Brick: choice, characteristics, manufacturers

… A reputable firm was building an elite brick house. We started cladding the facade, but suddenly doubted. The bricks seemed suspicious to them. They gave it for examination, and it turned out that the frost resistance of the brick did not meet Moscow standards. I had to get rid of it in a hurry, and the house was faced with new, “correct” brick. This story ended well. And many others, alas, ended badly. For example, the dome of the church was made of semi-dry pressing bricks, it was not yet covered with “pure gold”, but the dome began to leak. Or: they brought a brick to a construction site, left it for several months, and when it came time to build, it turned out that all the brick was cracked. And the reason, as it turned out, is the same everywhere: the brick was chosen incorrectly.

How to make the right choice

Therefore, let’s try to figure out which brick is “correct”.

According to the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language” edited by D. N. Ushakov, a brick is: 1. Artificial stone, made in the form of bars from baked clay and used for buildings. 2. One piece of such a stone. 3. Solid material in the form of such a stone.

What are the bricks

According to the composition and method of production, the brick is divided into two groups – ceramic and silicate.

Ceramic brick obtained by firing clays and their mixtures.
Silicate brick – consists of about 90% sand, 10% lime and a small proportion of additives. The mixture is sent to an autoclave and not to a kiln, as is the case with ceramic bricks. If you add pigments, you can get silicate brick of almost any color – blue, green, raspberry, purple.

Multicolored sand-lime bricks

According to the logic of the explanatory dictionary, a brick is a block of burnt clay. But then a silicate (that is, not clay) brick – and not a brick at all, but some solid material similar to it in shape. By the way, it is: there are different GOSTs for these two materials, and builders very clearly draw a border between them..

So, we will consider mainly ceramic brick, because it is a real brick (both according to the dictionary and according to GOST).

What brick – what for?

On the left – an ordinary brick, on the right – front

According to the purpose, ceramic bricks are divided into ordinary (aka construction) and front (aka facing, facing, finishing, facade). Stove brick stands apart.

Ordinary brick used for inner rows of masonry or for outer rows, but with subsequent plastering. Ordinary brick can have a depressed geometric pattern on the side (for better adhesion to the plaster). Face brick – uniform color, has two smooth, even front surfaces (the so-called “poke” and “spoons”). It is, as a rule, hollow (that is, there are many voids in its “body”, which makes a wall of such a brick “warmer”).

The cladding also includes textured brick (with a relief pattern of the front surface) and shaped (or shaped, profile) for laying complex shapes: arches, pillars, etc..

Stove bricks come in different sizes (even palm-sized). Sometimes it is done with relief. Fireclay bricks are used for the furnace part of fireplaces, made of refractory clay and withstanding temperatures above 1000 ° C. Fireclay brick has a sandy yellow color and a granular structure.

Brick surfaces (1 – spoons, 2 – poke, 3 – bed), Textured brick, Shaped brick, Fireclay brick

So when buying a brick, the main thing is to know why you are actually buying it. And don’t mix it up! And then be flattered by the “pretty” and lay out the walls with facing bricks instead of ordinary. And then calculate the costs and cry. Or, on the contrary, you want to save some money and cover the house with ordinary bricks. But then the house will not look very nice..



Single, one and a half and double bricks (left),
The largest ceramic stone, the size of 15 single ones, is produced by the Pobeda / Knauf plant (right)

Our brick has smart dimensions: 250 x 120 x 65 mm. It is convenient for the builder to take it with one hand. Two bricks are laid in length in width, plus a centimeter per seam. But the thickness may vary.

And then the bricks are named: single (65 mm thick), thickened, or one and a half (88 mm). GOST defines large bricks as ceramic stones. The standard ceramic stone, or double brick (as sellers often call it) is 250 x 120 x 138 mm. One-and-a-half bricks and stones significantly save mortar consumption and construction time. And don’t think that builders will charge you more money for lifting weights. They themselves are better: threw a dozen stones – and the wall is ready! In addition, less stones are required, and their price does not increase. So, for example, a double facing brick is only half more expensive than a single one, and is twice as large in size.


