As long-format bricks gain increasing popularity amongst architects, builders, and homeowners, it becomes important to explore the numerous ways they impact our built environment. In some of our past blog posts, we’ve discussed the environmental advantages of traditional brick manufacturing and natural clay as a versatile and durable material suited to a wide range of construction projects. However, the Milan range of long bricks presents an environmental benefit beyond production and the inherent advantages of natural clay. When paired with the random bond pattern, the Milan Series allows builders to make the most out of off-cuts, resulting in a strong, balanced structure, and reduced carbon footprint. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at random bond patterns, and how long bricks can help you maximise resource efficiency, enhance your project’s durability, and lead to a more enduring and environmentally-friendly design.
Why Choose Natural Clay?
What is it about natural clay that makes it such a tempting choice for builders and architects across the globe? While we have answered this question at length in several of our in-depth articles, including ‘Top 10 Reasons Clay Bricks Are a Sustainable Building Material’, and ‘The Benefits of Building with Handcrafted Clay Bricks’, it is important to preface any discussion of bricklaying with the integral characteristics of bricks as well.
To give you a quick rundown of the essentials, bricks made from natural clay are a hardy, robust and durable material that withstands external elements with uncontested proficiency. Clay bricks are resistant to moisture, heat, cold, and even UV exposure, maintaining their rich, saturated colours regardless of mother nature’s whims. They are also excellent insulators, both when it comes to maintaining a comfortable indoor climate and reducing the penetration of sound through walls. However, their accolades are hardly limited to pure function. Clay bricks are also aesthetically versatile and perfectly suited to all manner of projects, with the Milan series being a true testament to the exceptional and singular nature of this time-honoured material.
What is a random bond pattern?
Most brick facades you will see on a daily basis have some form of rhyme and reason for how they have been organised, and many will jump at the opportunity to introduce sophisticated flair to their design by employing complex flemish or stack bond patterns. While this is very much the standard method for bricklaying it is not always the optimal option. A random bond flips the idea of orderly bricklaying on its head and introduces a more organic method for bricklaying that eschews the dogma of order and strict guidelines. But what are the advantages of laying bricks in this way? In this section, we’ll discuss why you may want to choose a random bond pattern for your next project. From unique aesthetics to the efficient use of resources, there is a multitude of factors to consider.
A random bond pattern is commonly employed for aesthetic reasons, as it boasts a rugged, natural, and rustic appearance that helps to emphasise the unique character and texture of the brick being used. Although a random bond pattern may appear unplanned or irregular, the technique requires careful workmanship to ensure the bricks are laid evenly and form a cohesive whole. A random bond should never appear entirely chaotic. This may be a sign of shoddy craftsmanship, and should never be seen as a reflection of the random pattern bond itself.
Efficient use of resources
The random bond pattern is ideal if you’re looking to optimise your use of the long brick. This is because the random bond pattern incorporates a medley of brick sizes, off-cuts, and even broken brick pieces. As the random bond makes use of bricks that would otherwise be discarded, this approach results in only the generation of minimal waste and contributes to a more environmentally-friendly project.
Increased cost savings
Because standard bond patterns rely on the even arrangement of fault-free bricks, they can result in a large amount of waste, where off-cuts and fragments are simply disposed of, rather than incorporated into the design. In contrast, the random bond makes use of these otherwise discarded materials and as such offers an excellent strategy for lowering costs. It’s important to keep in mind that long bricks are more expensive than standard bricks, which is why employing a random bond can result in a more affordable project.
No one embarks on a construction project to build a resource-intensive structure that requires constant upkeep. A random bond pattern is an excellent way to reduce maintenance costs as it is more likely to result in an evenly distributed structural load, leading to a durable and robust project that can better withstand habitable use, the elements, and the natural deterioration that inevitably accompanies the passage of time.
Craftsmanship is essential
While one may assume that the irregular nature of the random bond means that bricklayers can get away with less-than-stellar craftsmanship, the very opposite is true. Due to the complex and freeform nature of the random bond, bricklayers must ensure that, while the bricks do not follow a strict set of rules, they still form a cohesive whole and maintain an internal rhythm that results in a cohesive aesthetic. For example, using bricks with a height greater than the brick’s depth will also produce a discordant design that will be jarring to the viewer, while an uneven joint width will generate sub-par results.
When used in a random bond pattern, long bricks can contribute to an efficient, durable, aesthetically unique and pleasing structure. While a regular bond pattern may be the standard, a random bond pattern is an exciting and visually captivating alternative with a range of benefits, from cost savings to reduced environmental impact. If you’re an architect, homeowner, or builder seeking a distinct and innovative solution for your next project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts and enquire about the Milan range of long bricks today.