Brick is the oldest building material in the world. When considering using brick in a construction project, you will need to consider size, colour, texture, and durability.

Colour is the most visually obvious detail, but something else to consider is whether the colour is solid or varied. Several decades ago brick had natural occurring colour variations because of the varying light and dark clay deposits in the ground. Varying colour brick gives buildings an old-time look due to this fact. Single shade brick is now available to create a more modern, formal look. An important thing to note is that it is not recommended to paint exterior brick, because paint traps in moisture within the brick and prevents it from drying.

Texture also creates a different look in brick; it can give it an old-time or modern look, same as colour does. Real antique bricks will show signs of wear and weathering. To get that old-time look, brick makers intentionally create bricks with imperfections on them. Bricks can also be made with textured surfaces to create a softer look.

The size of a brick is another thing to consider, as brick size affects the overall look of a building. Since labour costs increase with smaller bricks, brick sizes have increased as time goes on. If you’re hoping for more of a vintage appearance, you should opt for a smaller brick size. Larger bricks help to create a more modern look.

The last thing to consider is durability. Canadian brick manufacturers constantly test their bricks to ensure they can withstand extreme weather. The Clay Brick Association of Canada publishes minimum durability standards for “exterior grade” brick. Their testing includes measuring the amount of cold water absorbed over a 24-hour period, measuring the absorption after 5 hours of boiling the brick, as well as measuring the loss of brick mass after 50 freeze-thaw testing cycles. As long as the brick you’re using meets CSA Standard A86-06 for exterior grade brick, and is installed according to local building codes, your brick should not flake or spall.

Whether you’re going for an old-time look, or more modern look with brick, one thing remains true: brick’s enduring value is the reason it has been around so long and will continue to be used in future construction projects.