FAQs

Q: What is a colour through brick?

A: A colour through brick is a clay brick that is the same colour through the entire brick body; from face to back.

Q: What is a Slurry/ Vitreous Coating?

A: A vitreous or slurry coating is when a clay brick has a face colour different to the colour of the brick body. This is achieved by the application of a separate clay coating during the manufacturing process and kiln fired into the body of the brick to create a permanent, ceramic finish. The coating will not fade or rub off.

Q: What is a face brick?

A: A brick’s ‘face’ is the side designed to be seen. Most bricks only have one ‘face’ and the ends are called ‘headers’, therefore it is important that bricklayers lay them correctly. Some of our bricks have two faces, so please just ask a member of the team to clarify which bricks these are.

Q: Can bricks be structural?

A: An engineer will be able to help with this. We are NOT in the business of designing or building structures to comply with the NZ Building Code, we leave that up to the professionals, the architects, designers and engineers. Please note that 70 series bricks are non-structural.

Q: Where are your bricks made?

A: Our bricks are sourced internationally including: Australia, Italy and Spain.

Q: What are bricks made of?

A: Bricks are made from clay, shale and other minerals that are moulded into the ‘brick’ shape then fired (cooked) at temperatures up to 1200°C. There is a very complex science behind making a clay brick, so depending on the plant of manufacture, will depend on the materials and technology used

Q: Why are bricks different sizes?

A: Good question! For efficient handling and laying, bricks must be small enough and light enough to be picked up by the bricklayer using one hand (leaving the other hand free for the trowel). Brick sizes have changed over the course of history, in most cases, the length of a brick is twice it’s width plus the width of a mortar joint. As a cladding material in New Zealand, clay bricks are manufactured to 70mm deep. In Australia they use bricks that are 110mm deep. An architect/design professional can alter your plans to accommodate bricks deeper than 70mm. More commonly however, bricks are different sizes (formats) to provide different aesthetic options to our customers. 

Q: Why are there batch differences?

A: Bricks are made of natural products, the clay from one part of the clay pit (quarry) may be a slightly different colour to the other. As controlled as the kilns are, the firings and the environment changes a little each time. It’s important that you get a sample pack of the brick you want to use and quote the batch number on the back of this when ordering your bricks.

Q: Do bricks fade?

A: Unlike concrete products, fired clay brick colours do not fade. Whilst clay bricks don’t fade, they do weather naturally over time.

Q: What do I need to know about mortar?

A: Choosing a mortar colour comes down to personal preference and design trends. Take the time to view mortar samples to explore mortar colour and brick combinations. We recommend the use of bagged mortars, click here for further information http://bricksnz.co.nz/mortar-sources-and-colour/. Mortar represents roughly 18% of the overall look of the brick veneer, so there is a substantial colour difference to one’s eye using for example a white colour mortar, compared to say a black mortar.  This can completely change the look of the brick.

Q: What mortar joint do you recommend?

A: The brick selected plays a part in which type of mortar joint will work best. A rolled joint is recommended for all slurry/ vitreous coated bricks. For all San Selmo 70mm bricks a flush joint must be used.  For colour through bricks, a raked joint is quite appealing as it creates a negative detail in the veneer.  We recommend you talk to your builder or bricklayer around ensuring the right mortar joint is used on your build.

Q: Do I need to seal my bricks?

A: Clay bricks should NOT be sealed. In an area with freeze thaw, water gets behind the sealer and can pop off the face of the brick. It needs to “breathe” to allow water to migrate in and out of it. It’s porosity is natural. This is the advantage of a clay brick, it is colour fast and will not fade over time.

Q: Why do I have to see a physical sample?

A: No two bricks are the same, no two computer screens are calibrated the same and printing throws in another set of colour variables. Physical samples allow you to see the real brick colour in natural light, ensuring there are no surprises when the bricks arrive on site. It’s important that you get a sample pack of the brick you want to use and quote the batch number on the back of this when ordering your bricks. Great news is that this service is free of charge, simply request a sample and we will courier it to you, or pop into the nearest display centre and we can provide you with sampling from there.

Q: What do I need know about painted, plastered and bagged bricks?

A: Our Painter Bricks are produced specifically for bagging and painting, and or painting, these are NOT face bricks. While they may be cheaper than face bricks, any further surface treatment comes with some important considerations: labour and material costs to achieve the look you’re after and ongoing maintenance. Painted and bagged brick treatment is permanent. After you paint your brick house, you can’t go back to its original brick exterior. Professional painters know that once brick is painted, it needs to stay painted.

Q: Warranty

A: All of our clay bricks come with a 25 year guarantee.  Request our Warranty Form for more information.

Q: How do I clean and maintain my bricks?

A: While clay bricks are low maintenance, the following information provides advice on the correct cleaning procedures and ongoing maintenance of brickwork to ensure the best possible results. Please refer to the Think Brick Clay Masonry Cleaning Manual https://thebrickery.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/tb-manual-13-website-2019.pdf

Q: How are your bricks delivered?

A: Our brick deliveries are handled by trucking contractors. For the Auckland region all deliveries are delivered to site on tractor unless a Hiab is requested. For all other areas, Hiab is predominately used although tractors can be requested. Our experienced and helpful Customer Services Team can help answer your delivery queries. They can be reached on 0800 BRICKS. Our customers are also able to pick up bricks from our yards once payment is received, and appropriate notice has been given to our customer service team.

Q: How many bricks can I order?

A: No order is too small! Simply request the amount you need of our stocked bricks, and we will make it happen. Our indent bricks are subject to minimum order quantities and vary from brick to brick.

