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
Architectural Technologist and designer explains software produced to create Passivhaus standard housing.
Manchester's tallest building development is awarded planning permission from council.
Controversial Walkie Talkie building is sold for record-breaking price.
Read our introductory article to the different types of structural load.
Erno Goldfinger's family home and modernist masterpiece - 2 Willow Road, Hampstead.
IHBC article asks - is the Bonfield Review blind to traditional buildings?
Do you know what an onigawara is? Find out here.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on how to achieve a better investment framework for Africa.
3 ways the world’s fastest growing economies can close the infrastructure gap.
The sooner early warning notices can be appreciated as of mutual benefit rather than one-sided advantage, the better.
BSRIA responds to government green storage announcement.