Whether they're used as a structural or purely decorative element, brick arches create character in brickwork. To produce the most aesthetically pleasing effect, carefully match the size, shape, and layout of the brick to the size and shape of the arch opening. USING TAPERED BRICK The best-looking arches generally are constructed using tapered brick or voussoirs. With tapered brick the mortar joints are uniform in thickness from intrados to extrados and all the lines of the tapers look as if they meet at one central point. USING STANDARD BRICK Although tapered brick generally create a more pleasing look, an alternative that maintains uniform mortar joint width is to saw standard brick at the jobsite. Unsawed brick can also be used to construct an arch, but mortar joints will be tapered. DESIGN OPTIONS There are several things that can be done to enhance the appearance of a brick arch. The author gives guidelines on such subjects as: keystones; changing the skewback angle; slanted brick; mortar joints and spacing.