All About Bricks
So, a brick's 'just a brick' right? Wrong.
A stroll around the reclaimed brick yard at Winchcombe Reclamation will open your eyes to a varied stock of different bricks. Heres a small introduction.......
Bricks are composed of sand, clay and water. Often mixed by hand in the past, the result was generally unevenly mixed and , when fired, produced subtle variations both in colour and texture. Brick making was a labour intensive process and handmade bricks were often produced in small batches because of this. As the transport of bulk materials was rare before the age of canals, railways and heavy goods vehicles these materials were generally used within the local area of where they were produced. This lead to most towns having their own brickworks and therefore a recognisable type of local brick too.
The Victorians much improved brick technology, allowing bricks to be made with greater speed and accuracy and more bricks were produced during this period than in any other era. Advances in transport at this time also allowed these bricks to be conveyed anywhere in the country.
The main noticeable difference between bricks is usually down to how they were manufactured. It is clear to see the difference between a handmade brick which will be rustic in size and finish (maybe even with fingerprints still visible in the clay!) to a brick which has been either pressed or wire cut (these will be more uniform and crisp, maybe with wire markings on the face.)
We always stock a good quantity of handmade bricks, pressed bricks and wire cut bricks at any one time.
The variation in colour found in bricks is due to the type of clay used - the mineral content in the clay will effect the colour of the finished brick. For example, a high iron content will result in a pink coloured brick and a higher lime content will lead to a yellow or cream colouring.
The firing temperature can also have an effect on colouration. Most clay will fire to various red hues but through higher temperatures darker reds, purples and browns can be achieved. Restricting the oxygen in the kiln produces a blue tinge - most commonly seen in 'Staffordshire blue' bricks, a Victorian engineering brick widely used in construction at this time. Reclaimed blue bricks are always in stock at Winchcombe Reclamation in large quantities. These are a durable brick that are ideal to be used as a damp proof course, can be laid as a 'soldier' course to create coping to finish off a wall or laid into the ground as edging or pavers.
Bricks also vary greatly in size. Pre Seventeenth Century examples are often 2" thick or less and are referred to as 'slip bricks' or 'Tudor bricks'. These are commonly used in inglenook fireplaces or for decorative brickwork such as herringbone design.
The introduction of a brick tax in 1784, which charged per brick for building projects, saw an increase in brick sizes as manufacturers tried to avoid this tax.
At Winchcombe Reclamation, we stock various sized bricks including common Imperial and Metric sizes to the more unusual.
So, if you're looking for reclaimed bricks for your project, we are a good place to start the search. Maybe you are wanting to match existing bricks, in which case you could take advantage of our brick matching service; simply provide a sample and we will do all the 'leg work' for you, pulling on our various resources in the trade to find a suitable match.
Or maybe you simply want to use reclaimed bricks within your build to create that warm, lived in feel straight away in which case we can offer various batches at any time.
All of our bricks are lovingly hand sorted, cleaned and palletised so there will be no extra 'hassle' factor compared to using those off the shelf from your builders merchants and because we often conduct demolition works ourselves, large batches of matching bricks are commonly available.