In Part 1 of Better Know A Brick (BKAB), we went over some basic brick terminology. Now that you can separate your stretchers from your headers and you’re comfortable that you’d never confuse a soldier with a sailor, let’s talk wythes and courses.
The toughest part about wythes is settling on how the word is pronounced- some folks say the word so that it sounds like “width” which is essentially what it means. Other folks pronounce it with a hard “i” so it sounds like “Blythe”. Those truly in the know pronounce it somewhere in between so they can never be wrong.
A wythe is a vertical section of masonry that is one unit thick. It’s easier to illustrate than to define:
The photo below shows the back of one of our houses after we removed the rear wall. As you look at the party walls, you can see that they’re essentially two bricks wide- in brick speak, you’d say they’re two wythes thick.
We already made a course pun (better than a coarse pun) in last week’s post about belt courses, so we’ll spare you here: a course of bricks is a horizontal layer one unit high. If you imagine yourself laying a brick wall, every time you make the wall one brick higher, you’re adding a course.
Next up in BKAB: with courses and wythes sorted out, it’s time to talk about…Bonds. Brick Bonds.