Cracked and Tilted Brick (see also: Mock-up Panel) When possible, cracked bricks should be replaced prior to pouring, for obvious reasons. The cracked brick, however, poses no structural concern once it is embedded, and should be judged for aesthetics after the panels have been cleaned. In some cases removal and replacement may be warranted. Tilted bricks pose a dilemma. They are rarely noticed unless it is a severe tilt (over 3/16”) or in a sensitive area (e.g., window head of the penthouse corner office). The ultimate orientation of the wall is a factor as well. An east-west oriented wall may cast long shadows at times, magnifying imperfections. These are inherent in masonry construction but often go unnoticed by people who are not in the industry. They tend to bring unrealistic expectations to bear on the first few jobs they are involved in. This is true for tilted brick as well as color and shade differences, and coursing irregularities.
A mock-up wall should include a small sampling of as many irregularities as possible so they can be discussed prior to panel production.
IV. Preparing Thin Brick for Installation
A. Blending brick Blending of two or more colors of brick is a common practice. Specifications of proportions of various color brick units are precise. However, although the ratio may be exact the blending must be random. Patterns produced by poor blending techniques are often noticeable in the finished product. Measures should be taken at every level of installation to insure as random a dispersion as possible. Pallets from as many truckloads as possible should be used at the same time. Boxes should be drawn from as many pallets as possible and given to the installers. The installers should draw from multiple boxes and fill the VersaLiners in a random, non-systematic fashion. In many cases it will be necessary to pre-blend the brick in a separate operation as well. The brick manufacturers offer this service, or it can be done on site.
B. Cutting brick
Almost every project requires brick that is cut in some fashion. Half brick are available from some manufacturers which can lighten the load for installers considerably. Brick are easily cut with common masonry saws that are readily available in most areas. For optimum efficiency the saw should be fairly powerful. At least ¾ horse power. This will cut multiple brick fairly rapidly. A water system is highly recommended. While most diamond blade these days are the ‘wet-dry’ type the dust problem can be severe without water. A closed system is fine (re-circulating water via the pump), however, a constant clean water supply will keep the brick cleaner and reduce wear on the pump parts. The brick usually chips slightly on the edge where the blade exits. If this presents a problem position the brick so that the blade cuts down into its face. This limits most of the chipping to the back edge. Blades with solid cutting edges of diamond impregnated steel work fine, but segmented blades have the added advantage of dispersing heat more rapidly and generally make more aggressive cuts.
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