18th Nov 2022 -

When looking to purchase bricks, the bright and consistent look of new bricks can often clash, either with the existing elements of a building, or the look of other local buildings. In these cases, a popular option is to use reclaimed bricks that have been naturally weathered over time as part of a different building. In this guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of reclaimed bricks, look at how they can be used within building projects across the UK, and cover the cost of reclaimed bricks vs new options.

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What Are Reclaimed Bricks?

Reclaimed bricks are, simply, bricks that have been previously used within a different construction. Due to the extended lifespan offered by clay bricks, the bricks within buildings, walls, and other features being demolished are often re-usable. 

These bricks are prioritised by builders and specifiers due to their weathered look, which can create a beautiful lived-in feel compared to newer clay bricks. Reclaimed bricks are also used because they can blend better with older buildings, creating extensions or replacing elements without leaving jarring changes in colour.

How Can You Buy Reclaimed Bricks?

The options for reclaimed bricks can vary wildly, due to the different processes that have been used to make bricks over time. There will be options for handmade bricks, which are older examples that were shaped by hand rather than with a machine. There will also be a large selection of more traditional wire-cut or moulded bricks, which will offer a more precise sizing. These will be sold in varied colours or makes, usually in pallets of around 500.

Are There Risks When Using Old Reclaimed Bricks?

Reclaimed bricks are sought after for their attractive distressed appearance, compared to the bright consistency of new bricks. They also have environmental benefits, as bricks are being recycled rather than newly produced. However, there can be structural issues that arise when using old bricks within a project. Compared to newly made bricks, there is no way of assessing the quality or strength of reclaimed bricks other than inspecting them. 

The likelihood that they have been tested under contemporary European standards for frost resistance is low. This could potentially lead to longer-term issues if bricks that are of an unsuitable strength are installed in a load-bearing application. As we will show later on, reclaimed bricks will also come with a higher price tag than new options.

When looking to use reclaimed bricks it's worth noting that brick matching services exist, that can build or locate bricks to specific colours for jobs where a particular number will be needed. There are some options to manually weather the look of bricks, though these are unlikely to fully replicate the authentic look.

What Can Reclaimed Bricks Be Used For?

Reclaimed bricks, like regular bricks, can be used for a huge range of building projects. There are a few areas where opting for reclaimed bricks is more likely, such as paving projects, repairing or extending an existing property, and creating a new building with a rustic look.

Using Reclaimed Bricks For Paving

The weathered look of reclaimed bricks can be used to create varied and natural-looking paving. While there is a range of block paving options in the UK, if looking to construct garden paths that blend with older houses, or to complement garden features like fountains and hedges, reclaimed bricks can give a better look than alternatives like concrete block paving. 

When shopping for reclaimed paving bricks, make sure you opt for a flat option, such as handmade bricks, to ensure a good surface for walking. When using old bricks for paving, there is an added benefit of not needing to worry about the strength performance of each brick, letting you simply pick colours and sizes of brick that look great.

Using Reclaimed Bricks For Extensions or Repairs

A key usage of reclaimed bricks is for extensions or repair work to an existing building. Should you need to replace a small section of a wall, newer bricks are likely to clash, creating an unattractive look. Similarly, should a new extension be manufactured with contemporary bricks it wouldn’t blend well with the original building. Using reclaimed bricks in similar colours will allow you to make necessary changes to a building without compromising its look. In some cases, buildings within listed areas will specify the use of reclaimed bricks to ensure a consistent look.

Using Reclaimed Bricks For Original Buildings

Reclaimed bricks can be used to create a wholly new building, such as a house. The benefits will be mostly visual, giving your house an instantly classical look. The drawbacks would be the price, which is likely to be higher, and the risks around strength. It’s important to ensure that any reclaimed bricks you use are both suited to the strength requirements of the building and able to withstand adverse weather.

What do Reclaimed Bricks Cost?

Reclaimed bricks often come at a higher price tag than new ones. Through our website, we offer a range of both reclaimed and new facing bricks for sale. Our premier options, such as our Multi Stock Reclaimed Bricks can cost around £1400 before VAT for a pallet of 500. Comparatively, we offer new facing bricks for sale such as Forterra Brick Hampton Rural Blend for around £550 before VAT for a pallet of 495. We also offer a brick matching service, where our team can find the perfect matching brick for your project. For those with the budget to accommodate, reclaimed bricks can be a great choice, but it is rarely the most cost-effective option.

Our Range of Reclaimed and New Bricks For Sale Across the UK

Building Materials Nationwide stocks a wide range of bricks for sale, with delivery options across the UK. Alongside our quality reclaimed bricks, you’ll find a selection of facing bricksengineering bricks, and concrete blocks for sale. We also offer a precise brick matching service, finding bricks with closely aligned style, colour and finish at a fast turnaround. Our full range of products can be delivered across the UK, at competitive pricing. 

We work with customers throughout the industry, offering fantastic trade accounts to give even more benefits. Our trade account holders get access to a dedicated account manager to who you can speak via phone or email. Our dedicated account managers can help you to organise large or specific orders, connecting you with our huge network of suppliers. Trade account holders also gain access to our express delivery options, and can apply for 30 days of interest-free credit on orders. 

Sign up for a trade account through our website today.