Friday, February 6, 2009

What the Victorians Didn't Do for Us - Part3

The brickwork of the house provides most of the load bearing structure and carries the weight of the floors and roof down to the footings. The image above shows a typical long cross-section through the house, mirroring the one from the 1898 drawings. Bricks are modular and sized so that they are twice as long as they are wide. In the 19th century there was less standardisation than there is now, and inevitably the bricks on our house are not standard. This poses problems if there is any damage to the bricks since any replacement is not necessarily the right size! Modern bricks are standardised at 215x102x65mm (9x4x3 inches approximately). The facade uses 3 or 4 types of standard brick: stock facing bricks for the main walls, slightly rougher ones where the walls are not exposed (such as in the loft on the party walls), red bricks for the brick arches over windows and decorative string coursing (single courses of brick which break up the pattern of the facade), and slightly redder bricks on the front bay.

The bricks are laid 9 inches thick for all the external walls and the party walls between the adjoining terrace. Load-bearing walls on the ground floor are a single half brick thick (4 inches). The coursing is what is called Flemish bond, and there are lots of special bricks which are used to turn corners and ensure that the coursing works. To find out more about bricks, Ibstock offer good technical advice here.

All the windows and doors have stone cills which have been painted white. The rear windows have flat red brick arches over them, and the front ones have stone ones (the structure is actually carried by the timber lintol behind these).

At ground level, where the bricks continue below the slate dpc, they are dressed with a cement render which further protects them from frost and damp.

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