Share on...

Clay Brick: All The Benefits of Building with Brick

Brick buildings shape South Africa’s architectural heritage – in every province, you will find beautiful and functional schools, social infrastructure, hospitals, churches, stately homes, forts and lighthouses. You will also find affordable brick homes moulded from South African soil that have protected and served South African families across several generations.

Brick is therefore an iconic sight in the South African landscape. With a history dating back thousands of years, bricks continue to be a popular choice for architects, builders, and homeowners alike. The enduring appeal of bricks lies not only in their aesthetic charm but also in their practical benefits. In this article, we will explore the numerous advantages of using bricks in building and home design.


Bricks are renowned for their exceptional longevity. They can withstand extreme weather conditions, resist fire, and are impervious to pests. Buildings constructed with bricks often outlast those made with other materials, providing long-term structural integrity. This longevity reduces the need for frequent maintenance, making bricks a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Structural Integrity

Clay brick structures have impressively high load-bearing capacity, high dimensional stability and compressive strength. These properties limit cracking and ensure structural integrity. This provides opportunity to dissipate all embodied energy over its lifecycle, reducing its carbon footprint. Bricks vary in compressive strength ranging from a minimum of 7 MPa for NFP bricks, to greater than 50MPa for Face Brick Extra and Engineering products.

Maximum Fire rating

Clay Brick is incombustible, and therefore cannot contribute to the start or rapid spread of fire. Double leaf clay brick walls achieve maximum fire ratings of 240 minutes of resistance with impairing structural strength. Brick walls do not conduct electricity or lightning. During production, clay bricks are fired at temperatures between 1000°C and 1200°C so they are capable of resisting this level of heat without damage.

Water Resistant Ceramic

Clay Bricks are fired in a kiln, not dried in the sun so they can withstand saturation from flood water without being adversely affected structurally. They are water resistant and impervious to all weather. They absorb moisture so that walls that become damp, dry out just as quickly without ugly colour changes.


Clay brick is a dense construction material, and protects against natural disasters like flooding, lightning and hail, as well as civil crime, vandalism and unrest. The Great Wall of China protected half of Asia from the Mongolian invaders.

SABS approved quality

Bricks are manufactured to SABS specifications and their use is controlled by strict national building regulations to protect home owners and property investors. SANS 227:2007 and SANS 1 575:2007 classifies the South African National Standard for burnt (or fired) clay bricks and paving units.

Durability in tough environments

Clay brick withstands severe climate zones and industrial areas where high acid or alkaline discharges occur. At the coast, salt sea mist, high water tables, soluble sulphates in the soil, and rapid temperature changes combine to create a corrosive environment. Green Point lighthouse, a landmark from 1824 and South Africa’s first lighthouse, is built from brick.

Structurally adaptable

Bricks have the structural density to support built in cupboards, heavy shelves and wall mounted fixtures. You can even remove a non-load bearing wall entirely without compromising the integrity of the building. Property owners have the opportunity to do alterations and extensions. Double leaf brick walls protect conduit and piping without reducing accessibility.

The above are simply a few of the reasons why we love clay brick, but there are numerous other benefits to consider too. When you build with clay brick, you build for the future. You build pride and dignity. You create satisfied occupants living and working in a safe, healthy environment. You create satisfied property owners who can rely on affordable and easily maintained infrastructure. And you create prosperous local communities and entrepreneurs.

You might also like.

For further information:
The Clay Brick Association of South Africa
Website: www.claybrick.org.za

Leave a comment/Ask a question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit SA Decor & Design on social media

Interested in advertising with us? Find out how