‘Bonding’ is the term given to the pattern in which bricks are laid. This can have a dramatic effect on the visual appearance and architectural style of the building.
There are a number of ways in which the stretcher (the longer, rectangular face) and the header (the shorter, square face) can be laid, so deciding on a preferred style up front is crucial.
Stretcher bond – courses are laid as ‘stretchers’ with the joint of one course falling midway between the joints of the courses below. Being a single leaf façade, stretcher bond has become the most popular bond as it is time and cost effective.
Header bond pattern often used contrasting brick colours to give a decorative effect. This bond uses so many bricks that it is usually reserved for very high-quality buildings. It can also used for radial brickwork, as the header faces can accommodate smaller radii and was very popular during the 18th century.
English bond alternates between stretcher and header courses, with headers centred over the stretchers underneath. This is the oldest pattern commonly used until the end of the 17th century. English Bond is considered stronger than Flemish bond used for civil engineering projects, such as bridges, viaducts and embankments.
Flemish brick has alternative stretchers and headers on every course, with the headers centred over the stretchers underneath. Flemish bonds can be replicated in the half-brick outer leaf of a cavity wall by using whole bricks as stretchers, while the headers are created by half bricks called bats or snap-headers
English garden wall bond has three courses of stretchers between every course of headers, often in a different colour. Laying stretchers uses up fewer bricks than laying headers and is not as strong hence its use mostly in traditional walled gardens.
Stack bond – vertical or horizontal the bricks do not overlap. As this arrangement is inherently weak, it is typically used as a decorative laying pattern for visual effect. To compensate for the lack of bonding, typically bed-joint reinforcement is built into every third bed-joint.
Random or wild bond is where the bricks are laid using 10% 1/3 and ¼ broken bricks to create a random look in each course.