Straw, apricot, red and brown bricks

The color of the brick mainly depends on the composition of the clay. Most clays after firing have a classic brick color. Such clays are called red-burning, and the brick itself is called red.

Less common are white-burning clays, they make yellow, apricot or white bricks..

Sometimes various pigment additives are introduced into the raw materials. For example, brown bricks can only be obtained with pigment additives. According to GOST, the color of the brick must correspond to the sample-standard approved by the plant. Often in factories there are several standards, and there is a danger of buying a “motley” batch of bricks.

“Warm” brick

By the presence of voids in the body, front and ordinary bricks are divided into hollow and solid (ceramic stones are only hollow). The more voids (there may be more than 50%), the warmer the brick.

It turns out that when using hollow bricks, the walls can be made thinner, and the thermal insulation will not deteriorate from this. Hollow bricks have less mass and, as a result, less stress on the foundation. This is his dignity. But there is also a difficulty: when laying such a brick, the holes can be clogged with mortar, and it will become “colder”. To avoid this, you need to take a brick with voids of a smaller diameter and a more viscous solution..

The brick can be made even warmer by the internal porosity of the ceramic shard (ie the material itself). Such a brick is called porous. By the way, porous bricks are better at drowning out sounds than ordinary bricks..

Solid brick, Hollow brick, Aerated brick

So, it is clear that to save time and money, it is better to buy not an ordinary brick, but a one and a half. And even better – a ceramic stone. But the color can be chosen to taste – it does not affect the quality of the brick. If you want a warmer house (but not due to the thickness of the walls), you need to take hollow or porous bricks. But then use a more viscous solution so that the voids are not clogged..


Strength. Brand

Strength – the main characteristic of a brick is the ability of the material to resist internal stresses and deformations without collapsing.
Brand – this is an indicator of strength, denoted by “M” with a numerical value. The numbers show what kind of load per 1 sq. Cm. can withstand a brick. For example, grade 100 (M100) means that the brick is guaranteed to withstand a load of 100 kg per 1 sq. Cm. The brick can have a brand from 75 to 300. Bricks are most often found on sale M100, 125, 150, 175.

How to find out what brand of brick you need? For example, for the construction of multi-storey buildings, bricks of at least M150 are used. But for a cottage of 2-3 floors, there is enough “weave” (that is, M100).

Frost resistance

Frost resistance – the ability of the material to withstand alternating freezing and thawing in a water-saturated state.

Frost resistance (denoted by “Мрз”) is measured in cycles. During standard tests, the brick is immersed in water for 8 hours, then placed in the freezer for 8 hours (this is one cycle). And so on until the brick begins to change its characteristics (weight, strength, etc.). Then the tests are stopped and a conclusion is made about the frost resistance of the brick..

For Moscow construction projects, you need to use a brick with a frost resistance of at least 35 cycles. Therefore, large factories try not to produce bricks with frost resistance below 35 cycles. But on the market there are still bricks with frost resistance of 25 and even 15 cycles (as a rule, brought from warm regions). It has a low price, it attracts buyers (and sellers try not to talk about “features”).

In general, a specialist should determine the brand of brick for the future house..

In short, we do not recommend chasing cheap bricks with frost resistance of 25 or even 15 cycles. For construction in the Moscow region, use brick Mrz 35. And better – 50.


What is considered a marriage in the brick production process?

According to GOST, a defect is overburn and underburn, and such a brick is not recommended for sale. But the presence of lime inclusions GOST allows, although the owner of such a brick from this, alas, is not easier.

How do you know if a red brick is fired correctly? If the core of the brick is of a more saturated color than the “body”, and it rings when struck, then this is a good quality brick.

