Dean Carnicle-Maile

06:50PM | 10/23/03
Member Since: 10/22/03
2 lifetime posts

I've been lookng around on the web for information on a certain type of brick and found no real help, so i thought i'd post here where someone may be able to either answer or point me in the right direction.

Me and my wife have bought an old building (a masonic temple, built around 1925), brick built and very good condition, on the inside of the building i have removed the plaster and lathe (sp?) to reveal a ceramic brick about 6inches thick, i have been told that the bricks must be kept dry because they will shatter if they get wet and freeze, i noticed that the builders left a gap every 4 bricks which they then placed a wooden sheet about 1/2 an inch thick and 6 inches wide into, they then attached the furring strips to these boards, and then lathe (?) and then plaster.

My questions are these.

1) do the ceramic bricks need to have a gap without mortar every 4 bricks for a specific reason (ie expansion and contraction thru heat cold)?

2) how should i attach new furring strips to this wall (dependant on answer to q1 above) re-use the original board or fill the gaps with mortar and then use masonry screws/nails to attach furring strips?

3) as the building is to become a residance i will need to put up plastic sheeting to protect the outter walls from condensation, what mil thickness should i be looking at for this purpose?

this is very much an ongoing project and i'm sure i'll have hundreds more questions, but these are the most important to me right now, any help from someone in the know would be greatly appreciated.

thanks for reading.


PS. please note i am not a builder by trade but a computer technician with a little knowledge of building concepts etc, please try to give it to me in laymans terms.

Glenn Good

01:02PM | 10/24/03
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
Hello Deano,

The space containing the wooden strips is for anchoring purposes. If I am correct the ceramic bricks you are referencing are actually terracotta wall tiles. They are very difficult to anchor to. Masonry nails and/or screws will not work in them. The builder embedded the wooden strips into the wall to act as anchoring points for the plaster lath.

The best methods to anchor to this type of construction are by using through the wall anchors if you are covering both sides of a wall, or toggle bolts. Plastic shield anchors will work too but not as well. A good construction adhesive will help to insure the attachment stays secure. The terracotta material is very brittle and difficult to drill a clean hole through.

6-mil is the best thickness for polyethylene to use as a vapor barrier.


Dean Carnicle-Maile

07:09PM | 10/25/03
Member Since: 10/22/03
2 lifetime posts
Hey Thanks Glenn,

You and another guy (builder) answered my question exactly the same (Q1), so my idea now is to pull the strips and fill the gaps and then anchor to the mortar, the building itself is deffinately built to last, the ceramic bricks seem to be double width, as the whole wall from outter to inner edge is about 14 inch thick, looks like the mason's didn't want the place to go anywhere in a wind!

I managed to get into the attic/loft/roof today and noticed there was a problem with one part of it, a leak near the chimney caused damage to some of the beams holding the front of the roof up, looks like the roof didn't like it to much and settled a couple of inches down, so i'm gonna have to work out how to shore it up and have it repaired from the inside, i'd say the damage has been there quite some time but for peace of mind i wanna get it repaired soon.

Anyhow thanks for the help, i'm sure to come back with more questions soon.




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