No conversation about building materials would be complete without including brick in the discussion. Brick has been around since water first met dirt. Archeological evidence shows that brick has been used in building for thousands of years. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.
Since ancient times, the product has improved considerably as clay was added for durability and heat was applied to improve hardness. While improved materials such as silica and ceramics have been added, the modern versions of brick are still modified recipes of sand, water, clay and heat. Brick's hardiness is proven by the fact that brick is one of the few building materials that is routinely salvaged and re-used.
In addition to longevity, brick offers good insulation and weatherproofing. It requires no paint, so it does not fade. Sound good so far? There's more. If you think that building with brick lacks imagination, think again. You are not limited to red blocks 8" long 4" wide by 2 1/2" tall (the "standard" size). There are various colors and shapes for the design application desired.
Structural bricks are for construction.
There are three grades of brick to choose from:
Pavers come in various shapes and sizes.
Brickwork is easier than you think, and is considered fun or relaxing by many (bricklaying was one of Winston Churchill's many hobbies). Do not rush into this however, you need a lot of practice and training before tackling any structural or load-bearing projects.
Brick can be cut with a brick chisel and hammer. Carborundum blades for circular saws make clean mitre cuts. Brick saws with diamond blades are available at rental stores. Wear eye protection anytime you cut brick. If you must store brick, avoid ground contact or contact with sun or rain. These factors could stain the brick or increase water absorption beyond the normal limits.
Good design idea: Don't forget — your fashion choices are not limited only to the brick's colour and shape. Mortar is available in different colors and joint styles.