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Building Technology
 
Exposed brickwork
Hi everybody

I have joined this forum few days back. Really fascinated to read the book on "Laurie Baker" by Mr.Gautam Bhatia. I intend to build a house with exposed brick work, rattrap bond + filler slab.

The biggest obstacle being faced by is acceptance of this vernacular design by my family, relatives, peers etc.,

I need a guidance from the architecture community.

My 1st query is:

Is it possible to preserve the look of exposed brickwork and if so, what is the precaution to be taken?

My 2nd query is:

The soli profile of my plot is upto 3 feet from GL - Brown stiff clay, then upto 1' - soft clay with sand mixed, then upto 2'- hard stiff clay with sand. Now I intend to go for a Random Rubble foundation with a load bearing brick wall. Would it be strong enough?

Suggestions and guidance please,
Siva
Manickam Pillai Sivakumar
Responses
 
Exposed brickwork
+ to preserve the look of exposed brick you need special bricks,you need to have a water poll of clear and chemical free water to submerge this bricks before lying them,need skilled worker and at last pointing in redmortar to be done.+as you your self is an engineer you should sure of strongness of the composit structer you intened to go for.regarding family acceptence,let them get exposed to this trends and influence them from your pear acquatances.
Dushyant Nathwani
Exposed brickwork
You can also try transparent water proofing solutions in case the bricks you use have straight edges & are strong.

Selection of bricks is important (i.e., what kind of soil is used for making fired bricks - do they have salt or not) because during construction, due to their own quality problems or of water, white effervesence is deposited, which takes seasons to near-permanently be removed.

For foundation, please contact your local structural engineer & don't forget to tie the foundation with beams/bands using RCC or any tensile element.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Exposed brickwork
Thanks M/s Chitradeep and Dushyan for the prompt response.

By saying "special brick" you mean wire cut bricks?

Mr.Dushyant, you said "at last pointing in red mortar to be done". Would you please elobarate on this? Thanks.

Regards,

Sivakumar

Mr.Chitradeep, yes, I am providing a plinth beam (RCC) below the ground level.
Manickam Pillai Sivakumar
Exposed brickwork
Please check with str. engr. about plinth beams / bands at various levels (DPC, sill, lintel, roof, etc.). You need to check which `disaster zone' your area falls in. I am presuming that you are building your/someones house.
As per BIS codes you can build load bearing structure upto G+2 only. Any programmes to expand beyond that means column-frame structure.
Rat-trap bond gives good aesthetics w.r.t. normal English or flemming bonds. But pointing needs to be done properly.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Exposed brickwork
Thanks Mr. Chitradeep

I have checked with my structural engineer and he says that beams at sill, lintels, roofs are required for a RCC column based structure and not for load bearing brick walls. As I am considering load bearing brick wall, the above beams are not required.

Thanx

Sivakumar
Manickam Pillai Sivakumar
Exposed brickwork
Mr. Sivakumar,

I am a bit surprised at your engineer's logic.

Tie bands (RCC or any other tensile member like wood, etc.) at variuos levels (as mentioned in my previous post) are required to tie masonry walls like brick or block walls. Otherwise, if cracks develop they go from one end of building to another.
Ask him about it.

Maybe this has been missed out during your discussions.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Exposed brickwork
Thanks Mr.Chitradeep,

Now the problem has taken another dimension. My proposal of building a house with R/R foundation,exposed brick wall with rat trap bond + filler slab has no takers with my family viz., wife,in-laws,brothers etc. The house is to be built in Madurai and it is a city based on agrarian economy and hence people do not like this new concept. Infact, people here have a mindset that concrete structures are stronger than load bearing brick walls irrespective of the fact whether the soil really needs or not. I tried my best to convince my family but they are not willing to buy my proposal.

Hence , i have decided to go for a concrete fondation with RCC coloumns. But still want to have exposed brick wall with rattrap bonds.

But the problem is that there would a discontinuity in the brick wall as there would be RCC coloumns in between.

My kind request would be whether it would be possible to conceal the RCC coloumns with bricks so as to have continuity or any other suggestions ?

