How Much Does it Cost to Build a Brick Wall?
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Bricks are a staple of architectural and construction designs for both interior and exterior applications. There are many different ways to construct a brick wall depending on how the homeowner wants the wall to function. Made of fired clay, bricks are an economical solution to many residential and commercial construction needs. Bricks are available in a wide range of colors and textures. When combined with the type of bond or layout of the wall, a variety of different looks can be achieved in the construction of a brick wall.
Average cost per finished square foot of brick walls:
- Minimum = $6.45
- Maximum = $12.65
Homeowners planning on the installation of a brick wall will have some additional costs beyond the purchase of the main material for the project. Bricks must be bonded together with mortar. The mortar and other supplies to construct a brick wall add an average of $1.20 per finished square foot of wall. A brick wall may be constructed by a handyman, masonry specialist or a general contractor. The average cost per hour for a handyman or general contractor to install a brick wall is $44.50. The average cost per hour to hire a masonry specialist for the construction of a brick wall is $62. The difference in installation cost is based upon the ability of a mason to create complex designs and configurations with the bricks.
There are many types of bricks that can be used to construct a wall. Common bricks are the most basic type of brick and are made from fired clay. They are a general-purpose brick. Faced bricks are nicely finished on all four perimeter sides. Engineering bricks are dense and finished on all six sides. Calcium silicate bricks are made of lime and sand and come in many colors.
Fire bricks are made from specialty clay that can withstand high temperatures and exposure to fire. Concrete bricks are made from cast concrete rather than clay. Air bricks have holes for ventilation and are used around foundations. During the manufacturing process, bricks can either be molded or extruded. Molded bricks are solid while extruded bricks have ventilation holes through the center. Bricks made from either manufacturing method can be used in the construction of a brick wall.
Brick walls are sorted based upon the bond type used to construct the wall. The type of bond refers to how the bricks are arranged or laid out together. The primary types of bonds used to construct brick walls include:
- Common Bond: A common bond is a brick wall layout that involves arranging the brick so that only the long sides show in each row of the wall.
- Running Bond: The running bond is a layout in which rows of long sides of the bricks are interspersed with rows of the short sides of the bricks.
- Flemish Bond: A Flemish bond alternates placement of the bricks such that the long side shows, then the short side, then the long side and so forth throughout the entire row and wall.
- English Bond: The English bond is the strongest structural bond for building a brick wall. One row is laid with the long sides of the bricks showing, then the next row is laid with the short sides of the bricks showing. The rows alternate in this fashion throughout the entire wall.
Bricks used for building a wall are graded based upon its ability to withstand the weathering processes. The grades of brick used for building a wall include:
- Severe Weathering: This type of brick is used to construct exterior walls that will be exposed to many freeze and thaw cycles as well as penetrating moisture.
- Moderate Weathering: These bricks can withstand some fluctuations in temperature and a minimal amount of moisture penetration.
- Negligible Weathering: These bricks are used in areas with minimal precipitation and no freeze and thaw cycles.
There are many manufacturers of bricks in the U.S. and around the world. Most brick manufacturers tend to use clay that is sourced as locally as possible to keep the cost of the brick low. Some of the most popular brands of bricks used in the U.S. include Belden, Glen Gery, Sioux City, Triangle and Watsontown. Some homeowners choose to have brick walls constructed out of bricks that have been reclaimed from the demolition of other structures. Using reclaimed bricks is a more labor-intensive process as damaged bricks must be sorted out, and any leftover mortar must be removed before the wall can be built.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Brick Walls
The primary advantage of brick walls are their durability. With proper upkeep, a brick wall can last for thousands of years. Bricks retain heat, which makes them ideal for building walls for homes as well as flower beds, raised vegetable gardens and indoor or outdoor ovens and fireplaces. Bricks are able to withstand corrosion, so a brick wall built outdoors and exposed to precipitation and moist soil will not rust. Brick walls can be constructed in a linear fashion or curved for added aesthetic appeal and functionality. Because each brick is small and can easily be lifted, the construction of a brick wall is a straightforward process. A brick wall can be built quickly by an experienced mason or group of bricklayers. Brick walls are also affordable and cost less per finished square foot than many other types of walls.
While there are many reasons why homeowners select brick to construct a wall, there are some disadvantages of brick walls. The mortar that bonds the bricks is prone to wear through moisture, salts and acids. Over time, the brick wall may need to be tuck-pointed in order to maintain strength and aesthetic appeal. Bricks also absorb moisture, which may cause them to crack or become discolored. Shifting soils may cause a brick wall to split, and bricks walls are not as strong as walls built from stone.
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Last updated on Mar 3, 2015