Unburned, unburned brick

Unburned brick has a characteristic mustard color and emits a dull sound when struck. Unburned bricks have low frost resistance and are “afraid” of moisture. One firm told the following story. One winter, when prices for building materials are lower, a stingy customer decided to buy a brick at a cheap price. Then he dumped him on his site and happily began to calculate how much he saved. Spring came, the snow melted, the citizen hurried to his construction site. And I saw there … mountains of crumbling bricks. The brick turned out to be defective – underburned.

Burnout, burnt brick

Sometimes the brick surface “boils” from the burnout (left)
Burnt brick inside and normally burnt (right)

Formed from very high temperatures. The brick turns black, melts, loses its clear dimensions, it is “bursting” from the inside. But experts say that if the brick did not break its shape, and only the core turned out to be black, then, on the contrary, it becomes very strong, as if it were iron.

Lime inclusions (sometimes called “dutik”)

Brick with “dutik”

Where do they come from? Clay raw materials contain limestone. During the preparation of raw materials, limestone is crushed. But if there are at least half a millimeter grain left, expect a catch. They pick up moisture and “swell”, chipping off pieces of brick. If the spall depth is more than 6 mm, such a brick is rejected by the OTK, if less, it is put on sale. The facades of houses made of such bricks are pockmarked, as if “covered with flies.” By the way, lime inclusions are not a purely Russian problem. For Europe, this is also a problem.


The most common and insidious marriage is efflorescence..

Efflorescences appear already on brick walls in the form of white spots and streaks (that is, after the brick has been laid). And when buying, you can’t guess whether there will be efflorescence on this brick or not. They are formed as a result of the migration of salts from masonry mortar, brick, groundwater and even air. Experts say about brick near Moscow that the amount of salt in it is usually small. And it is recommended to use cement with a low content of efflorescence-forming impurities of the factories “Red October”, Lipetsk, Podolsk, Mikhailovsky.

Efflorescence can even appear on the facade of an elite house

How to protect yourself from efflorescence?

1. Use a thick solution.
2. Do not smear the mortar on the front of the brick.
3. Do not lay bricks in the rain and cover fresh masonry at night.
4. Bring the house under the roof as soon as possible.
5. Cover the facade with a protective compound.

But if, after all the precautions, efflorescence nevertheless appeared, do not be discouraged. The builders assure that most of the efflorescence is washed away by rains in a year or two. If you don’t want to wait, you can use folk remedies: acetic acid solution, 5% hydrochloric acid solution, or ammonia solution (a bottle in a bucket of water). Or buy special products in hardware stores. Or contact a company that will “wash” your house from salt and cover the facade with a protective compound.

Do not want the house to be cold in winter or the facade was washed away by rain? Then don’t buy unburned bricks. You can take a burnt one, but only if its shape is not broken. But decide for yourself about limestone inclusions. But remember that a brick with splinters breaks down faster..

Well, today we told, perhaps, the most basic and most important thing that you need to know about bricks. But this, of course, is not all. Therefore, next time we will definitely return to this topic: we will tell about the largest brick manufacturers, we will delve into the secrets of its production, we will look into the depths of the centuries – we will find out the history of this ancient building material.

That we should build a house. For dollars

How many bricks do you need to build a two-story house measuring 8 by 8 meters?

1. First, determine the length of the outer walls: 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 32 m.
2. If the ceiling height is, say, 3 meters, then the height of a two-storey house is 6 meters, which means that the area of ​​the outer walls is 32 x 6 = 192 sq. m.
3. If we choose a masonry of 2.5 bricks, then the thickness of the walls is 64 cm. (Although for each project this value will have to be calculated individually, based on the structural features of the building, the weight of the floors, etc.).
So, we have chosen a masonry of 2.5 bricks. In this case, the laying of 2 bricks will be made of double ordinary bricks and one row (in half a brick) – from a single front.
4. How many bricks do you need? If we take into account the mortar joints, we get:

  • 192 x 104 (the number of bricks in the masonry, see table) = 19,968 pieces of double ordinary (or 192 x 204 = 39,168 pieces of single ordinary bricks);
  • 192 x 51 (number of bricks in masonry, see table) = 9792 front single bricks.
  • A single ordinary brick will cost no less than 2.2 rubles. per piece, double ordinary – 3.8 rubles, facing single – 3.1 rubles. Rounding up and counting:

  • Private double: 20,000 x 3.8 = 76,000 rubles (or $ 2,685).
  • Facial single: 10,000 x 3.1 = 31,000 rubles (or about $ 1,100).
  • Using, for example, instead of an ordinary single, an ordinary double, we save $ 425 (40,000 x 2.2 = 88,000 rubles (or $ 3110)).

