"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Header or soldier course

Open and screened weep holes

Lintel above garage door frame supporting masonry above.
Clay and Calcite Bricks
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Clay bricks. Calcite bricks. Brick veneer, Weep holes and lintels.

Masonry buildings have been popular for centuries. Stone, brick and blocks are valued for their durability, strength and resistance to decay but bricks are the cladding of choice for many homes being built today. The manufacturing process for calcite and clay brick is almost the same. The difference is in the type of materials used. Clay bricks, as the name already suggest, is made of clay while calcite bricks are manufactured from a mixture of concrete sand, limestone screenings and cement.
Solid masonry brick walls can be recognized by header courses which tie the inner and outer wall together.
How can you tell a solid masonry from a brick veneer home?
Solid masonry homes have header or soldier courses, which are bricks turned inward, showing only their ends as shown in photo (second row from top and bottom). If both walls are made of bricks, the header course can be randomly located. if they are consistently spaced, the inner wall is most likely made of blocks. Today's 'brick' homes usually have a wood frame inner wall and a brick veneer outer wall which is held in place by brick ties as illustrated. There are no header or soldier courses.

Brick ties

Lintels are L shaped pieces of steel which are placed above window and door openings in masonry walls. They have to be strong enough to support the weight of bricks or stones above these openings.
Weep holes
can be found in the last masonry course as well as above door and window lintels. They are, as the name already suggest, to drain away any moisture that has accumulated behind the brick. These openings should not be filled but in order to keep out insects a wick or miniature screen can be installed.
Clay bricks
come in a variety of colours and textures and keep their colours well. Strength is 4,000-8,000 psi.
Calcite or concrete bricks have a limited range of colours and texture and the colours will fade. Unlike clay bricks, calcite bricks absorb moisture more readily, hense the drastic colour changes when wet. Strength is 3,000-4,000 psi.

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