Different brick sizes get used regularly in residential, industrial, and commercial construction because they’re long-lasting, durable, and decently fireproof building materials that resists heat. However, the type of brick and the brick sizes you pick out can make a huge difference, even if it’s for a smaller masonry project like building a small patio, putting in a brick stand for your mailbox, or making supports for a bench.
Our goal is to help you determine which brick sizes and types you should use to complete your projects to ensure you get a durable and long-lasting end result. We’ll also tell you how to tell the difference between varying styles of brick and the brick sizes quickly and easily.
12 Common Brick Sizes
No matter if you’re doing a renovation or building a whole new extension, most of the components of an industrial building and business or home are designed to slot together like pieces of a puzzle. This means that all of your surrounding brickwork has to be predictable when it comes to attributes like the size, shape, and load-bearing capabilities to make it cost-effective and efficient.
There are dozens of different types of bricks available, and they all serve different purposes. This is why it’s important to know which work best for what projects. Bricks by marc falardeau / CC BY 2.0
6-Inch Through Wall Meridian
This brick size has dimensions of 4-inches by 16-inches by 6-inches, and the specified dimensions are right around 406mm by 203mm by 152mm. It’s a hollow style of brick that is half the height of a double median brick. However, it builds on the style by adding two more inches in depth. You get bigger cores that are squared-off, and this makes them much easier for masons to handle while delivering the durability you’ve come to expect from brick without the weight a solid brick with a circular, small core will have.
8-inch Through Wall Meridian
This brick size is very similar to solid bricks, and it’s another hollow-style brick that comes in several sizes. You can easily overlap these bricks and combine them into any modular brick building project you have lined up. The brick size is 4-inches by 16-inches by 8-inches, and the nominal dimensions of this brick is 406mm by 101mm by 203mm. This puts this brick size squarely in the mid-range, and it adds two inches to the depth over the smallest through meridian brick you can get.
This brick style comes with several more holes pierced into it than you’ll get with a traditional modular brick. This brick’s size is 3 ⅕-inches by 8-inches by 4-inches, and the nominal dimensions for it are 203mm by 81mm by 101mm. Since this brick style comes with more hollow spaces and holes for the mortar to sink into on each one, you’ll typically see them used to finish edges or corners. This is where they get their name.
If you come up to a building project where you need more length and height with your brick size for each individual brick, this is a great choice. The double in the name refers to the height over the four-inches a standard meridian brick will give you, and this means that this brick size is roughly 8-inches by 16-inches by 4-inches with the specified dimensions falling right around 406mm by 203mm by 101mm. This brick also has cores that are squared off and larger rather than being rounded, and this pushes it into the hollow construction brick category.
Double Through Wall Meridian
This is a hollow yet hefty brick style is one of the biggest out of the through wall meridian category, and it has a brick size of 8-inches by 16-inches by 8-inches. This gives you another full two-inches to work with over the brick directly below it in size, and this gives you a bigger hollow brick that works well for larger projects like constructing walls or big outdoor areas. The specified dimensions that come with this brick measure 406mm by 203mm by 203mm.
This brick style uses rectangular slots instead of rounded holes when the manufacturers pierce the brick, and they’re a very common pick for residential construction projects like building a house because they have a bigger size at 8-inches by 4-inches by 4-inches and a nominal size of 203mm by 101mm by 101mm. The holes that get pierced in the brick can help with manufacturing because it allows the bricks to cool evenly, and this also makes the bricks much lighter weight. In turn, they’re easier to handle when you work or ship to your location.
This style of brick takes the Norman-style brick and adds slightly more materials to work with to make it a larger size. It measures 3 ⅕-inches by 12-inches by 4-inches for the brick size, and it has nominal dimensions of 304mm by 81mm by 101mm. There are also pierced slots in this style of brick that allow the mortar to slip in and get a better grip. In turn, you get a much better hold overall as you stack them on top of one another.
If you have a project coming up that needs a building material that is longer than you’ll get with a common utility brick, this style adds ⅓ more to the length. It measures 4-inches by 16-inches by 4-inches, and the specified dimensions on it are 406mm by 101mm by 101mm. You get an additional four inches of length over the utility brick that makes it more stable and flexible when you use it in offset patterns. The pierced holes also ensure that the mortar gets a good grip for excellent stability.
Modular bricks are roughly 2 ⅔-inches by 8-inches by 4-inches. The manufacturer anticipated brick sizes for this style are 203mm by 67mm by 101mm. It also applies to the mortar that will connect it to other bricks as you work with it. If you have a structural modular brick, you’ll have two or three holes pierced completely through the center of the brick with no raised edges to make the planning process much smoother and easier for masons and builders.
