The year’s projects thus far have been a diverse assortment of flagstone work, paver stone work, decks, fences, and natural stone work, in a wide range of shapes and sizes. And one material that has presented itself in a number of projects is good old-fashioned kiln-fired brick.
I’ve always viewed brick as kind of the forgotten stepchild of the hardscaping family. It seems like when people mention their ideas to me they’re always talking about flagstone or manmade pavers, sometimes concrete, but rarely brick.
But to be honest, brick is perhaps one of my favorite materials to use for any hardscaping project. Or at least one that deserves fair consideration.
And if you decide to go with brick, you should probably be at least familiar with some of the basic terms.
Most people don’t give bricks much thought when they see them in use. But take a look more closely and you’ll notice there are a number of ways of setting the bricks. Are the bricks placed horizontally or vertically? Is the 4” side exposed? The 2.5” side? The 8” side? Believe it or not there are distinct terms for how the bricks are set.
And when discussing a hardscaping project, it can be useful to know the terms. Perhaps you want the field of the surface to be set one way, with the borders set another? Perhaps you want a certain look for the bedding edging, but another for the raised planter beds and another for the walkway borders and yet another for the main field of the walkway.
Stretcher: A brick laid with its long narrow side exposed
Header: A brick laid flat with its width at the face of the wall, or parallel to the face of the wall
Soldier: A brick laid vertically with the long narrow side of the brick exposed
Sailor: A brick laid vertically with the broad face of the brick exposed
Rowlock: A brick laid on the long narrow side with the short end of the brick exposed.
Shiner: A brick laid on the long narrow side with the broad face of the brick exposed.
So the next time you’re talking with a hardscaping contractor or brick mason, drop a term or two. You’re likely to impress, and show that you know a thing or two about what you may be paying for.
Next week I’ll talk about a few of the basic brick patterns as they apply to hardscaping applications.