Brick matching is a process during which damaged or lost bricks from buildings, walkways, and other outdoor structures are replaced by bricks that are made to blend in well with the existing parts of the structure. In some cases, brick matching is done when a manufacturer stops making a certain kind of brick. In other cases, brick matching is a part of historic restoration when the manufacturer may have been out of business for decades or longer. In some forms of historical restoration, the bricks that are created to match the remaining ones may have to resemble bricks that were made by hand or by some outdated manufacturing process.
It is not always possible to exactly match brick, especially if the existing brick has been bleached out by weather damage and sun exposure. Many times, brick matching is simply an effort in approximation. Also, it may not be possible to find a brick that perfectly matches the texture of the existing bricks. In these cases, it is generally advisable to make a choice based on color instead of choosing a match based on texture. This is because, from even just a short distance away from the structure, a difference in texture will be much less noticeable than a difference in color.
Although it is possible to complete a brick matching project on one's own, there are also companies that specialize in brick matching. Even if the type of brick that needs to be matched is out of production, if it is fairly standard in size, color, and makeup, then it might be easy to find a replacement at one's local home store. In other cases, where the bricks that need to be matched are more unusual, it may be necessary to use professional brick matching services.
In some cases, it is possible to stain bricks so that they will look more like the bricks in the surrounding structure. This can be a useful tool in brick matching, especially if it is possible to find replacement bricks that are exactly the same as the existing bricks in size, shape, and texture. It is better yet if the replacement bricks are a shade lighter than the existing bricks because they will be easier to stain. Stain might not work well on darker bricks.