Choosing exterior bricks
Make the right choice for the outside for a lifetime of comfort and style
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.