214. Bricks are more extensively used in the construction of buildings than any other material except wood. At the present time brick and terra cotta architecture is decidedly in the ascendency, and a great deal of capital is invested in the manufacture of bricks of all kinds, shapes and colors.
Good bricks possess the advantage over stone of being practically indestructible, either from the action of the weather, the acids of the atmosphere or fire; they may be had in almost any desirable shape, size or color, and are more easily handled and built into a wall than stone. Brickwork is also much cheaper than cut stonework, and in most localities is less expensive than common rubble. Unfortunately, however, all bricks cannot be classed under the above heading, as there are many that are soft and porous, and are far from durable when exposed to dampness. Except in very dry soils bricks are not as well adapted for foundations as stonework, nor can they be used for piers and columns that support very heavy loads.
As there are many different kinds and qualities of bricks, as well as good and bad methods of using them, the architect must know something about the manufacture of bricks, their characteristics and the best methods of using them to properly prepare his designs and specifications and to superintend the construction.