Thanks

Siva
Manickam Pillai Sivakumar
Exposed brickwork
You would have to wash your home after rainfall and use some antitermite and antifungal chemicals because most of the risk to exposed brick work is from rain.
Prakash Pathak
Exposed brickwork
Pointing in red mortar is done at the end of total contruction. Pointing means edge of bricks are done in red mortar in perfect finish to give square look, as well from chipping against weather forces. Second, I have seen nice exposed brick work encased in exposed RCC framed structure, what you need to do is coordinate technically with architect / str.engineer / site supervisor / labour force to fine-finish product.
Dushyant Nathwani
Exposed brickwork
Thanks Mr.Dushyant

Could you please tell me about the name of building/architect of the building wherein you saw the brickwork encased in exposed RCC column? For clarity, I would like to know whether bricks would be placed over exposed surface of the exposed RCC column.

Thanx
Manickam Pillai Sivakumar
Exposed brickwork
Mr. Sivakumar,

Most of your querries have been answered in previous posts by Mr. Nathwani & Mr. Pathak.

Ok, now rat-trap bond does not have to be hollow. It can be solid also. Idea of having hollow rat-trap bond walls is for insulation which is required very much for west walls. East, north & south walls do not require them. Moreover the brick quality needs to be good. Also pointing / water proofing treatment is required.

Filler slab may not work in urban areas, because ultimately you will not gain much apart from aesthetics. To do a good filler slab roof you CANNOT use vibrators which is essential for compaction of the concrete. They have to be hand tamped by expert masons. Labour component is high. So strength wise you may loose rather than gain.

In order to ensure continuity between brick work & RCC, there are options:-

1. Use standard process of chipping RCC column AFTER having cast it to ensure some superficial bonding with brick walls.

2. Make brick wall first & use the gap left for RCC work as part shuttering. However the brick work should have gained enough strength for vibrator to be used.

3. Use rough shuttering while casting RCC columns on the faces that shall bond with brick work. & then do brick work.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Exposed brickwork
Hi all,

Nothing much left to say, really!

I slightly disagree with Chitradeep on his comment on filler slabs. Good masons is a valid point. But under good supervision, common masons can do well.
Filler slabs are very popular in urban areas. I know a fine artist in Vizag who got it done for himself just going through the book by Laurie. There are several such examples.

I suggest you to go ahead with it.

Regards,
P Das
Exposed brickwork
Prashant,

I wish I could agree with you. Unfortunately, Sivakumar hasn't yet told us the scale of his project. Eg: How many floors, how many square feet, etc. I am assuming that the house will be G+2 expandable by another floor + approximately 20' x 15' slab dimension per room. Also, with cantilevers for balconies. Filler slab will definitely stand if made properly & is quite aesthetic, however, normal slabs are much stronger primarily due to pin vibration.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Exposed brickwork
Thanks M/s Chitradeep and Prashant.

My house dimension is 1500 sq.feet builtup area. Initially i intend to go for ground floor only and later with 2 floors (1 mezzanine + 1 top floor). The real problem is to locate a good mason with expereince in exposed brickwork in Madurai as this style is not in vogue here.

I have seen the filler slabs only in the books, a pattern of mangalore tiles or bricks below the slab.As mentioned by Mr.Chitradeep, the average size of the slab would be around 20'X 15'. Please advise whether it would be asthetic to have filler slab. I understand that the significance of the filler slab is to reduce the reduntant quantity of the cement and provide better thermal insulation and hence reduces the overall cost of the building. Hope my understanding is correct.

But the real concerning issue brought out by Mr.Chitradeep is that vibrators are not to be used and hence reduced strength. Please advise
Manickam Pillai Sivakumar
Exposed brickwork
reffer my uploaded pictures on this very site.
Dushyant Nathwani
Exposed brickwork
Mr. Sivakumar, I think tat is the real issue. You need to have someone to do the work properly. I have made couple of filler slabs & lots of rat-trap bond walls myself & seen people working on it. With expert masons you can do wonders, without them, it could be a disaster.
So I think you should focus on getting people who can get the job done.
Looks are very subjective. Filler slabs with rat-trap bond walls look quite aesthetic & very different from the normal mundane buildings.
If I was in your position, I would first design the filler slab & then start looking at people who can implement it.
Chitradeep Sengupta
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