We already know the basic building materials based on leaven, mortar and concrete. This time it is time to enter the world of red gold, I invite you to play with clay 🙂
What is building ceramics?
Construction ceramics are products made from a mixture in which clay is the main component. It is a clay material, whose characteristic feature is the loss of plasticity under the influence of high temperature. An additional advantage of firing clay is the loss of chemically bound water, which makes most ceramic materials resistant to frost.
Due to the firing temperature of building ceramics, we divide them into:
a) porous – fired at 900-1100°C, with a porosity of 5 to even 30%;
b) baked – fired at a temperature above 1100°C, with a maximum porosity of 5 %.
We can also divide construction ceramics according to their purpose, and then we will talk about:
a) structural, represented mainly by brick and hollow bricks;
b) finishing, i.e. mainly tiles, both wall and floor tiles;
c) sanitary, means the so-called “white assembly”, means washbasins, toilet bowls, etc.
Ceramic masonry products – bricks
The most common ceramic product is, of course, brick, but as it turns out, brick is not equal. We have many types and varieties of bricks, which differ both in application and strength characteristics.
1) Ordinary building brick used to erect construction walls, ceilings, vaults, columns as well as retaining walls and other building elements. Although nowadays it has been largely replaced by other brick materials of larger dimensions, practically no construction can do without solid brick. We use it as a foundation, lintel slots, or wall reinforcement in the place of external door fixing. On many construction sites, it is used in various ways, and if we have the skill of bricklaying from regular bricks, then any other material should be bricked much more pleasantly.
The building brick is a cuboid of 25x12x6.5cm dimensions. It consists of two bases, two carts and two heads. A base is a plane measuring 25x12cm, the carter measuring 25×6.5cm, and the main one is the smallest plane measuring 12×6.5cm.
In order to be able to make a brickwork binding, it is necessary to use also fractional bricks (picture below).
2. hollow brick is a product created to “slim down” a bit heavy weighing between 3-4 kg solid brick. While maintaining the same dimensions, by making holes inside the material, the material is about a kilogram lighter. It is mainly used to erect 12 or 6.5 cm thick partition walls, but also to build Klein ceilings. We can meet a hollow brick with holes along with the carts or heads.
3. grid brick has rhombus hollows running perpendicularly to the surface of its laying to improve the thermal insulation of the material. Similarly to the hollow brick, it has a grooved finish of the side surfaces which allows for better mortar adhesion. The truss brick is produced in a standard size of a solid brick (K1) or its multiple (K2, K3).
4. fireplace brick intended for the erection of free-standing chimneys. It owes its unique shape to this application of the ring cut-out. It was produced in various lengths every 50 mm, starting from 100.
5. clinker brick produced from specially selected types of refractory clays. It is characterized by high tightness, durability and high compressive strength which makes it suitable for bricklaying structures exposed to water. However, its main application is building facades, especially when we talk about a three-layer wall system. There is a huge number of different clinker bricks in production which differ in form, texture and, above all, in colour.
Elements of a much larger size than classical building bricks, which undoubtedly speeds up the pace of masonry work considerably. Produced as hollow bricks, with smooth sides, often with handles for carrying and designed for load-bearing bricklaying walls and partition walls, not recommended for bricklaying foundations.
1. MAX blocks, with non-standard dimensions of 288mm long, 188mm wide and 132, 188 or 220mm high. The hollow bricks MAX constitute over 40% of the element base area.
2. U-block, with dimensions adapted to ordinary brick, has slightly fewer hollows than MAX blocks.
3. Porotherm 25 P+W, is currently a frequently used type of hollow brick used for tongue and groove bricklaying, thus without the need for vertical joints. Thanks to this, the thermal insulation of the whole partition is improved, and the bricklaying process itself is significantly accelerated.
4) Smoke and ventilation ducts blocks, produced in two types, with or without side outlet. They significantly facilitate and accelerate the work related to the construction of ducts.
Dense ceramic ceilings are nowadays used less and less frequently, but we can still come across them not so much when erecting new buildings as when renovating old ones.
1) The Ackerman’s hollows have a filling character in the Ackerman’s dense ribbed ceiling. They are available in different varieties and heights.
2) Ceram ceiling blocks with an application as in the case of Ackerman, and similarly, they are available in different varieties and heights.
Ceramic tiles for materials made of clay, the top layer of which is covered with “angoba” or glaze for protection. “Angoba” is a layer of clay applied directly before the tile is fired, while glaze is a layer of molten glass used in a double firing process. We know a lot of different types of tiles, but it is probably already material for a separate article, as well as the extensive topic of ceramic tiles and sanitary ceramics.