SIMPLE DECORATIVE PANELS
The use of a decorative panel is quite a common method of enhancing the appearance of plain brick walling. While a panel can be projecting or recessed in relation to the surrounding brickwork, it is usual for it to be left flush with the face plane of the surrounding wall.
their lack of structural or load-bearing strength. Regardless of location, the usual starting point is to leave an opening in the brickwork ready to receive the panel once the surrounding brickwork has been built up to the top of the opening/proposed panel. In the example of a ‘basketweave’ panel (see Fig 258), the opening that has been left, with allowances for 10mm mortar joints, is three bricks (685mm) wide and nine courses (675mm) high. Once the panel has been built into the opening, the remaining brickwork can be continued straight over the top of the panel. Panels need not be square but, in order to ensure some symmetry to the pattern, it is always best if the width is a multiple of full bricks and the height is a multiple of three courses. When constructing panels, it is vital that the insides of the opening are perfectly plumb and that the brickwork either side of the opening is the same level.
Fig. 258 Basketweave panel under construction within a pre-built square opening.
There are many different patterns of brickwork that can be formed into a panel and the same patterns may be reoriented through 45 degrees in order to give a number of variations. However, this approach requires complex setting-out and numerous angled cuts, and it is better to begin with basketweave or diagonal herringbone – two simple patterns with square cuts.