Valid uses for clay brick...

I have some old clay brick at my house that the prior owners saw fit to make into a patio. It is really not suited for this sort of thing, as it does not weather well and every year there are several spalled or completely destroyed bricks showing up in my patio. Eventually, I plan to completely replace it with something more suitable, like concrete.

When I do that, I am going to have a rather large pile of clay bricks. I’m pretty sure building a fireplace out of them is right out, but what other things can I do with this stuff that won’t result in their complete rotting away within a few more years?

Building backyard grills used to be THE thing to do in the 1950s. My uncle had one in his backyard.

I could’ve sworn I saw Norm Abrams do one of these on This Old House.

I’m sure I’ve seen old fireplaces made out of bricks in colonial-era homes.

Well, these bricks are very similar to the bricks used to build the chimney to my house…which is also spalling and crumbling. Is there a way to treat them to prevent this?

bricks next to fire need to be fire bricks.

unglazed building bricks are porous and will absorb water, if that water freezes it will cause damage. bricks need to be sealed especially if they are horizontal or exposed to getting water on them directly.

What do I seal them with?


Why can’t you replace the unsuitable bricks with patio bricks?

there are brick sealant products, look at a building materials or home improvement store.

I was under the impression that most patio bricks were made of concrete these days, and that was what I was talking about. I don’t want to simply pour a concrete slab, that woudl look cheesy. But I want to replace with something that is more likely to hold up against water.

It sounds like you have the same kind of brick used on the facade and chimney of our house. I’ve heard it called “Chicago brick”. I’m told was originally intended for the side walls of buildings, the walls that faced another wall across an alley, and so didn’t have to withstand much weathering. Unfortunately, people didn’t understand that, and started using if for more exposed locations, where it doesn’t have the needed durability.

We’ve been told that the cheapest solution for us is to have a facade of standard siding build around the existing chimney. That won’t work for you, for a patio. The other option seems to be to tear it down and rebuild it.

I believe they are traditionally used as missils" for lobbing at a “Kat”. A certain Pupp" may object, however. See “Kolin” Kelly" for more info. Ya lil anjil.