Q: Why do some bricks cost more than others if they are made from clay?

A: The bulk of the price difference will be due to the area the clay is sourced from (distance from the plant, or cost of particular clay colours) and the freight component e.g. Spanish bricks versus Australian made – freight to New Zealand will vary due to the distance.

Q: Can you match this brick for me?

A: We will do our best to match your old brick, finding the closest colour and finish. Please send photos and dimensions of the brick you are trying to match to sales@thebrickery.co.nz and we will be in touch with some suggestions.

Q: Brick Laying

A: We do recommend using a licenced brick layer for your masonry work. Click here for a list of Brick and Blocklaying companies that belong to the New Zealand Masonry Trade Association. Please note, a brick laid is a brick accepted. Cost per square metre or brick normally depends on the type of brick used, the design of the build (application), and the region you are in.

Q: What do I need to know about ordering bricks?

A: You can buy directly from us, through your builder or merchant. The earlier you can get your order in the better. Our experienced and helpful Customer Services Team can help answer your ordering queries. They can be reached on 0800 BRICKS or sales@thebrickery.co.nz.

Q: Can I change out bricks the bricks on my plans?

A: If it is a 70mm brick specified on your project you can use any of our 70 series clay bricks. 110mm bricks and Schist require the services of a design professional to alter your plans.

Q: My bricks look different on this wall compared to that wall – why?

A: The simple answer is the light. A wall that is north facing will have full sunlight, making it look brighter and a south facing wall with less light will look darker.

Brick Terms

ARRIS

The sharp edge formed by any two surfaces meeting at an angle.

BANDING

Brickwork, normally of a contrasting colour or texture, one or more courses high, set out anywhere on the brickwork.

BATCH

The specific production run of bricks or pavers.

BBF

Brick and Block Layers Federation http://bbfnz.co.nz

BEVELLED

The edges of the face of some bricks are bevelled or sloped, providing a softer decorative effect.

BLENDS

A mixture of two or more brick types.

BRICK SAND

Also called ‘brickies sand’. Common term for sand used for making mortar. Colour can vary by region and therefore impact the mortar colour achieved.

BRICK VENEER

Construction where a timber or metal frame is covered with a lining material for internal walls and a single leaf or layer of brickwork forms the exposed exterior of the building. This is non-structural. A cavity will separate these two systems

BURNS

An aesthetic treatment during firing to create light to dark blushes. Also known as ‘flashing’.

CBPMA

Clay Brick and Pavers Manufacturing Association http://bbfnz.co.nz

COLOUR THROUGH

Bricks that are the same colour clay through the entire brick body; from face to back.

COMMONS

Bricks that are to be covered up, or used where they are not seen e.g. Painter bricks or Plaster bricks.

CRAZING

Very fine non-structural cracks on the face of the brick.

DAMP COURSE

A course, or layer, of impervious material in a wall or floor to prevent the migration of moisture. Also called ‘damp-proof course’ or DPC. The Building Code of Australia requires the DPC to visibly extend beyond the mortar.

DRY PRESSED BRICKS

Solid bricks that are made by pressing clay into individual moulds.

EFFLORESCENCE

Often referred to as “salting”. A white or sometimes coloured powder, often fuffy in appearance, that can form on the surface of brickwork. This is caused by salt deposits in the mortar and can easily be brushed off. It disappears over time.

FACE

The surface of a brick to be exposed in a wall, includes the ends and some bricks can be used both sides. Most bricks only have one ‘face’ and therefore it is important that bricklayers lay them correctly

FLASHING

A method used during firing to create light to dark blushes or areas of deepened colour.

FOOTINGS OR FOUNDATIONS

The base of a building, usually concrete, designed to transfer loads to the ground.

FRIT

A glass substance melted onto bricks to create glossy spots.

HEARTING

A red, or sometimes orange, aesthetic burn on the brick face.

MORTAR JOINT

How the layer of mortar between two bricks is finished. The space between two bricks that is filled with mortar or grout.

MONOCHROMATIC

Containing only one colour.

MORTAR

A mixture of lime, cement, sand and water.

NZMTA

New Zealand Masonry Trades Association https://www.nzmta.com/

PACK

A package or bundle of bricks or pavers prepared for delivery.

RUMBLED

In New Zealand refers to the indented distortion on the face of the brick

SALTING

Also known as efflorescence. A white or sometimes coloured powder, often fuffy in appearance, that can form on the surface of brickwork. This is caused by salt deposits in the mortar and can easily be brushed off. It generally disappears over time.

SLURRY

A texturing process where a coloured solution is applied and kiln fired into the body of the brick to create a permanent, ceramic finish. Also referred to as a “vitreous coating”.

TUMBLED

A term used to describe the distortion of brick edges.

VANADIUM

Light-coloured clays often contain vanadium salt that are generally colourless, but under certain conditions may appear as a yellow, green or reddish-brown discolouration of the brick. Vanadium stains are neither permanent nor harmful and do not indicate a defect in the brick. Vanadium stains in exposed areas generally wash off in time but their removal can be hastened by chemical treatment. Refer to the Think Brick cleaning guide https://thebrickery.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/tb-manual-13-website-2019.pdf/

VITREOUS COATING

A vitreous coating is when a clay brick has a face colour different to the colour of the brick body. This is achieved by the application of a separate clay coating during the manufacturing process. The vitreous coating is fired in for life.

WIRECUT BRICKS

A brick that has had the face scraped with a wire to give a rough texture to the finish.

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