Definition/What is a Clinker Brick?
Clinker bricks are partially-vitrified bricks used in the construction of buildings. Clinker bricks are produced when wet clay bricks are exposed to excessive heat during the firing process, sintering the surface of the brick and forming a shiny, dark-coloured coating.
How much does a house brick weigh?
A house brick weighs usually approximately 3.1kg.
Where did they originate from
Clinker bricks, or sand brick, are also known as Dutch paving bricks. In 18th century New York, the Dutch interspersed dark clinkers with regular bricks. Some used clinkers to spell out their family initials on brick dwellings such as the Jan Van Hoesen House.
Where does the name come from?
Clinker — which is sometimes spelled "klinker" — is the contemporary Dutch word for brick. Both terms are onomatopoeic, and come from the Middle Dutch word ‘klinkaerd’, later becoming klinker, from klinken, which means “to ring, resound”.
How do they differ from other types of bricks
Red clinker bricks are denser, heavier, and more irregular than standard bricks. Clinkers are water-resistant and durable, but have higher thermal conductivity than more porous red bricks, lending less insulation to climate-controlled structures.
Are they still popular/in use?
Modern brick-making techniques do not produce clinker bricks, and they have become rare. Builders can procure clinkers from salvage companies; alternatively, some brickmakers purposefully manufacture clinker bricks or produce imitations.
What types/colours are they available in?
Clinkers consist of bits and ends, field-late and white-burning or red-burning clays. Through different mixtures of the raw ingredients, many varied colour nuances can be achieved.
Where can you buy them?
While they are rare, clinker bricks are available to buy from both Lohas Australia, and Eco Group, but prices vary depending on whether you're in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, etc.
1. Post-war clinker brick beach dwelling, Melbourne
In beachside Mentone, a sturdy post-war dwelling, the Clinker Brick House has been given extended living spaces that more fully realise the potential of the site. With a deflecting sweep of linked rooms that curl around the south edge, deeply shaded interiors benefit from an expansive, sunny northerly garden outlook.
The black brick addition gently touches the existing house but establishes a new architectural form and identity for the rear of the site. Overhead, forming the other central element of this project, a concrete roof with ‘Scarpa-esque’ openings works twofold.
2. A clinker brick remodel in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs
In a remodelling project that added a wardrobe and ensuite to the side of the house frontage and a wholesale living/dining and kitchen extension to the rear “that looks like a completely new house”, FMD Architects used clinkers reclaimed from demolishing some of the old fabric as well as some extra recycled bricks sourced by a builder.
3. Contemporary renovation of a semi-detached clinker brick 1940’s house in Hampton
The owners required more space, updated amenities and desired a strong connection to the outside. The well travelled couple wanted a tranquil, calm and relaxing environment to call home. Often it’s the journey and not exclusively the destination that brings joy and excitement to life. The journey through this project begins by entering through the renovated house which includes all new / updated facilities. The existing hallway then directs you through a black timber clad curved tunnel where the end is not visible. The destination is a surprise, the mystery a waits as you track on. A large light weight timber structure emerges that presents the new open plan living spaces. This tent like space is orientated to the north surrounded with glass and timber and extends outside with a timber deck. Your destination has been reached – for now, a place to relax and dream of traveling.