Brickwork masonry is produced when a bricklayer uses bricks and mortar to build up structures such as walls, bridges and chimneys. Brickwork is also used to finish openings such as doors or windows in buildings made of other materials. Where the bricks are to remain fully visible, as opposed to being covered up by plaster or stucco, this is known as face-work.
Bricks are laid to expose their ends (Header bricks), or sides (Stretcher bricks). As the work progresses, the bricks are laid in rows called courses. The manner in which the bricks overlap as they are laid up is called the bond of which there are two main types: half bond and quarter bond. Types of bonding arrangements include English bond, Flemish bond, and Herringbone bond, but the most common type of brickwork seen these days is the simple stretcher bond, showing only the long side-surface of the brick.
Because only the outside of finished brickwork is visible, cheaper grades of brick are commonly used for the hidden parts of a wall. In an old red-brick house, behind the front of red, the rest of the walls are often made of softer yellow bricks. The colour situation may be reversed if the house was built when red bricks were out of fashion. So with certain types of bond (e.g. garden wall bond) it is possible to use a higher ratio of cheaper bricks to more expensive bricks, making for a cheaper wall of the same dimensions. On the same house, sometimes a more economical "garden wall" bond has been used at the side and rear compared to the front.
The thickness of brickwork is measured in units of brick. If bricks are put down end-to-end with the long side facing you (stretchers) and then another row on top, the wall thickness is half a brick.
There are rules of bonding, which have some exceptions. These specify the overlap between courses that is visible outside the wall, and also the overlap which must be made within the wall, for walls which are more than half a brick thick.
Brickwork, like unreinforced concrete, has little tensile strength, and works by everything being kept in compression.
Brickwork arches can span great distances, and carry considerable loads.