Ceramic Bricks as Facade Cladding: Explore the Possibilities!

Bricks used as facade cladding provide a building with a unique appearance. The wide variety of different bricks and joints allows for diverse facade designs to be realized.

Ceramic materials, such as bricks, possess structural strength, are wear-resistant and heat-resistant, provide both electrical and thermal insulation, and are highly resistant to corrosion. Therefore, the lifespan of these types of building materials is exceptionally long, often multiple times that of a building’s (theoretical) lifespan. This makes bricks historically one of the most durable materials.

The production of bricks is a well-thought-out process, where clay is a significant component. In this article, we would like to share more about the production of ceramics and its influence on our final collection of sustainable building materials.

2G2W Handmade + Sliced - StoneCycling
Ceramic bricks (2G2W) made by our partner Zilverschoon Randwijk.

What is Ceramics?

The term ceramics is derived from the Greek word ‘Keramos‘, which means ‘work made of earth.’ Ceramics, therefore, is the collective term for all objects made from baked clay.

This includes everyday items such as pots and tableware made of porcelain, earthenware, or stoneware, as well as art objects (fine ceramics), construction materials like bricks, roof tiles, paving stones, and tiles, clay pipes (including sewer pipes), and sanitary ware such as sinks and toilet bowls (coarse ceramics).

Ceramics are created through heating (for example, in a kiln), sometimes in combination with pressure, involving at least two elements. One of these elements is non-metallic, and the other can be either metallic or non-metallic.

The ultimate result of a ceramic brick is influenced by several factors in the production process.

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1. The Type of Clay

Today, clay still remains the primary raw material for many commonly used traditional ceramic materials.

The clay deposits found all over the world do not have the same composition and properties everywhere. There is primary clay that has more or less stayed in the place where it originated and secondary clay, which has traveled over long distances (for example, through a river).

Clay is not a homogeneous chemical substance: it consists of mixtures of various minerals. The precise chemical composition and distribution of minerals in a clay, and therefore in the resulting ceramics, vary depending on the origin of the clay.

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2. The Heating Process

The heating of clay during firing also gives rise to several processes that change the structure and appearance of the material.

As you may already know, traditional ceramics often have a different color after baking than the clay initially had. The presence of organic materials largely determines the color of wet clay. These materials disappear when the clay is heated.

The presence of certain metals and their oxides can give ceramics a different color. Even a very small amount of iron oxide, for example, can give baked clay a yellow-brown color, while a high content of iron oxide can result in an intense dark red color.

Additionally, the amount of oxygen in the baking atmosphere and the baking temperature are also determining factors for the final color.

CONTINUE READING: With the transition from gas-fired ovens to ovens operating on hydrogen, the heating process changes, and consequently, the appearance of our products also changes.

Waste at StoneCycling Factory

3. Minerals in Waste Streams

At StoneCycling, we incorporate streams of residual materials into our products, which introduces a third factor in the production of our ceramic building materials, resulting in a diversity of colour and texture.

To ensure the quality and consistency of recycled materials, we primarily work with larger, well-separated quantities of waste that comply with government regulations. We implement strict standards and regulations to ensure these materials match or even surpass the performance of traditional materials.

In a customized development, the use of a specific type of waste stream (for example, from a donor building) can lead to a surprising, one-of-a-kind end product. While this can be intriguing, it requires a different mindset from the architect, developer, and client. Due to the complex development process, we undertake such projects only for locations in the Netherlands, both in terms of origin and destination.


Ceramic Brick: Custom Development

In a custom development with StoneCycling, we always go through 5 steps with our clients that ensure success.

In this article, you’ll learn everything about developing a bespoke brick >

Custom Development with StoneCycling

Do you want to create your own sustainable custom-made bricks for a facade? Do you have any questions? Contact our sales team to explore the possibilities.