Bricks are a common building material, used primarily on the exterior of a home but can also be found in certain interior features, especially fireplaces. Most brick is made from clay, by pressing or throwing the clay into forms that define the block's shape, then drying and kiln-firing the clay to harden it similar to other ceramic materials. The brick is then used along with a cement-like binding material called mortar to build walls and other solid structural features. A wide range of colors are available, produced by varying the color of the clay-bearing earth used to make it, and also by adding chemicals such as manganese dioxide (which turns clay that normally produces red brick brown). Other similar materials include cinder block, which consists of concrete (a mixture of Portland cement, aggregate and water) with industrial waste such as coal cinder used as the aggregate. Other products used in similar ways include cast stone and quarried natural stone blocks.

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