors you’re drawn to. 

Bricks today come in myriad colours. For a timeless look, consider classic favourites, such as red, terracotta or straw bricks (which come as standard options for your new Carlisle home). 

Or, for a bold look to a more contemporary abode, consider upgrading to bricks in pale grey, deep blue-grey or charcoal.

To give your home a characterful feel – a concept that’s very on-trend right now – you may wish to upgrade to bricks with varying tones of grey, terracotta or brown; weathered or recycled bricks.

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Tailor the aesthetic you want your home to exude by deciding on the perfect brick from the wide range offered by Carlisle Homes. Featured here: Granada Grand, Jubilee Estate, Wyndham Vale.

As a design element, texture is just as important as colour. Choose from bricks with a smooth, glazed finish; ones with tumbled edges for a more organic feel; or metallic-finish bricks for real wow factor. 

The most common brick size for exterior walls is 230mm long x 110mm wide x 76 high. But there are other sizes to choose from too, including split bricks (230mm x 120mm x 50mm); linear bricks (230mm x 90mm x 50mm); double height bricks (230mm x 110mm x 162mm); and one and a half bricks (230mm x 110mm x 119mm).

Consider your location
Where you live will determine the type of bricks you need. If you’re in a coastal area or have high-saline soil, consider choosing exposure-grade (EXP) bricks, which have superior resistance to salt attacks. According to PGH Bricks, EXP bricks are ideal for homes up to one kilometre from a surf coast or 100 metres from a non-surf coast.

General-purpose (GP) grade bricks are suited to homes in all other locations.

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Contrasting the colour of the mortar from your chosen colour of bricks accentuates the shape and layout patterning. Featured here: Renwick, Kaduna Park Estate, Officer South.


Choose a mortar colour & finish
Don’t forget the details: Mortar is the material that binds bricks together, and the colour and finish you choose will affect the look of your home.

The most common mortar colours are off-white, grey and stone. You can also have mortar custom-coloured to match your brickwork. A contrasting mortar – for example, pale mortar between dark bricks – will create a striking contrast and highlight the shape of each individual brick. This is particularly striking when the mortar compliments any render you may have selected. Whilst a mortar colour that matches your bricks will soften and unify your brickwork.

Also consider the mortar joint finish. The main options are round ironed, flush, raked or struck joints. A raked joint that recedes slightly from the brick face will create an interesting shadow effect, while a flush joint, which runs flush with the brick face, will minimise shadowing and create a flat look.

Layout options
Brick pattern, or the way the bricks are laid, is another important consideration when designing your exterior.

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For your new Carlisle home, you can select a classic brickbond pattern (also known as stretcher bond), where the bricks are offset by half a brick from one row to another. Or opt for a more contemporary horizontal bond pattern (also known as stack bond) where the bricks are laid one on top of the other, resulting in a grid-like effect.

We’re open again! Come along and visit one of our many display homes across Melbourne and see the beauty of a brick home up close.

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