The use of Brick as a building material dates back to 7500 BC. These bricks consisted of clay or mud and were dried in the sun or in a wood fired kiln until they became hard and strong enough to use.
It would be the Romans who would spread this technology to the rest of the world through the use of mobile kilns. Many of Europe's oldest structures are made out of Brick including the Roman aqueducts. The use of brick reached its height during the late 19th century as cities updated their sanitation systems by installing underground sewers.
The fact that these structures are still standing to this day serves as a testament to the durability and longevity of this construction material. The use of concrete would eventually displace brick as a preferred construction material due to its efficiency and lower cost.
Use In Building Construction
Despite being one of the oldest construction materials in existence, the use of brick is still prevalent. This is due in part to many characteristics unique to this building material. One of these features is that brick has a high thermal mass.
Meaning that brick absorbs heat and gradually releases it. Bricks can also remain cool for long periods of time after air conditioning has been turned off. Making it a preferred material for energy efficiency.
Other advantages to the use of brick is that it is resistant to fire and they prevent the growth of toxic mold by not being a source of food for mold and through their high resistance to water. The same characteristics that make brick a robust and energy efficient material is also its greatest drawback since brick is extremely heavy and the mortar used to fuse them together can deteriorate over time.
Brick is still considered a premium construction material and thus demands a premium price.
The weight of bricks drives up transportation costs and despite being around since the dawn of time, the construction of brick facades hasn't changed much and is still very labor intensive.
If you decide to utilize brick in your structure it is imperative to hire a skilled mason, though finding one can be quite challenging, further adding to costs.
It is important that brick structures are installed correctly since repairs can be complicated and quite costly.
This finish will last a lifetime since bricks don't have to be painted, they don't rot and are resistant to all forms of weather.
It is also a sustainable form of construction since the demand for worn and weathered bricks exceeds that for new ones. This is accomplished through the salvage of bricks from past structures.