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Many people are intimidated about laying their own brick. However, with the right knowledge, you can learn to complete great projects. Bricks have been a part of building for thousands of years and while they were first made from clay, today, the materials have been improved upon to include ceramic and silica. Other versions now include clay, sand, and water, which are all heated to produce the hardness needed for building.

The great thing about bricks is that they work to help insulate a home and, they are weatherproof. They can withstand the harshest heat and cold, wind, rain, and they do not fade. Additionally, the options for bricks today include wonderful colors, shapes, and sizes. This means that regardless of your project, you can choose something unique to make a statement or stick with a more traditional brick. The following are the various types of bricks available:
  • Building � Also called Structural bricks, these are the type used for construction. Typically, these bricks have two or three holes, which work to reduce weight load and cut down on cost of material.

  • Face � This type of brick is solid and come in a number of great colors, shapes, and sizes

  • Firebrick � The nice thing about this type of brick is that they are heat resistant and used for anything heat-sensitive such as a fireplace.

  • Pavers � The paver brick is what you use for edging, patios, and sidewalks

  • Antique/Tumbled � If you want to create something with an antique look, this would be the type of brick to choose
Bricks also come in varying grades. For example, the Grade SW stands for Severe Weathering, which can handle freeze and thaw cycles found in many regions. The Grade MW stands for Moderate Weathering, which can handle temperatures of frost to freezing. This grade is what you will find in many outdoor walls. Finally, the last grade is No Weathering, which is not intended for outdoor use, just indoor construction.

Laying brick is actually easier than you might think. The key to a successful brick-laying job is to take your time. Remember, just like anything new, all you need is a little practice and understanding of load-bearing aspects. If you need to change the size of shape of a brick, you can use a special chisel and hammer. Another option is to use a circular saw or a brick saw that has a diamond blade.

When buying brick, you can estimate how much you will need by following these guidelines:

For each square foot, you will need five standard size bricks. For a wall, you should expect that you would need seven per square foot. If you buy per pallet, there should be 516 bricks and for pavers, 896. The main thing is to remember that if you are just starting out, you will make mistakes but do not stress in that mistakes can be corrected. Most home improvement and hardware stores sell helpful books that provide step-by-step diagrams to help you complete your project.
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