If you have questions about bricks and mortar, you’ve come to the right place. But just in case we haven’t answered one of your questions below, feel free to call us 13 15 79
Q: What size is a ‘standard’ brick?
A: 230 x 76 x110mm. Of course, not everyone follows these measurements to the letter, but this is the ‘Australian Standard’.
Q What are ‘exposure grade (EXP)’ bricks?
A: These are bricks built to withstand saline (salty) environments and their exposure grading is determined by a lab test. They are recommended when building up to 1km from a surf coast or up to 100m from a non-surf coast.
Q: What is ‘efflorescence’?
A: Efflorescence is a fancy way of describing the white, salty powder that sometimes appears on bricks (usually from salts in cement and mortar). Fortunately, the powder is completely harmless and will usually weather away with time. You can brush it off, although it may return if the salt source is still active.
Q: Is there a standard mortar mix for brickwork?
A: The most common mix is a) one part cement, b) one part lime and c) six parts sand (M3 1:1:6, though the 'Australian Standard’ lists 7 other mix options). Whichever mix you choose, however, we strongly recommend one containing lime as it makes the mortar more durable and less prone to cracks.
Q: What is ‘Thermal Lag’?
A: ‘Thermal Lag’ is a term used to describe the way bricks both absorb and release heat slowly (hence the ‘lag’ part). It helps keep brick homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Q: How should new brickwork be cleaned?
A: The best time to clean brickwork is while it is being laid. Mortar smears should be cleaned as soon as possible using a scrubbing brush, running water and a sponge. If mortar hardens, acid cleaning can be used, but only as a last resort.
Q: How are bricks made?
A: PGH bricks are made from clay, shale and other minerals that are moulded into the ‘brick’ shape then fired (cooked) at temperatures up to 1200°C.
Q: Are today’s bricks as good as they used to be?
A: Actually they’re better. Thanks to improved technology, not only are today’s bricks are stronger than ever before, they also come in a wider variety of colours and textures.
Q: What is the ‘face’ of a brick?
A: A brick’s ‘face’ is the side designed to be seen. Most bricks only have one ‘face’ and therefore it is important that bricklayers lay them correctly.
Q: Why do some bricks have holes?
A: Bricks with holes (or ‘extruded bricks’) are manufactured with these holes to ensure that when they are fired, they cook evenly. The holes, up to 30% of material thickness, have no effect on the insulation or fire resistance of the brick (as confirmed by Australian Standards).
Q: Can bricks be reused?
A: Yes. In fact, bricks are one of the few construction materials that can. The only circumstance where a brick might not be suitable for reuse is if that brick was not manufactured for a saline environment or wasn’t intended to be a ‘face’ brick.
Q: Are bricks environmentally responsible?
A: Absolutely. Bricks have a remarkably low environmental cost, an extraordinary long life. Their thermal mass even reduces the need for artificial heating and cooling.
Q. What is a BASIX (Building Sustainability Rating)?
A: When designing energy efficient buildings, the architect and consulting engineers need to be able to calculate the heat loss or gain of materials used to construct the buildings. This is why building materials are categorises into 3 categories: Light (L), Medium (M) and Dark (D). Light coloured being a low solar absorptance and Dark coloured being a higher solar absorptance.
Basic BRICK terms
The specific production run of bricks or pavers.
Building Code of Australia.
The edges of the face of some bricks are bevelled or sloped, providing a softer decorative effect.
Also called 'brickies sand'. Common term for sand used for making mortar. Colour can vary by region and therefore impact the mortar colour achieved.
Construction where a timber or metal frame is covered with a lining material for internal walls and a single leaf or layer of brickwork forms the exposed exterior of the building.
An aesthetic treatment during firing to create light to dark blushes. Also known as 'flashing'.
Very fine non-structural cracks on the face of the brick.
A course, or layer, of impervious material in a wall or floor to prevent the migration of moisture. Also called 'damp-proof course' or DPC. The Building Code of Australia requires the DPC to visibly extend beyond the mortar.
A white or sometimes coloured powder, often furry in appearance, that can form on the surface of brickwork. This is caused by salt deposits in the mortar and can easily be brushed off. It disappears over time.
A method used during firing to create light to dark blushes or areas of deepened colour.
Footings or foundations
The base of a building, usually concrete, designed to transfer loads to the ground.
Full or double brick
Construction where most of the external and internal walls are made of brick. The external walls are usually composed of two layers of brick, with a 50mm cavity between them.
How the layer of mortar between two bricks is finished.
Containing only one colour.
A mixture of lime, cement, sand and water.
A builder who controls the building process of their own home, managing the project and coordinating subcontractors.
A package or bundle of bricks or pavers prepared for delivery.
A texturing process where a coloured solution is applied and kiln fired into the body of the brick to create a permanent, ceramic finish.
A form of efflorescence derived from yellow or green salt deposits that is particularly visible on light-coloured bricks.
Weighted Sound Reduction Index (Rw)
A measure of the reduction in sound level passing through a wall.
Also called extruded bricks, these are bricks with holes made by forcing a column of clay through a die, and then cutting with a wire.
If you have questions about pavers, you’ve come to the right place. But just in case we haven’t answered one of your questions below, feel free to call us 13 15 79.
Q: Are PGH pavers suitable for use in driveways?
A: Yes. Depending how these pavers are laid, however, not all are right for all driveways. Please call us on 13 15 79 if you need more information.
Q: Can I use my pavers around a pool or near the sea?
A: Not all pavers are manufactured for use in marine environments. Fortunately, PGH has a large selection of products that are suitable for these environments.
Q: Can I lay pavers on a steep driveway?
A: There are definitely situations where a slope may be too steep for laying pavers. The best way to discover if your driveway is suitable is to discuss it with your licensed tradesperson.
Q: Are PGH pavers sealed?
A: The majority of PGH pavers are sealed with Pavegard. This coating that helps guard against efflorescence and staining.
Q: Can I lay pavers on crusher dust?
A: No. Due to issues with staining and drainage, it is an industry practice not to lay pavers on crusher dust.
Q: What guarantees do you offer?
A: We guarantee that all our products will be fit for purpose. Due to the natural variation that occurs in fired clay products affecting colour, texture and other features, however, we can’t guarantee our products will match any sample or brochure.
Q: How long will the colour last in my pavers?
A: PGH pavers are made from fired clay, ensuring their colour and strength will last a lifetime.
Q: What is the minimum amount I can order?
A: The minimum amount varies between states due to different packaging configurations. To check the minimum in your state call us on 13 15 79.