    So, the whole brick will cost us at least 4 thousand dollars.

    You can also calculate how much the house will cost with finishing. The builders have calculated that 1 sq. a square meter in a brick house costs $ 350 (a square meter in a wooden house will cost $ 200). That is, you need to multiply the total area of ​​the house (128 sq.m.) by $ 350.

    It turns out that our house with finishing will cost 45 thousand dollars. From these figures it can be seen that the price of a brick will amount to 10% of the total cost of the house. The rest 40,000 are interior decoration and other decoration. Hence the conclusion suggests itself – saving on brick is completely unprofitable.

    What determines the price

    Several factors affect the price of a brick..

    1.Geography. The cheapest brick on the Moscow market is Belarusian. Translated from local currency into ours, it turns out that ceramic bricks cost from 70 kopecks to 1.1 rubles apiece, and silicate bricks – from 50 to 80 kopecks. Shipping costs average 50% of the actual brick price. But even if we charge 100% for transportation, all the same, Belarusian brick in Moscow will remain the cheapest.

    Most of all in our market are bricks from the Moscow region and bricks from the nearby regions. Prices here can be very different.

    The most expensive brick is, of course, European. For example, an Estonian brick costs at least 50 cents per piece (more than 14 rubles). It is five times more expensive than the local one.

    2. Seller. The cheapest way to buy at a brick factory, but then you have to pay a lot for transport. In trading companies, brick costs on average 15% more than in a factory, but this price also includes delivery to the place. In addition, firms practice discounts. In construction markets, where you can buy a brick by the piece, its price can be twice as high as at the factory.

    3. Brand. The higher the brand, the more expensive the brick is. Brick M125 is more expensive than M100 by about 10%. The difference in price between the “hundredth” and “two hundredth” brands can be 20-30%.

    size 4. It is more profitable to buy ceramic stones or double bricks. The dependence here is approximately the following: an increase in the size of a brick by 50% increases its price by 20%. For example, a single brick costs 100 kopecks, a one and a half brick will cost 120 kopecks, and a double one – 140 kopecks.

    In general, the higher the brand, the more expensive it is. And the larger the stone, the cheaper it is. If you buy from a factory, you will have to pay for transportation. And this is not always cheaper than buying a brick from a dealer.

    But the cheapest option: brick from the nearest factory, double, grade 100-125.

    Expert advice

    Ceramic products of non-standard sizes

    When buying a brick, ask for supporting documents: a certificate or a product passport. In the absence of these documents, it is better not to be tempted by a brick. Do not buy brick in winter (although it is cheaper) if the place where it will be stored all winter is not guarded. The brick will be stolen from the unguarded territory. It is best to buy a brick before the start of the construction season, in March – April, when its price has not yet started to rise. If you do not want to “heat the street”, do not make the outer walls less than 2.5 bricks thick (that is, 64 cm), otherwise the heat will leave the house. When buying imported bricks, keep in mind that European standards do not always coincide with domestic ones, remember this when using imported and Russian bricks together. The thickness of reinforced concrete elements (lintels, floor slabs) is a multiple of the height of domestic bricks. This is done so that these elements are easily docked together..

    Expert opinion

    Brick industry prospects

    Vladimir Smirnov, professor at MGSU:

    – There are several very promising areas in the brick industry. One of them is a decrease in the mass of a brick and an increase in its thermal insulation properties. Research is underway on additives for the production of porous bricks.

