How to Check Brick Quality in Field ?- Detailed Explanation

We all know that the quality of brickwork directly depends upon the materials we used.

We have also seen how low-quality soil affects the quality of the work in silt content test

How to check brick quality in the field? (at Site)

In this post, we are going to learn how to check the brick quality at the site level. 

Some terms may be sounds like more technical but it’s very simple. So go ahead and read.

Good bricks should have the following characteristics

  • Uniform Shape, Size, and Colour
  • Dimensional Accuracy
  • Hardness
  • Strength
  • Water absorption

1. Uniform Shape, Size, and Colour

Low-quality bricks not only affects the load bearing capacity of the wall but also the aesthetic appearance.

  • It should be well burnt and in uniform shape (Should not like as shown below)

Overburnt Bricks dumped at site

  • It should be uniform sized. No bulks on any side.
  • It should be in a uniform color. Mostly in deep red or copper. Any Other colors are the indication of under burnt or over burnt.
  • Should be free from cracks. 
  • Should be sharply defined at edges. Should not like the below bricks

cracked bricks

 2. Dimensional Accuracy

Quality bricks should have an accurate dimension. +/- 3mm tolerance should be allowed.

Info – Bricks are more economic material in construction. If we use low-quality bricks (uneven & bulky), we have to overcome the defects while plastering the work. Compared to brickwork plastering is costlier. Then the ultimate goal (economic) of using bricks as building components will fail at this moment.

3. Hardness

  • Good quality bricks should be hard. There should be no impression left when you try to make a scratch with your fingernails
  • It should give clear ringing sound when struck with each other
  • It should not break when you drop it from 1.2 meter – 1.5-meter height on the hard ground (concrete floor) or on another brick

4. Water Absorption

Water absorption should not be more than 20% of its dry weight after immersion in water for 1 hour. If the bricks tend to absorb more water than this allowable limit. It will start to absorb the water from the cement mortar while construction. It will affect the strength of the brick bonds.

In Simple,

  • First, weigh the dry bricks and note down it as W1 (Kg)
  • Second, immerse the brick into water for 1 hour
  • Third, remove the brick from the water and weigh it and note down it as W2 (Kg)
  • Finally,

Water Absorption = (W2 – W1) / W1 X 100

Note – In the lab, it should be allowed to immerse in water for at least 24 hours.

The permissible limit of absorption is 20% maximum. It should vary based on brick classes.

Here is the video explanation of water absorption test, we found on YouTube.

5. Efflorescence

This is actually not a field test. But it is essential to know.

We can identify the defects by visual. If you see lots of white patches on the bricks (known as efflorescence) then the brick should be avoided. This is because the bricks are containing more amount of sodium and potassium salt.

Info – Bricks should be free from harmful salts (Sodium and Potassium). If we use these type of bricks in construction, the salt present in the bricks got dissolved while mixing with water and cause structural damage.

If you are not sure about the defects, then you can conduct the lab test according to IS 3495 – 1992.

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Happy Learning 🙂