A Flemish bond is a bricklaying pattern which is highly ornamental in nature, making it popular for courses of brick which will be visible. Flemish bond was widely used for residences historically, before bricks were replaced with other building materials, and in region where brick is still used, it continues to be popular. It can be used for structural walls in a home as well as garden walls and partitions. Like other types of brickwork, it can be worked in contrasting colors, if desired, to create more visual interest.
Before describing this pattern, it may help to provide information about two terms used in bricklaying: headers and stretchers. Headers are bricks oriented with the short side facing out, while stretchers are oriented with the long side facing out. Understanding the distinction between the two can help people visualize how Flemish bond looks. There are also numerous illustrations which can be found through the image search functions on many search engines, for those who are more visually inclined.
In Flemish bond, a course which alternates headers and stretchers is laid. Then, a course is laid on top, with the headers in the previous course being centered under the stretchers in the new course. The course laid over this one is oriented like the first course, and so on, creating a complex alternating pattern with the long and short sides of the brick. To bring more contrast to the pattern, sometimes the headers are made from different colored brick or brick which has been treated to darken it so that the headers will stand out.
Various masonry techniques can be used at the corner and edges to create a smooth transition. In cases where only one wall is going to be visible, it is not uncommon to only use this pattern on the visible parts, and to use an easier technique on the walls which cannot be seen to make the construction go faster and to avoid having to fiddle with the masonry at the corners.
Flemish bond brickwork, also known as Dutch bond brickwork, has long been prized as aesthetically pleasing and visually interesting. Creative masons may alternate courses of brick even further, with a block of Flemish bond up to a certain height, followed by courses laid out in other patterns. Because this design is popular, false brickwork made from materials other than brick such as vinyl and laminate may be produced in a Dutch bond pattern.