A fully descriptive guide for developers on the types of facing brick







Generally speaking, there are 2 types of facing brick. The wirecut or extruded brick and the handmade ‘stock’ brick. Both types of brick come in different colours and textures and suit a variety of building projects.

The decision on choosing your type of brick for your building development can be a complicated one. On one hand you have the aesthetics and on the other you have factored in your price. This makes the whole decision trickier. Our guide explores the two types of facing brick, the options available and what brick is best to use.

Wirecut bricks

The wirecut method is the most popular method of brick production. With it, you can manufacture a high volume of bricks quickly. Sometimes, up to around 20,000 bricks an hour! The clay is driven through an extrusion head to form a long column of clay. Then, they cut a column into smaller, more manageable pieces. Next, we cut the column into bricks of the desired length by wire. Hence the name. One distinctive characteristic of a wirecut brick is that they tend to have holes running through the bricks. These bricks require less energy for drying and firing and are also lighter and easier to handle. This manufacturing process produces hard, dense bricks with a more consistent size and shape, sharper corners and a more contemporary appearance.

Wirecut bricks can vary drastically in appearance. Our pressed pre-war common bricks display deep reds, oranges and the distinguished dark ‘overburns’ from the firing process. This manufacturing technique leads to a naturally weathered texture and appearance of burnt clay brick. They are hydraulically pressed to remove any shape imperfections and a great choice for developments in keeping within the local region.

outside blend brick stack
types of facing brick

Smooth red

Compare this to our smooth red extruded wirecut bricks that have a uniform appearance and glazed finish. Smooth Reds are a popular facing brick for new builds and extensions, especially in the Midlands and the North, where their colour closely matches much of the existing housing stock. For our huge range of high quality British wirecut bricks for sale, you should also check out our brick selector. Accordingly, we have one of the biggest varieties of wirecut brick ranges, of any UK brick manufacturer, to choose from.

Wirecut types of facing brick example

A stunning property built using Wirecut MBS Banded Pre War Bricks, which were popular in the North West at the turn of the century. These smooth wire cut speciality bricks come complete with the distinctive pale clay flashes seen throughout the brickwork of towns and cities of the region.

types of facing brick

Handmade stock bricks

Handmade bricks have a more traditional or reclaimed appearance, offering a softer and warmer brick aesthetic, without compromising on technical performance. Hand-making involves the forming of the clay by hand, coating it in sand and throwing it into a mould. These soft mud bricks are perfect for older brickwork styles to match surrounding buildings and regional variations. They are perfect for conservation areas to emulate colours and sizes of older brickwork styles for your building project.

The Charm of Handmade Stock Bricks

Brimming with character, our handmade bricks have a truly lived-in look and texture, with authentic shades of red and orange, firing overburns and clay flashing adding to their appeal. This makes them perfect for everything from renovations, restoration projects or being at the heart of new-build developments. Handmade bricks have a rougher, open texture and feature a more bespoke look with a range of colours as well as sizes. This reflects in the price. Consequently, they cost around four times as much as machine-made.

Our handmade bricks also have an indent or ‘frog’ on the top of the brick. The frog reduces the amount of material used to form the brick. This makes it easier to remove from the moulds and gives the completed wall better shear resistance. Due to slight variations in chemical composition, no two bricks are identical. This can lead to slight colour differences. However, certain styles will feature clay flashing or overburns, which some customers view as a desirable effect.

types of facing brick
smoked red brick stack

Types of handmade stock bricks

We have a huge selection of handmade bricks that vary drastically in appearance. Replicating authentic reclaimed bricks, Ashbourne’s feature distinctive lighter tones thanks to the bleaching properties of the lime mortar which was used to lay them. Each brick is cleaned and reconditioned but retains its all-important character and texture.

Another option is The Smoked Red, imitating the appearance of lived-in urban brickwork. These handmade bricks are beautifully soot-weathered to blend in with neighbouring homes and walls.

Handmade brick example

This distinctive country house extension required a match that blends consistently with the original 20th-century brickwork. After careful consideration, we picked our reclamation blend to match the main house perfectly

types of facing brick