Different types of bricks and blocks used in construction.

Since many years construction industry has seen many changes. Building is constructed using different material in different regions depending upon the availability of the material or some compulsion. Bricks or blocks are the main content of any building. Let us try to understand different types of bricks and blocks used in construction.

First of all let us list the different types of bricks and block used in construction.

  1. Burnt Clay Bricks
  2. Calcium Silicate Bricks.
  3. Concrete Bricks or Blocks.
  4. Fly Ash Bricks.
  5. AAC Blocks.

These are few of the bricks and blocks we will be discussion about. Let us start with the first one, the oldest one, most economical one, most common one and the most admired and hated one.

Burnt Clay Bricks

Burnt Clay Bricks are age old bricks which are used almost all over the world. These bricks are very common and primarily used in Indian Sub Continent. (You are correct India is not just a country – it is a continent. If you add Pakistan, Balochistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan it is really the most promising continent).

These bricks are made using natural clay soil and sand. The brick blocks are normally hand made using the local clay and sand and water. They are dried in air and later burnt in fire at around 1000 to 1100 centigrade.

There are different grades in these burnt clay bricks. Let us briefly understand the grades.

First Grade Burnt Clay Brick.

This is the quality of the brick. As the name says it is first grade. The shape of the brick is perfect, the density of the brick is perfect, the hardness and softness of the brick is perfect. Looks great and gives a wonderful finish to your construction. The water absorption of these first grade bricks is moderate. They do not get damaged easily. In short they are free from any of the defect associated with the bricks.

These bricks are made in a very controlled manufacturing process and quality and process is monitored at every stage.

Second Grade Burnt Clay Bricks

These are the bricks which develop some defects in comparison to the first grade bricks. The second grade burnt clay bricks are the maximum quantity of bricks that are available in the market, this I suppose. In the process of making first grade burnt clay bricks these second grade bricks comes into existence. Also some manufacturers who are not capable of making the first grade bricks can easily make the second grade bricks.

The major defects in Second Grade Burnt Clay Bricks are:

  1. Not perfect in shade and size.
  2. Some minor or major finishing issues.
  3. Issues with hardness and softness.
  4. Look and feel of the bricks.
  5. Water absorption.
  6. Colour and finish of the brick.
  7. Strength of the brick.

Here it is important to mention that Second Class Burnt Clay Bricks can be used easily in normal construction work.

There are further classification in Second Class Burnt Clay Brick:

  1. First Class – Second Grade.
  2. Second Class – Second Grade.
  3. Third Class – Second Grade.
  4. Fourth Class – Second Grade.

I think there is no need to explain the above. First one is the best in the Second Grade and the fourth one is the last in the Second Grade.

In my personal opinion other bricks are replacement, substitute or advancement of the above brick. Due to environmental issues, non availability of clay in certain areas and different other political, environmental, commercial and technical issues other bricks has come into existence.

Calcium Silicate Bricks

Calcium Silicate means Lime (in hindi we call it “Chuna”). These bricks are made using Lime and Sand. Lime is the bonding agent in this brick.

The paste of lime and sand is made and the brick blocks are made using some mechanical of hydraulic pressure. The nicely pressed bricks are then allowed to dry. Later they are put into a chamber where they are heated using hot steam.

These bricks has many advantages over burnt clay bricks like:

  1. Saves Cost of the project by saving on plastering and time.
  2. The work can be done faster.
  3. The bricks has very good thermal rejection leading to less heat.
  4. The bricks also blocks sound.
  5. Gives uniform look and finish

All the above things you will get if you find a good quality Calcium Silicate Brick. Your work is find a reliable source who supplies good quality Calcium Silicate Bricks. Finding the right quality is a big challenge in these bricks. These bricks cannot be used everywhere. The best places to use these bricks are the walls and partitions only. You should not use them in foundation, basement etc. Make your research before using these bricks.

Concrete Block

They are simple blocks of cement and mortar. They can be made at the site itself if the project is large. The concrete blocks can be solid, semi hollow or even hollow blocks can also be made. Ready made Concrete blocks are also available in many areas.

As the weight of the concrete blocks can be quite heavy. The cost can also be higher. The engineers have developed different sustainable methods to reduce the weight of the concrete blocks and also to reduce the cost by making three different types of concrete blocks:

  1. Solid Concrete Blocks.
  2. Semi Hollow Concrete Blocks.
  3. Hollow Concrete Blocks.

The Hollow Blocks are technically advanced form of concrete blocks. They have few advantages of normal solid concrete blocks. If there is not compulsion of using the solid Concrete Block, it is always recommended to use hollow blocks to reduce the weight of the building and reduce the cost of construction.

As these are Cement Blocks they have to made using sufficient cement content and curing must be done properly in these blocks.

The point of different grades and quality is a very important issue. You must be extra vigilant to get the required blocks of required strength and quality in your construction. You quality should never be compromised as your structure is for years and not for days.

Fly Ash Bricks

Fly ash has become a big headache to environmentalist. All good governments all over the world are trying to find ways to use fly ash. Fly ash is being added in cement and bricks are also being made using fly ash. Other than being environmentally friendly, fly ash bricks have many other advantages like:

  1. They are very light in weight thus reducing the dead load of the building.
  2. Size of the bricks are bigger, hence faster work.
  3. Insulation from fire and heat.
  4. Less transportation damage if quality of the brick is good.
  5. Supports environment by making fly ash usable.
  6. Fly ash bricks are better insulators hence helps in keeping the building cooler. They are very good for thermal insulation.
  7. Absorption of water is low.
  8. Gypsum Plaster can be directly applied.
  9. Does not require soaking in water prior to use as required in Clay Bricks. Very little water is required.

Above points are valid only when the quality of Fly Ash used and Fly Ash bricks are of good quality. Inferior quality Fly Ash Bricks should not be used. Hence, proper source of material is very important.

The Fly Ash Bricks uses around 60% Fly Ash, around 30% Sand/Dust and 10% Cement. Here the quality of Fly Ash and Quality of Cement used is very important.

AAC Blocks

AAC Blocks are Autoclaved Aerated Cement Blocks. They are light in weight and has very good strength to bear the load. Different sizes are available which is very useful in using in different areas as per requirement.

We must thank the Engineers and inventors of Sweden for inventing this wonderful product. Sand/Fly Ash, Lime, Cement, Gypsum, Water and Aluminum and Steam are the main ingredients of AAC Block. Steam is used to harden the block in autoclaves. AAC Blocks are porous in nature which gives it lots of advantages like :

  • Light Weight
  • Thermal Insulation. Will keep heat and cold out of the building.
  • Fire Resistant.
  • Pest Resistant. As made using inorganic materials.
  • Sound Insulation due to porous properties.
  • Fast Construction.
  • Longer life as made using inorganic material.
  • Style and design friendly.
  • Also considered non toxic.
  • Environment Friendly as energy used for manufacturing is very low and all wastage while manufacturing can be reused.
  • The size of the AAC Block is three times of the volume of raw material used.
  • Uniform in size and weight of AAC Blocks help in getting perfect finish of the building.
  • Internal walls can be directly finished using POP or Gypsum Plaster thus eliminating the use of plastering.
  • Low water penetration from walls can also be achieved.

These are some inputs on different types of bricks that can be used in construction.

Should you have any question, please feel free to comment.

Also visit our Youtube Channel “Interiordost” for more such inputs in hindi.



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