By incorporating textured brickwork into your design, you can create visually appealing and tactile surfaces that add depth and interest to your buildings. 

To successfully specify brickwork that is complex it takes a combination of thoughtful design, careful consideration of material selection, and reviewing possible construction techniques early in the project timeline. 

 In this blog, we’ll explore some areas to consider throughout the process of specifying textured brickwork: 

 

Design Considerations When Specifying Brickwork 

Architectural Style: Ensure the brickwork texture aligns with the overall architectural style of the building (e.g., modern, traditional, industrial). 

Visual Impact: Decide the extent and placement of textured areas (e.g., entire façade, feature walls, accents). 

Pattern and Rhythm: Ensure the texture’s scale complements the building’s size and human interaction.

Repetition and Variation: Use consistent patterns for a uniform look or vary the repetition for a more dynamic appearance. 

Scale and Proportion: Consider the scale of the texture relative to the building size and human interaction. 

 

 

Types of bricks and face texture 

When specifying brickwork to create texture, several factors need to be considered to achieve the desired aesthetic and functional outcomes. These factors include the type of bricks, the bonding pattern, mortar colour and joints, brick finish, and additional design elements.  

Here’s some more detail on specifying brickwork by brick type: 

  • Surface Texture: Smooth, rough, tumbled, or sandblasted finishes each provide different tactile and visual experiences. 
  • Glazed Bricks: These have a shiny, smooth surface that contrasts with standard brick textures. 
  • Size and Shape: Standard bricks, modular bricks, and custom shapes can affect the texture. 
  • Custom Shaped Bricks: Using bricks with custom shapes (e.g., triangular, curved) can introduce unique textures. 
  • Large Format Bricks: Larger bricks can create a different scale and texture compared to standard-sized bricks. 
  • Bespoke shapes: Architects and designers continue to develop new aesthetic brickwork. Brick can be any shape or colour creating endless possibilities for circular, spiral, textures, octagonal builds and landscapes. 

 

      

 

Projections and recesses 

In recent years, projecting brickwork has become popular in the UK. Projecting and recessing brickwork can be modelled beyond the surface face of the wall. Check with manufacturers that the surface brickwork is frost resistant and exposed brick surfaces are safe for use with rain penetration. Some popular types of projecting and recessing brickwork include: 

Corbelling: Bricks are stepped outward from the wall surface to create depth and shadow. 

Reliefs: Incorporating patterns or shapes by recessing or projecting bricks can create a sculptural texture.

Projecting Brickwork: Projecting and recessing brickwork can add depth and visual interest by creating shadows and texture.

Sawtooth and Diagonal Patterns: Bricks are angled or offset to create unique textures and patterns. 

Wavy Patterns: Bricks are laid in a wavy pattern to create a flowing texture. 

Geometric Designs: Using bricks to form geometric shapes like diamonds, hexagons, or chevrons. 

Textural Bands: Alternating bands of different brick bonds or finishes to create horizontal texture layers. 

It is important to consider size tolerances and mortar choice when designing texture into a facade. For example, a projecting header detail only works when the brick has a good tolerance to ensure the pattern is consistent. It also helps to have a contrasting mortar colour if you want to emphasise the individual shapes of the bricks for complex patterns.   

Creating projecting and recessed brickwork on a façade involves careful design, structural planning, material selection and skilled construction techniques. By considering factors such as corbelling, cantilevering, pattern creation, and quality control, you can achieve a visually striking and structurally sound brick façade. 

 

How to specify brickwork

 

Specifying hit and miss brickwork

The effect is used all over the world and can be interesting due to the play with light and texture when dividing space both internally and externally. This brickwork detail is also practical providing ventilation in areas such as gas or bin stores. Although this brickwork design has been used extensively in sunnier climates, most project requirements are unique and therefore need to be explored early in the design process.  

 

Exiting possibilities 

Consider stacking two or three linear bricks to make the effect more dramatic, incorporate projecting headers, lay bricks vertically or use two different brick sizes.  

 

Technical expertise when specifying brickwork 

A consultation is advised for the durability of any brick chosen as most bricks are not tested for exposure on a bed which will be open to the elements with this detail. More durable wirecut bricks will need to be made as solids if you don’t want to see the perforations in the brick. You can choose a waterstruck brick which are solid as standard and have a slightly better water absorption and durability rate than most stock bricks.  

  • A structural engineer should be consulted as reinforcement may be required. A rebar can run vertically through pre-drilled bricks with the holes filled with mortar. Alternatively, there are bespoke structural solutions supplied by some manufacturers.   
  • In general, proceed with caution and engage with this area early due to the potential for purpose made solutions.  

 

 

Brickwork detailing considerations

The allowable overlap will depend on many parameters that dictate the wall’s ability to provide sufficient robustness and bending resistance including: wall thickness, unit size, masonry bond strength, spanning distances and bonding pattern.  

Changing the orientation of bricks or introducing voids in the brickwork can negatively influence the loading capacity. Consult a structural engineer for consideration of both structural and environmental issues as working to whole brick dimensions will avoid cuts. 

 

Artistic and decorative techniques 

  • Brick Murals: Using bricks of different colours and shapes to create pictorial or abstract murals. 
  • Textured Inlays: Incorporating decorative inlays or reliefs within the brickwork for added texture. 
  • Sculptural Areas: Crafting three-dimensional sculptures and artwork directly into the brickwork. Includes bas-reliefs, sculptural elements, and intricate brick carving. 

 

 

Decorative brickwork combines craftsmanship and creativity to transform ordinary brick structures into works of art. By using various patterns, textures, projections, and materials, architects and builders can create unique and visually appealing buildings that stand out and make a lasting impression. 

By carefully considering these factors, you can specify brickwork that not only meets structural requirements but also enhances the visual and tactile qualities of the building. 

If you want to discover the endless possibilities of brick design, then see our inspirations page, where our curated projects showcase how we have brought architectural visions to life with innovative brick solutions. Enhance your understanding of our products by booking a CPD session tailored to your project needs, ensuring you’re equipped with the latest insights and techniques. Contact us today to begin a collaborative journey towards realising your design ambitions with the expertise and quality that defines Creative Brick Solutions.