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  • Writer's pictureJesse Ledbetter

What is a

Sorry for the Commodore pun there. Most "brick homes" are not built out of bricks. The outer layer is a single course of brick that has no structural purpose for the home other than protection from the elements. The city of Richmond and surrounding areas have a number of double and triple brick homes. Today we'll look at this style of construction and what has made these homes stand the test of time.

This picture was taken while on a walk at Belle Isle of the remaining brick wall of the Belle Isle Rolling, Milling and Slitting Factory. Notice in the picture above that every 6th course of bricks is different, with the narrow end of the brick exposed instead of the face. This may change from structure to structure, but the purpose remains the same. This course of brick is used to tie the inner and outer layers of brick to the interior core to provide the structure stability.

In a portion of the wall that is now crumbling, the inner construction can be seen. The joining course here is in the middle right of the image, and you can see that this course is turned inward to the inner core of the structure. Due to this style of construction (this would actually be "quadruple brick" construction) the wall can become very thick. In residential applications, this results in very deep window sills and doors that are set deeper in the jam than typical. Additionally, this provides for a fantastic source of insulation and noise reduction. As with all brick exteriors, maintenance of the mortar joints is important to the longevity of the property.

Here the remaining wall of the factory remains after 120 years of disuse and abuse.

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