When we talk about brick types, this could mean anything from engineering and facing bricks to different grades of brick. But even with all of these variations, there’s still the colour of bricks to think about. This can make all the difference when thinking about the overall look of a property’s exterior and boundary walls.
Looking at why we have the different colours of brick and mortar gives a better understanding of how they work together. So what are the most widely used brick and mortar colours, and why are they different?
Different places are likely to have different colours of clay. Or rather, the minerals in the clay and the reaction to firing in a kiln will affect the colour. As minerals absorb oxygen during the firing process, the final colour will start to appear.
This means that traditionally the colour of brickwork was fairly specific to the part of the country it was made in. This isn’t always the case today with modern mass production, however, any colour pigment can be added to clay used for brick making to match with a different region’s brickwork.
While some building projects will use brick colours that are ‘true’ to the place in which they’re built, this isn’t the limitation it used to be, not just with mass production but also easy transportation. Now, architects and contractors can select bricks that are right for the project itself, without being limited by geography. Some projects can even include a mix of brick colours for individual expression and uniqueness.
There are around six main brick colours available in the UK. Of course, there are always variations on this, or different terms that can make things a bit more complicated. We’ll cover some of these differences too.
Mortar colour doesn’t often seem like it’s discussed when planning brickwork. However, choosing a particular mortar colour to compliment a project can give an extra dimension to the final look. The colours themselves are a result of different sand used in the mortar mix. As with brick colours, this was usually down to the sand available from particular regions. Again, with more freely available pigments for mass market production, mortar is available in many colours without being dependent on specific parts of the country.
It’s worth pointing out that although there are different mortar colours, these can vary depending on the mortar mix itself. For example, adding lime can make it lighter, while adding more cement can make it darker. Some changes in tone can be expected, as long as the overall colour remains the same throughout the job.
Mortar generally can come in the following colours, however there can be variations from different suppliers. This becomes more important when it comes to matching mortar and bricks, a service offered at Travis Perkins branches. Of this list, grey mortar is perhaps the most common, offering a neutral tone to many traditional brick colours.
Light grey mortar
Dark grey mortar
For most brickwork, a standard colour of bricks and mortar will be used mainly because of costs. When looking for more specialist colours, this can incur higher prices, but if the budget is there the results are worth it for unique and characterful brickwork.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is intended as an overall introduction and is not intended as specific advice from a qualified professional. Travis Perkins aims to avoid, but accepts no liability, in the case that any information stated is out of date.