Brick Unit Masonry


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8.5" x 11"
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Brick Unit Masonry

Use this 3 part SimpleSpecs master specification to specify brick unit masonry construction, either load-bearing, non-load-bearing, or veneered applications.

Brick masonry is composed of clay fired in a kiln to produce a dense product for exterior or interior locations.  Brick can be manufactured to either ASTM C216 or C652, depending on the manufacturer.

Exposed faces can be smooth or receive wire cut, striated, glazed, and other finishes.

Face brick is a dense-fired exterior face left exposed to the weather. Common brick is manufactured without a dense exterior face.  It is suitable for interior locations or as a backup to other finishes where it is not exposed to the weather.

Load-bearing and non-load-bearing brick masonry typically include both horizontal and vertical reinforcing. Since it does not typically include a weep drainage network, it can be susceptible to moisture infiltration when exposed to the weather.

Masonry veneer is placed over other masonry backups or exterior sheathing. This type of masonry construction allows for installing a weep drainage system consisting of a weather barrier placed on the backup or sheathing, an air space, base flashings, and weeps.

A cavity mesh should be used to prevent mortar from clogging the weeps. Flexible ties should be used to secure the veneer to the backup construction to allow for differential movement.

What is efflorescence?

Some brick masonry is susceptible to efflorescence, a condition in which moisture that enters the masonry is drawn to the exterior surface upon evaporation, bringing salts within the masonry to the surface, where they are deposited as a white powder.

Efflorescence can be easily removed using a specialty cleaner if caught early. Efflorescence tends to decrease over time as the salts decrease and shows up worse on darker surfaces.

For assistance in selecting and detailing brick masonry, refer to the Brick Industry Association (BIA)’s Technical Notes on Brick Construction at

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Brick Unit Masonry

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