Glossary

Building & Brick Laying Terminology
Adobe Brick

Adobe bricks are unfired mud bricks, formed in wooden shuttering. Drawings survive on clay tablets from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt show large buildings of mud brick. By 3500 BC, fired bricks came into use. The Ishtar Gate (575 BC) is an example of exceptionally fine glazed brickwork.

Arris

The edge of a brick.

Bed Joint

The horizontal joint.

Bonds

The pattern of headers and stretchers employed gives rise to different bonds such as the common bond (with every sixth course composed of headers), the English bond, and the Flemish bond (with alternating stretcher and header bricks present on every course). Vertically staggered bonds are stronger and less prone to cracking.

Building line

A bricklaying tool. Building line is sold in rolls and is obtainable from any hardware store.

Buttering

A bricklaying term. Means applying mortar to the end or side of a brick when laying bricks.

Chasing

A bricklaying term. Cutting grooves into brickwork for electrical or plumbing pipes.

Closer

A bricklaying term. A brick cut in two, lengthways

Course

A bricklaying term. A complete row of bricks (brick plus mortar joint).

Damp Proof Course

A DPC, is a layer of material, such as PVC, at least 150mm above ground level to prevent moisture rising up the wall.

Foundation

The brickwork and concrete below the Damp Proof Course or DPC.

Gauge Rod

A bricklaying tool. This is a long straight edge, marked at intervals equal to the thickness of one brick, plus the thickness of the mortar joint. It ensures that all the corners of a particular structure will be of equal height upon completion.

Header

A bricklaying term. The shortest face of a brick. Combinations of stretchers and headers form the bond or pattern of brickwork.

Jointing

The long jointer is used to make the horizontal hollow key joint on face brickwork. The short jointer is used to finish off the short, perpendicular or vertical joints on facebrick.

Lap

A bricklaying term. The distance the bricks of one course, overlaps with the bricks of another course.

Line Pins

This is a bricklaying tool. The brick courses are laid to the height of the line, which is strung taut between outside corners using the pins or line blocks.

Masonry

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, limestone, concrete block and stucco. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction.

Mortar

A workable paste of sand, lime, cement and water used between bricks to bind concrete masonry units together, fill and seal the irregular gaps between them, and sometimes add decorative colors or patterns in masonry walls.

Quoin

Corner brick - the first brick of each course at the corner. These can have custom designs such as curved edges, especially in heritage buildings. Brick quoins may appear on brick buildings that extrude from the facing brickwork.  Where quoins are used for decoration and not for load-bearing, they may be made from a wider variety of materials including brick, stone or concrete

R-Value

The Thermal Resistance of a building element is abbreviated as the R-Value. The R-Value is a physical property of the material or element. The total R-Value is the sum of all component R-Values of the materials, air spaces and surfaces, which go to make up a building element.

Roof ties

A bricklaying term. Lengths of hoop-iron or strands of wire built into the wall to secure the roof to the walls.

Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient

A measure of the heat entering a structure by way of solar radiation. The SHGC is the Shading Co-efficient of the glazing multiplied by 0.87

Steel Square

A bricklaying tool. The large mason’s square is used to layout guidelines and to check inside and outside corners during building. As it is made of steel, it will rust. Keep it lightly oiled

Stretcher

A bricklaying term. The long face of a brick. Combinations of stretchers and headers form the bond or pattern of brickwork.

Trowel

A Pointing Trowel looks like the bricklaying trowel and is used for filling in small holes with mortar. The Mastic Trowel has a long narrow blade and is used when pointing brickwork.

U-Value

This is a measure of the heat energy which will pass through the material or building element when a temperature of one degree K is applied across the element. The total R-Value is mathematically, the inverse of the Total U-Value which is the Total Thermal Transmittance RT = 1 UT