[Q&A]: Which bricks are good for new house construction..?

Query received from a fellow blogger (who's initialed as 'GPS') in the comments section of our previous post...
Which bricks are good for new house construction, old ones (taken out of old house) or new ones?
Posted by 'GPS' to BRICKS-n-MORTAR.com at Monday, February 27, 2012 12:45:00 PM GMT+05:30

BricksnMortar Edesk replies...

To be brief and precise-- As long as the bricks are of good desired quality, strength, form, shape and texture; they are good for use in your house construction.
Good quality new bricks

Used & irregular old bricks

It seems from your comment that you are going to build your home afresh after bringing down your old dwelling out of which used bricks would be generated, and which you desire to re-use for construction purpose.

Prima facie, the desired good quality bricks for construction should have the following qualities based on which the masonry shall be strong, quality adhering and internally beautiful as well:
  • that are made from quality and proportionate raw material (main ingredients being clay, silica sand, alumina, iron oxide)
  • moulded well in desired shape and size
  • that are burnt appropriately up to desired temperature in a furnace to impart solidity, shape and color
  • should be without containing more than permissible extents of free lime (which causes bad effects of efflorescence and discoloring)
  • should have an adequate mortar receiving surface on one side (termed as 'FROG' in technical terms), which provides good bonding properties
  • should not be too much porous and cracked or morphed
In case the old bricks are adhering to the aforementioned qualities, one should not have any problem using them.

However, in practicality, the following problems may pop-up while using old bricks that one should look out for:

  • old bricks are usually marked with set mortar on their face or faces, which make them irregular in shape and size
  • until and unless old bricks were bonded with weak quality mortar, chances are that they shall seldom be of full size (as they get broken while dismantling)
  • old bricks are first required to be scrapped off paint , mortar, other foreign particles before re-laying them

Last but not the least, it also depends on what type of re-construction one wishes to use the earlier used bricks. If one wishes to make a dream home adhering to utmost quality, then new bricks may be the right choice.  However, in case budgets are a constraint or if the construction is to be completed with certain set or minimal amounts, then old bricks may definitely be used (but ideally subject to the minimum quality as mentioned above in this post).

Hope you got your answer, dear GPS.
Regards,
BricksnMortar Edesk
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