Friday 16 September 2016

Masonry Patterns

The simplest and most common patterns in modern masonry construction are running bond and stack bond. In running bond, masonry units in one course are centred over the head joints in the course below. As any child who’s experimented with blocks knows, this interlocking pattern helps distribute loads and makes the structure more robust. In stack bond, masonry units line up directly with those in the course below. The continuous head and bed joints give the masonry a distinct grid pattern that can have a pleasing aesthetic, particularly when the mortar joints are raked. However, masonry constructed in stack bond is weaker and less robust than masonry constructed in running bond. That said, a carefully designed structure that properly utilizes the modular dimensions of concrete blocks can potentially be less expensive to build in stack bond pattern than in running bond pattern because there’s no need to cut half-blocks at openings.

Figure 1: Running Bond (left) and Stack Bond (right).

Variations of running bond where the offset from one course to the next is somewhere between half a unit (ordinary running bond) and zero (stack bond) are also fairly common. While there could be an infinite number of possibilities here, the most common running bond variants are one-third running bond (1/3 offset) and one-quarter running bond (1/4 offset).

Figure 2: One-Third Running Bond (left) and One-Quarter Running Bond (right).

In addition to the patterns still in common use, there are dozens of other possible patterns; too many to discuss. Some of which were common in the past when multi-wythe construction was common, and some are rare patterns that were simply invented to create unique aesthetics. Below are just a few examples of the different patterns in existence:

Figure 3 (from left to right): 45° Herringbone Bond, Diagonal Bond, Double Basket Weave Bond, and Pinwheel Bond.

Figure 4: American Bond (left) and Scottish Bond (right).
Headers shown in brown, stretchers in orange, and queen closers in grey.

Figure 5: English Bond (left) and Flemish Bond (right).
Headers shown in brown, stretchers in orange, and queen closers in grey.

Figure 6: Monk Bond (left) and Sussex Bond (right).
Headers shown in brown, stretchers in orange, and queen closers in grey.

BIA. (1975). Technical Note 2: Glossary of Terms Relating to Brick Masonry. Brick Industry Association, Reston, VA.
BIA. (1999). Technical Note 30: Bonds and Patterns in Brickwork. Brick Industry Association, Reston, VA.
Brunskill, R. W. (1997). Brick Building in Britain. Gollancz, London, UK.
Hatzinikolas, M. A. and Korany, Y. (2005). Masonry Design for Engineers and Architects. Canadian Masonry Publications, Edmonton, Alberta.
Lloyd, N. (1925). A History of English Brickwork. Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, UK.

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