Types of brick bonding
Very broadly, bricks can be laid as soldiers (standing upright), stretchers (laid lengthwise along the wall) or headers (laid width wise along the wall).
Bricks are typically laid to an offset pattern to maintain an adequate lap between joints from one course to the next and to ensure that vertical joints are not positioned above one another on consecutive courses.
- Distribute loads throughout the structure to achieve maximum strength.
- Ensure stability.
- Achieve the desired aesthetic.
This is a pattern formed by laying alternate courses of stretchers and headers. The joins between the stretchers are centred on the headers in the course below. This is one of the strongest bonds but requires more facing bricks than other bonds.
 English garden wall
This is similar to the English bond but with one course of headers for every three courses of stretcher. The headers are centred on the headers in course below. This gives quick lateral spread of load and uses fewer facings than an English bond.
This alternates courses of stretchers and headers, with the alternating stretcher course being offset by half a brick. The stretchers are centred on the joins between the stretchers below them, so that the alternating stretcher courses are aligned. Staggering stretchers enables patterns to be picked out in different texture or coloured bricks.
This is formed by laying headers and stretchers alternately in each course. The headers of each course are centred on the stretchers of the course below. This bond is strong and often used for walls which are two-bricks thick.
 Flemish garden wall
This variant of Flemish bond uses one header to three stretchers in each course. The header is centred over the stretcher in the middle of a group of three in the course below.
This variant of Flemish bond involves two stretchers between the headers in each course. The headers are centred over the join between the two stretchers in the course below.
This is the quickest and easiest bond as it doesn’t require bricks to be cut to different sizes. Bricks are laid directly on top of one another with joins aligned, running vertically down the entire wall. Bricks can either be stacked horizontally or vertically.
This bond is weak and often structurally unsound unless wire bed-joint reinforcement is placed in every horizontal course or, where loading is moderate, every alternate course. This is often used purely for decorative purposes rather than for load-bearing.
This bond uses three stretchers and one header in each course.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Cavity tray.
- Cavity wall.
- Damp-proof course.
- Defects in brickwork.
- Wall tie failure.
 External resources
- Euro Paving - Brick paving standards and patterns
Featured articles and news
Futurist Thomas Frey explores the concept of Disposable Housing - could it be a reality sooner than we imagine?
ICE to host new exhibition offering a window onto the civil engineering achievements beneath our feet.
Do you know all the various types of defects in brickwork?
US museum reveals plans for an installation made entirely of paper tubes.
Review of a book looking at how contemporary architecture found its expression within neoliberal capitalism.
The Great Mosque of Djenne, the largest mud-brick building in the world.
Amanda Clack, RICS President offers recommendations to government on Brexit and the construction skills shortage.
Tired of the commute? This architecture firm believes the best solution is to take cars underground.
Why do so many women leave engineering? Probably not for the reason you’re thinking.
For over 30 years David Trench was one of the UK's leading project managers. Read about his career through some of his most famous projects.
Leading institutes join forces calling for property flood resilience measures to help householders avoid repeat flooding.
CITB publish new report calling for the development of new skills standards for offsite construction.