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Question DetailsAsked on 11/22/2017

Hello, We are building a new home and the contractor installed brick which was chipped. Is this common:?

They indicated it is common for brick to chip during travel, then still install it and then color it to match the areas which are not chipped. Is this normal? Does it impact the integrity of the brick?

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1 Answer


Minor chipping will be found - maybe in say, oh - maybe 5-10% of bricks, though the percentage showing it on the exposed face should not be readily noticeable. Properly shipped bricks (palletized and padded) which are properly unloaded and moved individually (not just cutting the banding and dumping it on its side or tossing them into a wheelbarrow to move to the placement location) should not show significant chipping or scratches.

This assumes it was new brick - not recycled. If it has mortar sticking to it or shows visible weathering or leaching out, then he should not have used old brick on new construction unless you specified "antique" or "distressed" brick, which are common terms for reusing old brick for architectural effect. Generally considered a bad practice for solid brick walls over one or maybe two stories high or with large arched openings, but commonly used without problems for facade brick or one-story brick houses.

Structural impact, assuming we are talking minor chipping, not significant pieces broken off or cracking through the brick, should be minimal - but of course the more they were handled roughly the more will have internal cracks which might not show yet, but may eventually crack through in the wall. A small number of those should not have significant effect on the strength of the wall, obviously put in a lot and you are asking for trouble.

The thing about staining it to match bothers me a bit - especially if this is a brick house rather than just facade brick. Properly fired structural brick is the same color all the way through - surface-fired or sun-dried brick (non-structural uses only in the US) have only the surface fired to the point of becoming "brick" rather than clay (or with sun-dried are not fired at all so are just dried clay), so the surface is commonly signfiicantly darker than the interior, or may even be stained before curing/firing to a different color, with the interior a dramatically different clay material or a composite of clay and sand and who knows what (especially if imported), which is almost always not up to code for structural brick use.

If you have an architect working for you on this job, ask his opinion and that he ask the buyilder for certificates on the brick that it is suitable for the use it is being put to.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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