Choos­ing ex­te­rior bricks

Make the right choice for the out­side for a life­time of com­fort and style

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - ADVICE - Words Robyn Wil­lis More Brick­works, brick­

In­side out

Brick­works is the big­gest sup­plier of bricks in the coun­try and is the name be­hind com­pa­nies such as Aus­tral Bricks and Bowral Bricks.

Gen­eral man­ager, mar­ket­ing for Brick­works, (pic­tured), says it’s too easy to skipp over how the ex­te­rior of your home will look.

“Most peo­ple when they think about the ma­te­ri­als for their house, their thoughts quickly turn to the in­side, like the bath­room tiles or the kitchen bench­top,” he says. “But when they get to us they re­alise how im­por­tant the out­side ma­te­ri­als are.”

With a greater num­ber of bricks to choose from than ever be­fore, his com­pany now runs one-on-one ap­point­ments to run peo­ple build­ing a new home through how their bricks, roof tiles and even the garage door will look to­gether.

“We get a lot of feed­back and we’ve found peo­ple are very happy with the process,” Brett says. “It’s a de­ci­sion of a life­time but you don’t re­alise how much de­tail there is in­volved.”

Turn on the lights

While darker colours such as choco­late brown have dom­i­nated for the past decade, Brett says bricks are tak­ing a lighter turn now.

“White bricks are very pop­u­lar and there’s a gen­eral trend to­wards neu­tral colours,” he says. “We were do­ing a lot of darker colours but now we’re now see­ing a shift to lighter greys. Peo­ple are look­ing for a lighter and brighter feel — but there’s still a lot of use of dark colours.” For those look­ing for a con­tem­po­rary fin­ish, or just will­ing to ex­per­i­ment, Brett says there are plenty of op­tions from gloss and semi gloss fin­ishes, slim­line bricks and, fresh from a bou­tique brick­maker in Venice, Italy, Re­claimed and Smoked bricks. While prices vary widely, Brett says you can still use the more ex­pen­sive op­tions as a fea­ture wall. If you are build­ing with a dis­play builder, check what your brick op­tions are, which will de­pend on your pack­age. Your choice of mor­tar will also im­pact on the ov over­all look of your ex­te­rior walls. “The colour of the mor­tar can m make a huge dif­fer­ence but the cost to the con­sumer (to change it) is not sig­nif­i­cant,” Brett says. Off white or light grey is stan­dard but, again, it’s worth ex­plor­ing the op­tions. Then there’s the style of mo mor­tar lay­ing to con­sider. “A fl flush join or a raked join are the op­tions,” Brett says. “A raked join will cre­ate more shadow lines when the sun hits it. The more pop­u­lar choice at the mo­ment is flush.”

Best laid plans

How your bricks are laid will also set the style for your home. While many go with the tra­di­tional stretcher bond pat­tern, Brett says there are so many op­tions to cre­ate pat­tern and tex­ture — as long as you can find the right tradie for the job.

“The more in­tri­cate the brick­work, the higher the skill re­quired from the tradie,” he says. “Brick­lay­ers tend to be an older group of trades­men but there has been an in­flux of younger groups and ex­pe­ri­enced trades­men from over­seas that we’re tap­ping into.

“It’s mov­ing back to­wards it be­ing a craft now, which we’re en­cour­ag­ing.”

Mak­ing the right choice for your ex­te­rior will set your house up for a life­time of use.

“A brick house will last at least 100 years,” Brett says. “It’s low main­te­nance and it gets bet­ter with age.

“It’s one of those au­then­tic ma­te­ri­als.”

San Selmo bricks im­ported from Italy for Aus­tral Bricks have a con­tem­po­rary Euro­pean look.

How bricks are laid can set the style for the whole house.

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