I think someone here should know this

njmomma(z6 NJ)June 10, 2010

We are planning to make a garden path and sitting area using old clay bricks. I have been searching craigslist and found someone selling them near me and he said they are about 60 years old and there was a picture. They look very uniform so I'm wondering if these are clay or concrete bricks.

Did they even make concrete bricks 60 years ago? I really want the real clay ones. He's selling them for only 35 cents each. DH said they look too red to be concrete.

I want to lay them straight (in sand) with space in between, kind of a cottage garden/english garden look - not formal. My inspiration is from pics on the cottage garden forum. Here is the link.


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Clay bricks have been made for centuries with different purposes in mind. Some are very uniform, some are very crude. Some are made for walls, some others are made for paving. Some will not last in a paver use due to moisture entering them while others will last centuries.

Old red concrete bricks will not have held their color well (they may in the future, but did not in the past). A broken one would show the aggregates, if it is concrete.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 6:57AM
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If there is only one type of "old" brick, that is one thing. Another is that you may simply want what I refer to as "old brick", (which is what we used to call it in the South regarding brick homes) which had softened edges and not the sharp corners and smooth sides on all sides and also had that softened color, and commonly built with some variation in shades of soft reddish/pink bricky colors, and not the uniform dark red, as another style was to use clay brick that was deep red and much more uniform, as laag noted. I doubt that at the time it was all "old". If it is in part just a manufacturing process, it may be that there is new old brick and old old brick, and so that is another distinction in terms of whether someone is going for a certain look alone (which can also include insisting on clay) vs. requires authentic antiquity.

How's that for confusing?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:46AM
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njmomma(z6 NJ)

Great, so he said they are definitely clay. How can I know if these will hold up as pavers?

We are making the paths ourselves with sand as we can't afford hiring someone. The bricks are 950 bricks for $325 which I think is a very good price, but not if they aren't going to last once put in as pavers.

How frustrating! Do you want the link to see the pic? I doubt anyone can tell from a pic if they will do well as pavers.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:28AM
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Face bricks don't do well when laid on the ground for the reason laag mentions above. Face bricks have a different surface on the sides (face) than on the flat, one of these 'flats' won't be flat but will have an indentation (frog) to hold mortar. If the bricks you are looking at are like this don't buy them for use as pavers. A brick paver is more dense will be thinner than a regular brick and have a surface on one or both flats.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:50PM
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barbaranh(z4 NH)


Here's a link to a previous thread about clay vs. concrete pavers -- maybe you'll find something there.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 1:22PM
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