Brick Tiles - Introduction
The term ‘brick’ refer to a solid unit composed of clay, formed into a rectangular prism and fired in a kiln. Two basic categories of bricks are fired and non-fired bricks.
Thin-fired clay units, commonly known as brick tiles were first developed in the 1950s as a way to replace existing construction but have since gained increasing popularity in the present building industry because they have the aesthetics of traditional bricks masonry with the economic benefits that are realized in using thinner tiles.
How are Brick Tiles Produced
Normally brick tiles are 50% - 60% by weight silica (sand), 20% - 30% by weight alumina (clay) and the remaining ingredients of lime, iron oxide and magnesia.
To manufacture the bricks, sand is added to raw clay to reduce shrinkage. The clay is first grounded and mixed with water to the desired consistency. The clay paste is then pressed into moulds with a hydraulic press or cut into desired thickness by a wall of wires .
The shaped tiles are then dried and fired at 900 to 1000 degrees centigrade to achieve strength , hardness and its final appearance. Although bricks come in many dimensions, brick tiles are generally only 11-13 mm in thickness.
Characteristics of Brick Tiles
The colours of a brick tile are influenced usually by the chemical and mineral contents of the raw materials, the firing temperature and the atmosphere in the kiln.
Bricks may be pink due to iron contents or yellow due to higher lime content. Most brick tiles will burn to various signature red hues as the temperature is increased.
Brick tinting to change the colours to blend in with the surrounding masonry may be performed as also glaze may be applied to make the tiles more impervious or to give them an ornamental surface.
The correct brick tile for a job can be selected from a choice of colours, surface texture, weight, density, absorption structure ,thermal & moisture characteristic and fire resistance.
Advantages of Brick Tiles
Some of the advantages of brick tiles when compared with other light-weighted cladding systems are as follows:
Light weight - Imparts lesser load to a building, giving foundation and more support for the finished structure. Installation is faster and easier with less labour needed.
Economical – They have great potential for space saving since their thickness is 1/3 of other brick walls.
Security - Brick’s superior chemical stability makes it flame retardant, smokeless, low-carbon, durable, weather and impact resistant such as abuse and vandalism .It is also acid proof and has anti bacterial qualities.
Comfort - Brick’s natural high thermal mass results in low temperature changes, making an enclosed area where it is used cool and well ventilated. It is both energy saving and environmentally friendly. It has excellent acoustic insulation, thus reducing noise.
Brick tiles are particularly suitable for interior and exterior wall decoration of family home, luxury apartments, office buildings, shops, restaurants, hospitals and especially for high-rise building.
They are in fact Nature’s best material to protect humans against Nature’s worst elements: the sun, rain and wind, at the same time retaining Nature’s rustic beauty’
Modern day brick tiles are produced in many shapes and colors as seen below to offer more variety to architecture and interior designs.