Of stones and bricks

Of stones and bricks

Is it a good idea to use wire-cut bricks instead of ordinary ones to create an exposed brick wall? What kind of protection (sealants, etc.) can be used for such walls? Do they attract dust, mites etc.? And how do we ensure that they don’t chip when a nail is driven through them?

Instead of wire-cut bricks, go for deep red, even-shaped ‘brick tiles’. These are thinner than normal bricks (1.5"-2" thick instead of 3") and don’t have the depression (‘frog’) on its surface that characterizes ordinary bricks. These are much denser than regular bricks and also very popular for terrace flooring.

There are three ways to use them as cladding material:

• Place the narrow long face along the face of the wall. It gives a cladding thickness equal to the width of the brick (4.5"). This is typically equal to half its normal length of 9".

• Bricks can be used by placing the larger face along the wall. This way, you can see the wide face of the brick. This results in a cladding thickness of approx. 3".

• You can also cut the brick along its wide-long face so that its width is equal to its thickness. This way you get a square-profiled long tile that can be used as cladding material. The cladding thickness, in this instance, will be about 2".

You should, however, first repair the exposed face of the brick. This can be done by sprinkling fine sand and water on a hard smooth stone surface and by rubbing the exposed surface with the same. Sand and water act as sandpaper and are surprisingly effective. Plan the brick bands with respect to the building’s columns, beams, windows and doors. The broken edges of the brick on the finished surface can be repaired using a paste of white cement and brick powder. To avoid growth of algae and dust accumulation, use clear silicon paint on top of the final finished surface. Also, make sure that the concentration of silicon in the paint is higher than 30%.

Is Jaisalmer yellow a good option for flooring? Are there different categories of Jaisalmer yellow?

Jaisalmer and Jodhpur stones come from their namesake regions in Rajasthan. They are sandstone (soft and porous) and not marble. While Jaisalmer, in a flat tone of cadmium yellow, is available in small stone-slab sizes, Jodhpur gold comes as larger engineered stone slabs with a much deeper tone of cadmium yellow and a cork-like pattern. Their market price (ex-discount but pre-tax and transport) ranges from approx. Rs48 per sq. ft-Rs65 per sq. ft. This primarily depends on the thickness, cracks, size of the raw slab and the quantum of black spots (very important) on the stone. Regarding use, as both these stones are soft and porous, they are not good for high traffic or moisture-prone areas.

They are also not ideal for use on stairs or countertops as they absorb stains, and their edges chip easily. Large raw stone blocks are not only difficult to find, but also very brittle. Though they don’t polish well and lose shine quickly, this can be controlled with hard and clear surface sealants. They need not necessarily be used only as highlights.

(By Navneet Malhotra/courtesy Better Interiors)