    MGSU, together with the Losinoostrovsky plant, is exploring the possibilities of expanding the color range of facing bricks by adding clays of different colors and mineral pigments. Perhaps, soon it will be possible to start production of bricks of dark brown, green, blue, black colors. Another direction is to increase the size of the ceramic block.

    Is it true that our ancestors built better than us?

    Architect Levon Harutyunyan:

    – It’s a myth that in the old days they built better. True, modern brick is often not of very good quality, but modern mortar is better and stronger, and in general the masonry benefits from this.

    Transportation of bricks

    Foreman Sergei Zlatomrezhev:

    – Transportation of bricks is not difficult. Brick comes from 5-10% of the battle, but that’s okay. If it will lie down for several months later, the number of battles may increase by another 10 percent. But this is not terrible, the halves also go into action. And I would recommend buying facing brick on a pallet packed in polyethylene.

    Do bricklayers have their own masonry techniques?

    Bricklayer Nikolai Egorovich:

    – Everyone has the same receptions. In winter, we put the brick on a mortar with additives so that it does not freeze quickly. We don’t add anything in the summer. True, when it is very hot in summer, we soak an ordinary brick (from which we put the inner rows). Otherwise, it instantly draws water from the masonry mortar, the masonry turns out to be worse, less durable. But the brick, from which we lay out the arches, we soak at any time of the year so that the solution sets more slowly and the masonry turns out to be stronger.

    You can tell by its appearance whether the brick is good?

    Bricklayer Andrey:

    – A good brick is a beautiful brick, even, without chips. And it is more convenient for a bricklayer to work with such a brick. In addition, the mortar must be plastic so that the brick is laid – and the mortar can be easily squeezed out. The liquid solution flows down, the hand gets tired from the thick solution, and the brick does not sit well on it.

    Who produces it

    Bricks are brought to Moscow from all over Russia, near and far abroad, although there are enough local producers.

    For example, a large enterprise is located within the city – Losinoostrovsky plant of building materials and structures. The main consumer of his products is the Moscow construction complex. The plant’s products are in demand: bricks are homogeneous and of high quality (that is, bricks of different batches have exactly the same, even color and quality characteristics). The plant produces about 30 million bricks per year. The main positions are red facing single and one and a half bricks. The plant also produces construction and shaped bricks. All brick – not lower than M150 with frost resistance of more than 50 cycles. The price of Losinki brick is currently one of the lowest in comparison with factories near Moscow.

    There are also a number of enterprises in the Moscow region. For example, JSC “Interneftegazstroy” (a plant on the territory of the former Kuchinsky ceramics plant in the town of Zheleznodorozhny) is a completely new production. The French line, installed a year ago, uses Gzhel clay, which is known for its high quality, so no additives are added to the raw materials. The red face brick of the plant has a high grade (M200 and higher) and frost resistance 50 cycles.

    Permissible deviations from the norm

    Brick may have deviations and defects allowed by GOST.

    GOST 7484-78. “Brick and ceramic facing stones. Technical requirements”:

    2.3. Cracks on the face of bricks and stones … not allowed.

    2.5. The front surface of bricks and stones should be free of chips, including lime inclusions, stains, efflorescence and other defects visible at a distance of ten meters in an open area in daylight.

    2.6. Permissible deviations from the nominal dimensions and indicators of the appearance of the front surface of bricks and stones should not exceed the following values ​​on one product, mm:

    by length +/– 4
    in width +/– 3
    by thickness + 3 / –2

    Non-straightness of front surfaces and ribs, no more, mm:

    spoon 3
    butt 2.

    2.13. Bricks and stones of the highest quality category must meet the requirements:

  • brand not less than 100;
  • frost resistance not less than 35;
  • chipped and dull corners and edges from 5 to 10 mm in length are not allowed in an amount of more than one.
  • GOST 530-95. “Bricks and ceramic stones (that is, GOST for building bricks. – Author). Technical requirements”: According to the surface texture (spoon, butt), products can be smooth or corrugated. On the surface of products, the presence of spalls along the largest dimension from 3 to 10 mm is allowed, no more than 3 pieces. The amount of half wood (1/2 brick. – Author) in the batch should not be more than 5%. Delivery to the consumer of unburned and burnt products is not allowed.

