Brick bungalows

Brick bungalows aren’t common but are found in some parts of the country.

Brick bungalows were constructed using a double skin of brick, with the brick walls (or withes) provide the structure as well as the exterior cladding.

In some cases, a concrete lintel was used above larger windows on brick bungalows.


Brick bungalows tend to be found in places where there was a brickworks or a company specialising in brick construction. For example, there are quite a number of brick bungalows in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn because Brooklyn had a local brickworks in the early part of the 20th century.

Brick construction for houses is also more common in the lower part of the South Island, possibly because it was a method of construction familiar to the Scots who made up the majority of the immigrants who settled in Otago and Southland in the late 19th century.

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Double brick cavity construction used a double skin of brick with a cavity or gap separating the two skins. Brick is not impervious to the transmission of moisture so the cavity or gap of approximately 2” (50 mm) wide, provided a break across which any external moisture that passed through the outer wall of the brick, could not reach the inner wall. It was essential the cavity remained clear or mortar or debris (Figures 2 and 3).

Each skin of brick was laid in a running or stretcher bond pattern, and the two walls were tied together with metal wall ties for lateral restraint.

There was no standard size for bricks but commonly manufactured sizes included 8¾ x 4½ x 2¾” (222 x 114 x 70 mm) and 11¾ x 3½ x 4” (290 x 90 x 100 mm). Walls were typically 9” (230 mm) wide if constructed from 3½” (90 mm) wide bricks or 11” (280 mm) wide if constructed from 4½ ” (90 mm) wide bricks.

Mortar consisting of a 1:3–1:6 ratio of cement to sand was commonly used in New Zealand between 1900 and 1930.

The cavity between the two skins required ventilation which was provided by ventilation blocks set at regular intervals in the exterior skin (Figure 4).

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Brick veneer

It is uncertain when brick veneer construction was introduced as a building method (sources range from the 1850s to the mid-1930s), but it is likely to have been after the 1931 Napier earthquake when the earthquake requirements of the New Zealand Building Regulations precluded the use of brick as a structural element. All brickwork must be supported by another element such as timber or steel framing, reinforced concrete or reinforcing and grouting the brickwork itself.

There are examples of stone veneer construction on a timber frame from as early as 1915.

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Chimneys and piers

Although brick construction was not common for bungalows, bricks were nevertheless used extensively for chimneys and decorative features such as the massive piers often seen supporting porch posts (see chimneys and brickwork for more).