Brick and stone – don't forget the traditionalists
With 1,200 native varieties to choose from and 17,500 registered brickies to lay them, you won’t have a problem building with brick. Plus, if you go down the yellow – or indeed, orange, blue, purple or chalky white road – then you will also have the satisfaction of fashioning your home from a building material that has been much loved by Brits for the past 900 years.
Low-maintenance and very robust, we aren’t intimidated by this familiar object. There was a time when people used to make bricks from the clay found under the foundations of their future home. Now you can easily pay £800 for 1,000 hand-made bricks – bricks are always bought in units of a thousand – but you can get good-quality machine-made ones for less than half that price. You can, of course, go green and use reclaimed bricks, but be prepared to spend a lot of time chipping away the mortar
Pave your bathroom floor with limestone and you will be taking a shower next to a material that is very likely 300 million years old. Plump for Cambrian rock and you can double the figure. Are you worthy enough?
Laid down and formed in ancient geological times, man has built castles and churches from this material. Today, you can use it for almost anything from window surrounds, worktops and external and internal paving. Make sure you do your specification properly: stone doesn’t come cheap so mistakes can be costly. It’s worth shopping around because prices can vary greatly depending on the supplier.
If you’re using stone on the outside of your grand design, remember that it needs to be at least three times thicker than if it’s inside. A limestone window surround, for example, is typically 75mm thick, but if you limestone your floor, then it only needs to be 10-20mm thick. The Stone Federation is the industry’s representative body and a mine of information. If you are considering specifying stone, they should be your first port of call.
Ranges in colour from white, grey and buff to shades of pink and red. Comes in tooled, sandblasted and flame-textured finishes.
Exceptionally durable, this major building stone – which occurs in light green, silver grey, red and blue-black – is easily split into thin sections. Comes in a range of finishes, including sawn, sanded, fine rubbed and hammered.
Limestone’s hues range from almost white to the warm honey tone of Bath stone: its textures range from polished-smooth to the coarse open textured Portland stone that graces large swathes of central London.
Words: Karen Glaser