This brick style gets the name from the first group of people who historically used it. It’s very similar to the Roman-style brick, and it offers nominal dimensions of 2 ⅔-inches by 12-inches by 4-inches. The specified dimensions of this type of brick are 304mm by 67mm by 101mm. The biggest difference between this style of brick and the Roman style is that these bricks come with rectangular piercings in them to allow mortar to flow through, and you won’t get this on Roman bricks.
Roman bricks get their name because they originated in Rome, and they’re a very slender, flat brick that is approximately 2-inches by 12-inches by 4-inches. They have specified dimensions from the manufacturer of 304mm by 50mm by 101mm. You’ll get a very attractive and distinct finish on columns, building fronts, or other areas where you need better aesthetics without sacrificing structural integrity or strength. You get a very smooth appearance that doesn’t usually have rough lines or piercing, and this makes it very nice to look at.
The utility modular brick style is very similar to the base modular brick style. They both have plain sides with rounded holes pierced into them. However, the depth and height set them apart. They’re approximately 4-inches by 12-inches by 4-inches, and this brick size makes them easy to match to your other building components like door frames and windows. The specified measurements are 304mm by 101mm by 101mm.
6 Non-Modular Brick Sizes
There are non-modular bricks that you have to consider too when you’re going to start your building projects. Knowing the six most popular choices will help you select the best one for your needs.
This brick size is classified as being oversized, and they are designed to be used in large-scale building projects for institutional buildings, including office buildings, schools, and hospitals. The bricks come with an additional height that gives you the ability to create high, long walls while keeping it very sturdy and stable. They have deep, long cores that pierce through the brick all of the way through to ensure that you’ll get something that will easily last decades.
This is a close relative to the modular brick, and it comes with the same circular-style cores with almost the same dimensions. However, it’s very popular to use to finish edging or corners because it has a unique flow-through design that gives the mortar a very firm grip. This brick size typically measures 3 ½ to 3 ⅝-inches high by 8-inches long by 3 ½ to 3 ⅝-inches deep.
This is one brick style that is very similar to the modular engineer brick, and it has five rectangular core placements on it in varying measurements. This is a smaller brick size to use, and it measures 2 ¾ to 2 13/16 high by 8-inches long by 3 ½ to 3 ⅝-inches deep.
This brick size comes in larger than you’ll get if you use a Queen. It comes with an additional squared core in it that makes it a stronger pick for your projects while adding length. It measures between 2 ⅝ to 2 ¾-inches high by 9 ⅝ to 9 ¾-inches long by 2 ¾ to 3-inches deep.
A queen brick that is non-modular has larger square cores in it that allow the mortar to flow through it. Since this is a very popular brick, it has a size and style that have evolved over the years. So, your exact sizes will usually vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you want to keep this in mind when you shop. The rough dimensions measure 2 ¾-inches high by 7 ⅝ to 8-inches long to 2 ¾ to 3-inches deep.
The final non-modular brick on the list is the standard brick. It has a design element to it called a frog, and this is the divot right in the brick’s center that makes it have the appearance of a shallow tub. It works just like traditional cores do, and it allows the mortar to flow through and grip as it dries out. This brick size measures 4 ¼-inches high by 8-inches long by 3 ½ to 3 ⅝-inches deep.
12 Popular Types of Bricks
Finally, we’re going to dive into the different types of bricks that are so popular today. There are many available, and they all work better for different projects. Along with describing the bricks themselves, we’re also going to give you tips on which projects work best for your specific brick size and type.
There are many popular types of bricks available that are very durable, long-lasting, and they offer excellent fire-resistance to make them safer to use over other building material types. Bricks by Lera / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Burnt Clay Bricks
This type of brick is also referred to as common bricks, and they are one of the most popular brick types for construction projects. You’ll find these bricks used in walls, columns, foundations, and more with a huge purpose range. When you use them to build walls, these bricks do require plastering or rendering using mortar to help improve the water resistance, strength, and insulation abilities.
You can split these bricks into four categories based on quality. Fourth-class bricks have irregular shapes, are over-burnt, and commonly broken down to use as aggregate. Third-class are very poor-quality materials that you only want to use for temporary structures, and second-class bricks are moderate in terms of quality with a rough surface, irregular shape, and hair-thin cracks. Finally, first-class bricks are the best out of the four classifications, and they have a smooth surface, standard shape, and better strength and durability.
- Best For: Since these bricks work for a huge range of purposes, they’re one of the most versatile you can get. They work in foundation building, columns, and large or small construction projects.
Calcium Silicate Bricks
Better known as sand lime bricks, this brick style has a larger amount of sand in the makeup at 88% to 92%. The 8% to 12% that is left over is usually lime. Unlike using more traditional clay bricks that get fired using kilns, these types of bricks get formed when the materials bond using a chemical reaction that happens when you dry out the wet bricks under pressure and heat.
