I have just finished building and my clay brickwork is covered with a white deposit. What is it and how can I get rid of it?

Your brickwork is showing signs of efflorescence. This is a deposit of crystallized salts which may appear on the brickwork as it dries out. There is no cause for alarm. The deposit will probably wash off in the first shower of rain. If not, it can be removed with a firm bristle brush. There is absolutely no need to use chemicals, acids or any other proprietary treatment to solve this problem.

I am going to use clay face bricks for the first time. I’ve seen walls on face brick buildings that look patchy because the bricks are slightly different colours. How can I avoid this?

Clay face bricks are a natural product so slight colour variations are to be expected. It is however not desirable to have a few dark bricks on an otherwise light shaded wall. This gives the patchy effect that you mention. The solution is simple. Always have at least two packs of bricks on site and draw from each pack as you work. This is known as on-site blending and will ensure that you achieve an overall evenness of shade and tone. Never build from one pack of bricks at a time.

I built my house with clay face bricks and the walls have started to leak. What‘s wrong with the bricks?

It is extremely rare to find brick walls that leak due to a fault in the brick. Damp is usually the result of poor construction techniques, inadequate window and sill detailing, lack of proper damp proof coursing and /or cracked walls. Buildings must be properly constructed with appropriate damp coursing, cavity walls where appropriate and suitable roof overhangs in order to avoid water ingress. NB: A cracked exterior face brick wall will not lead to water penetration if correct waterproofing techniques have been followed.

How strong will my clay brick building be?

Generally speaking, loads imposed on brickwork are very small in comparison with the load which the brickwork carries. Brickwork is strong under compression, so the greater the load imposed on the brickwork, the more stable it becomes. When building boundary walls and other free-standing brick structure make sure that you provide appropriate foundations and reinforcing.

How can I clean brickwork?

During construction, protect the brickwork from cement smear, paint and other substances. Once finished, buildings constructed from clay bricks, clay face bricks, and clay roofing tiles require little or no maintenance. We do not recommend the application of unnecessary and costly sealants on our products.

I would like to use clay bricks (or specifically, clay face bricks) but I think they may be too expensive.

Because brickwork is the largest visible component of a building, the perception exists that the major cost of a building must be the brickwork. However, this is not the case. They are in fact extremely cost effective. The cost of clay plaster bricks and clay face bricks for an average house is between 6% and 8% of the total building costs. The cost of clay face bricks and plaster bricks for a non-residential building (factory or office block) is approx 2% - 3% of the total building costs. In the case of clay face brick building, once the plaster and paint component is added to the building process and the long term maintenance cost of repainting and replastering is added to the life of the building, clay face brick is a clear cost winner.

How many bricks, how much cement, and how much rock sand will I need for my project?

To lay 1 000 bricks in a Class II mortar (1:6 mix) will require 0,5m³ rock sand and 2,5 x 50kg bags of cement.