Brick is one of the most popular materials used in construction and has been used for thousands of years to create structurally sound, cost-effective and stylish buildings.
If you have a commercial or residential building constructed from brick that you are looking to upgrade, extend or renovate, it is important to match the bricks used in the new construction as much as possible to the bricks in the original structure. This process is called ‘brick matching’, and it is a way of making sure that your bricks look visually consistent.
Here, we’ve put together a guide to explain how brick matching works, why it is important in brickwork, and some key elements to consider when brick matching.
Simply put, brick matching is the process of ensuring that new bricks used to extend or modify an existing structure accurately match the old bricks which are already in place.
When done correctly, brick matching results in the seamless integration of new bricks into the structure, helping to:
As the variety of brick types increases over time, brick matching by identifying or emulating the exact brick type is becoming increasingly important.
There are multiple factors to consider when brick matching, such as the size, colour and texture of the original bricks. Making sure you nail down these elements will prevent the brickwork from looking sloppy and help create a cohesive-looking upgrade.
Let’s examine some of these factors in more detail.
Making sure that your new bricks are the same size as the original bricks is important when it comes to keeping the bricks consistently levelled and creating visual cohesion.
If your new bricks are significantly larger or smaller than the old ones, the result can stick out like a sore thumb and highlight the new work that has been done on the structure. To avoid this, it is worth putting in the effort to confirm that your new bricks have the same size specifications as the old ones before you dive into construction.
This process can be complicated by the fact that the standard size of bricks has changed over time. It is definitely worth consulting an experienced builder or bricklayer to assist with identifying and sourcing the right bricks for the job.
An obvious consideration when brick matching is colour, which can be a dead giveaway of mismatched bricks if the new brick colour differs from the old brick colour.
A brick’s colour is achieved through the minerals in the clay, the manufacturing process and the temperature of the kiln during heating. Natural weathering can also affect the colour of brick over time, so your builder may decide to use brick tinting to chemically alter the colour of the new bricks to help them blend seamlessly with the older ones.
There is also a chance that the original brickwork contains a mix of various coloured and patterned bricks – this is called a blend. The most common blended brick wall contains four different bricks and is called a four-way blend. In this case, you will need to replicate the blend by getting the new bricks in the correct variety of colours.
The final piece of the brick matching puzzle is nailing down the texture: do your old bricks have a smooth, rough, light or heavy texture?
There are a variety of brick textures available that help give brick its stylistic diversity as a construction material. However, it also means that it can be difficult to perfectly match the texture of new bricks with old bricks.
Subtle differences in bricks can also complicate the process. The appearance of a brick’s texture can be affected by factors like lighting, shadows, or how far away you are viewing the brick from. You might think you have matched the texture of the original brick perfectly, only to find that when the new bricks are installed, they look slightly different due to how the wall is lit.
An experienced bricklayer can help you identify these subtle differences and find the perfectly-matching texture.
At Solutions Built, our experienced bricklayers and builders are experts at brickwork construction. If you have a building or structure you need upgraded, renovated or built from the ground up, please get in touch with our friendly team to discuss your construction needs via email or phone.