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Make My Brick


Pastel brick ("Paris" from Australbricks) is just one of the new color scheme options to traditional brick colors.

The other day I asked Mr. Brick, our reporter in the field who can smell brick dust from 50 paces, to tell us if there was anything interesting going on out there in the wide world of brick.

"Tumbled bricks are big," he retorted.

"Tumbled bricks?" I snorted. "I know that! People like that aged look. Tell me something I don't know."

Let's Talk Range!

"Well," he ventured, "I bet you don't know that there's brick out there. . .(here he paused and lowered his voice). . .that is pastel."

"Pastel?" I parroted. "Have you ever taken one of those color-blind tests?"

"I swear," he said, a bit indignant. "Not only that, but I've seen brick that is white, gray, tan and various earth tones."

"Tones?" I mocked. "What ever happened to red brick?"

"Oh, that's very popular still in the New England states," he said, "but even there they're adding color."

"I'm still trying to picture pastels," I admitted. "Doesn't it look odd with the mortar?" I asked, ever innocent.

"Not when you use matching pastel mortar, genius, or when you use gray mortar for gray brick, brown mortar for brown brick."

"Yeah, yeah, I get the idea, Einstein."

"Mixing different colors is a la mode, too, and landscape architects are specifying banding," he said smugly.

"Quit showing off," brick dust. "What else?"

Thin Bricks?

"Some manufacturers are making thinner bricks."

"Why's that?"

"Well, it obviously solves some load problems. Sometimes they combine regular brick with the thinner stuff. And I hear the thin stuff helps meet seismic codes."

"You could just specify reinforced brick for that," I suggested, having long lived in earthquake country.

"Dude, you know what's really cool?" he interrupted, ignoring my suggestion."

"I imagine you'll tell me," I sighed.

"Ground face block," he said proudly.

"Huh?" I managed.

"What you do is grind and polish the masonry to accent the stone aggregates in the concrete mix. Companies are also applying an acrylic coating to accentuate and protect the colors."

"Hmm, that does sound cool," I admitted.

What? No Mortar!

"Way cool, dude. Speaking of blocks," he segued, ('blockhead,' I think) "you probably know about mortarless concrete blocks."

"Doesn't sound safe," I ventured, wondering if my reasoning was specious.
"It's called dry stacking and you use tiebacks installed in the bricks. You can dry stack about 10 times faster than the mortaring hassle."

"I'm impressed," I marveled. "I thought you only knew about brick, a kind of one-trick pony."

"Oh, that reminds me, I've got to trot. I'm meeting with a rep from a company that makes cast stone in colors to match brick colors. This I've got to see."

"Hey, whatever moves your secondhand," I said, but he was already out of the paddock.


ICPI Conference

The 2006 International Concrete Paving Conference is scheduled for early November in San Francisco. This three-day conference is aimed at design professionals, landscape architects, concrete paver manufacturers, government officials, university professors and industry associations. Of the 6 billion square feet of concrete block paving, or interlocking concrete pavement, sold worldwide only 400 million square feet were sold last year in the U.S. and Canada, at a growth rate of 15% per year. The conference hopes to educate industry and design professionals on design, specification, construction, and maintenance, thus growing the market in the U.S.

For more information, contact the ICPI., or call 202-712-9036.


USGBC To Work With Masonry Trade

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is ready to work closely with the masonry industry, including the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA), on the continuing development of LEED criteria for masonry in relation to sustainability. There will be an ongoing sharing of technical information, panels on designing green with masonry, and a program involving sending industry experts to speak to the sustainability issue. In the past, USGBC has not allowed trade associations into their membership, however, that issue is now under discussion and a decision will be reached soon. It is important to recognize that all parts of the industry must work together to ensure that it is the best system possible.

For more information, contact

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December 8, 2019, 8:45 am PDT

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