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PGH Bricks & Pavers love being able to provide you with a huge range of bricksand innovative brick façade systems, so that you can create amazing designs and build stunning, modern projects.
With that in mind, we thought we would take a look at some questions that are frequently asked regarding what a brick really is, and what some of the different brick terms refer to. If you have been thinking about using brick in your next build, here are the answers to some questions you might have before embarking on your exciting journey.

What are bricks made of?

PGH bricks are made from locally sourced clays and shales that are shaped through a die or in a mould into a ‘brick’ and kiln fired at temperatures greater than 1000°C. What is the brick manufacturing process?

There are three common methods for brick production at PGH. The first is extrusion, which is used at all of our production sites. The other methods are dry pressed and soft mud moulding which are exclusively done at our Bespoke Horsley Park facility.

  1. Extrusion involves forcing clay through a die. This method creates the holes that are commonly seen in a brick. The holes reduce the weight of the bricks, making them lighter, and assisting in the drying and firing processes. Extruded bricks are able to have a variety of textures and additives added to the face of the brick, as different techniques produce different textures. Textures range from smooth face to wire cut and even rougher textures. Rough textures make it easier to apply finishes such as paint or cement rendering.
  2. Dry pressed bricks are made by pressing clay into individual moulds at a very high pressure. Producing highly desirable, solid, and premium bricks.
  3. Soft mud moulding is completed by ‘throwing a clot’ of clay into sawdust lined moulds, providing a uniquely Australian texture and known locally as Sandstock bricks. This is similar to the traditional hand-made method of bricklaying – these days it is done by machine.
After forming, bricks are dried to remove the water, and then fired in kilns to temperatures greater than 1000°C. The colour of the clays and shales, the maximum temperature and other techniques done during firing determine the fired colour of the brick.

Check out our blog article on the sustainability of bricks to see a diagram of the brick production process.

How are bricks coated?

Some bricks are coated with a coating or glaze (these are paint like substances) when they are being extruded. These provide coloured finishes, ranging in sheen from matte through to gloss and offering rough textures through to smooth porcelain-like finishes, which are kiln fired onto the surface of the brick.

What is double brick?

Double brick is the term for two brick walls that are separated by a cavity that reduces thermal transmission from the exterior of the home to the interior. Double brick has many benefits as a structure for your home. It is exceptionally durable and requires minimal maintenance. Utilising double brick also eliminates the need for a timber frame which means that the home structure is more resistant to fire, and the home will also have excellent thermal properties, helping to warm your home in the winter and cool your home in the summer heat. By eliminating the necessity of a timber frame, double brick also reduces the risk of termites or decay, whilst also applying the acoustic benefits of brick, reducing the impacts of unwanted noise.

What is the difference between solid brick and extruded bricks?

Extruded bricks are often referred to as ‘bricks with holes.’ These are manufactured with holes to ensure that they are fired evenly when fired. The holes in extruded bricks also act as a method for decreasing the weight of the product, which can be beneficial for bricklayers when building with brick. Australian Standards confirm that the holes, up to 30% of the material thickness, do not have an effect on the insulation or fire resistance of the brick.

Comparatively, solid bricks are bricks that have been manufactured without holes. These are usually pressed and moulded, are heavier and are often used on windowsills or door openings to prevent holes from being visible on the project’s exterior. Solid brick has a greater thermal mass and provide benefits when used as a key part of a passive solar design. Solid bricks, being heavier than extruded bricks, and for this reason can be requested by engineers to be used in mass retaining walls or on walls where heavy fixings are being built.

Exposure grade versus general purpose brick – What’s the difference?

Exposure grade bricks are built to withstand saline (salty) environments. The exposure grading is determined by an Australian Standards laboratory test, where a segment of brick is subjected to (and passes) 40 cycles of immersion in a salt solution and drying without degradation. Exposure grade bricks are recommended when building up to 1km from a surf coast or up to 100m from a non-surf coast.

The Coastal Hamptons range by PGH Bricks & Pavers are a fantastic example of an exposure grade brick range. The Coastal Hamptons range conveys a relaxed and welcoming style, whilst luxuriously showcasing the colours of the Australian coast and beaches.

General purpose bricks, however, must demonstrate that the product will survive under the environmental conditions outlined for the intended site. This does include marine environments, though general purpose bricks are not required to meet the loss criterion for exposure grade bricks. General purpose bricks will survive between 15 and 40 cycles when tested to Australian Standards.

What is a colour-through brick?

Colour-through bricks are bricks which carry the face colour throughout the whole brick. If the brick were to be chipped or scratched, the colour that is underneath the face brickwork is consistent with that of the face brickwork.

PGH Bricks & Pavers’ locally produced Dry Pressed Architectural range is one example of a colour through brick. Produced under high compression, dry clay is pressed into individual moulds, creating a magnificent, solid colour-through brick.

The Morada range, imported from Europe, is another beautiful example of colour-through bricks, with a stunning colour palette ranging from the sophisticated neutral style of Blanco to the luxury noir style of Nero.

For more information, definitions and brick terms, visit the FAQs page on our website or contact us on 13 15 79.

Banner Image: Photography by Shantanu Starick
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