    Another expert opinion

    Yuri Smirnov, head of the laboratory for research of raw materials and resource-saving technologies of ceramic wall materials, VNIISTROM named after P.P. Budnikova:

    – The best option to avoid efflorescence is to conduct tests before buying a brick and get a specialist’s opinion on the correspondence between brick and mortar. It happens that it is the combination of a certain type of mortar with a certain type of brick that leads to efflorescence. One component is in a brick, the other in a solution, and when combined, they give an unnecessary reaction. This can be determined, for example, in our laboratory.

    Brick selection

    1. For construction in the Moscow region, a brick with frost resistance of at least 35 cycles, and even better 50.

    2. Semi-dry pressed bricks with frost resistance of 15 cycles are not suitable for wall cladding and foundation masonry. You can distinguish it from plastic molded bricks by the “bed” (the largest side): it is smooth, it has conical blind voids. This brick is best used only for internal partitions. If you did use it for cladding, then immediately plaster the house. Plaster, of course, will not create complete waterproofing, but it will protect brick walls for a while..

    3. If the house under construction has a height of 2-3 floors, then brick M100-125 is enough for laying the walls.

    4. Face brick should be bought of the same brand (or adjacent) as the building brick, because the entire wall must be of the same strength.

    5. Double brick is cheaper than single brick, besides, there is additional savings on mortar and laying time.

    6. Aerated brick is “warmer” than a simple hollow brick.

    7. It is more expedient to buy the entire amount of facing bricks immediately, in one batch – so that the entire facing is uniform in color. Clarify how many color standards the plant has, and stipulate in advance that you need a brick that matches one color standard.

    8. The color of the clay is not related to the quality of the brick. Therefore, do not hesitate to buy a brick of the color that you like..

    9. For windows, arches, window sills, fences, etc. there is a special shaped brick.

    10. It is not recommended to lay a foundation of silicate bricks: it is not resistant to moisture. You cannot put ovens and pipes out of it – it begins to decompose under the influence of high temperatures. And it’s hard to plaster it – it hurts too smooth, the solution does not adhere well to it.

    Where is cheaper: in a store or at a factory?

    Where is it more profitable to buy bricks: at a factory or in a trading company? Let’s try to understand this issue using the example of the Pobeda / Knauf plant. Let’s take two popular positions: facing bricks “luxury” and “standard”. At the factory, the selling price of the “luxury” is 4.56 rubles. per piece, and “standard” – 3.6 rubles. Suppose we buy a brick machine – 5,000 pieces. After calling several transport companies, it turned out that KamAZ from St. Petersburg to Moscow would cost no less than 9,000 rubles. This raised a lot of questions. For example, how will the car be loaded – from the top or from the side, by crane or loader? How will they unload? Will it be necessary to work at night (additional costs)? How long will you have to wait for loading (if several hours – additional costs)? And finally they calmed me down, saying that you can find a car for 8,000 rubles.

    So, the car will cost 8,000 rubles (no additional costs). Let’s divide this amount by 5000 pieces to find out how much each brick will “rise in price”. It turned out that it is more expensive by 1.6 rubles. Total, “luxury” – 6.16 rubles, “standard” – 5.2 rubles.

    In Moscow, in a trading company, we found a “luxury” for 5.25 rubles, a “standard” for 4.2 rubles. This brick will be delivered to the place, and your head won’t hurt: how and what to load?

    And if, suppose, buy at factories near Moscow? We answer. Renting a car in Moscow for a full time (8 hours) will cost about 2,000 rubles. This means that each of the 5,000 bricks will “rise in price” by 40 kopecks. Consider for yourself what is more profitable.

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