When you compare them to other bricks, these bricks have a very uniform texture and color, and you won’t have to use as much mortar to hold them together. However, they won’t be able to withstand exposure to fire or water for extended periods, so they won’t work well for building furnaces or laying foundations.
- Best For: This brick works well for building projects because it offers excellent acoustic insulation, good humidity and heat absorption, and great fire resistance. You’ll need these high-strength brick types for load-bearing masonry projects.
Typically used for internal brickwork to create fences or facades, this type of brick uses solid concrete in the materials. You pour the concrete into custom molds, and this lets the companies create custom brick sizes and shapes. You can typically find this type of brick at your local masonry supplier or hardware store.
Professionals can make these bricks right at their worksite using two parts sand, one part cement, and four parts aggregates. If you want to use it for a foundation, you’ll need ones with a higher strength point, and you can make it by adjusting the formula to six parts aggregates, three parts sand, and one part cement.
- Best For: This brick size and style is popular for use on outdoor walls, internal brickworks, and facades. You can create them onsite as you work to save on shipping costs and time for bigger projects, and they’re perfect for outdoor shower walls.
If you look at masonry walls, the copings are the top bricks on a finished project, and they come in different brick sizes and shapes. They are critical for helping to shield the mortared brick coursings under them, and they help with moisture management. The curvature degree or lack of one, size, and height of this brick will determine where the water flows down the structure when it storms. The correct coping keeps the water from pooling directly onto the brickwork, and it makes it flow away from the structure’s base. You can also use them decoratively.
- Best For: Finishing the tops of walls to help manage moisture and direct it from the foundation of the wall to prevent damage.
Just like you’d get from the name, these bricks are popular amongst structural engineers because they have a high density and compression strength. This makes them ideal as load-bearing materials. They also have a very low absorption capacity that stops them from absorbing moisture around them, so they won’t leak, crumble, or crack.
There is another added benefit of the brick’s low porosity, and it also makes it more resistant to chemicals that can make their way into these bricks and corrode them from the inside out. Due to the impressive density, strength, water resistance, and chemical resistance, you’ll find them used to create sewers, basement foundations, retaining walls, and manholes.
- Best For: This brick is ideal for use in basements or other damp areas since they have a low porosity and high compressive strength while being resistant to water damage and chemicals.
This is a facade material, and you get a standard brick size with it. They’re stronger than most other types of bricks while also having a much higher durability rating. You’ll get a reddish-brown coloring that gives you a much more aesthetic look to the building or home siding, and you can choose from a huge range of facing bricks when you shop.
- Best For: You’ll typically find facing bricks on the exterior of walls or buildings because they have a nice weather-resistance to them.
If you’re trying to create a wall, structure, or framework that is extremely resistant to fire and heat, firebricks are the best material you could pick out. They’re also called refractory bricks, and they feature a special type of clay in the makeup known as fireclay. This material has alumina and silica in it. So, these bricks can withstand exposure up to 3,000°F without any problems.
Also, they don’t just resist flames. They also hold up very well to colder temperatures and rapid temperature fluctuations. So, you’ll typically find these bricks used in chimneys, furnaces, firepits, brick grills, and wood-fire ovens.
- Best For: Very common for lining chimneys or in fire pits. They have a high resistance to heat and fire, and they won’t chip, crack, or break from heat stress.
If your bricks are going to have exposure to fire or extremely high temperatures or temperature swings on a normal basis, it’s a good idea to pick out brick that can withstand it. Our Chimney by Joe Shlabotnik / CC BY 2.0
Fly Ash Bricks
Fly ash is the residue left over from coal-fired power plants, and they have toxic metals in the makeup like arsenic, mercury, chromium, and antinomy. These bricks are made using Class C or F fly ass, cement, quicklime, gypsum, aluminum powder, and water. The goal is to help reduce how much toxic metal gets released into the environment. They give you a very uniform shape because they use a machine mold for casting.
The bricks offer a very high compression strength with a lower water absorption rate, and they’re a great alternative to the popular burnt clay bricks. However, as the brick size gets larger, the durability of the brick decreases. This can lead to fractures or cracks, and this is why they usually have much smaller size offerings.
- Best For: They’re durable, strong and you can use them in place of burnt clay bricks. They also help protect the environment when you use them.
Over Burnt or Jhama Bricks
This type of brick is also known as vitrified brick, and it gets fired at very high temperatures for a longer timeframe than you do for a conventional brick. So, you get a more distorted shape, and it has a higher absorption capacity. The strength levels are also higher or the same as first-class bricks. They’re popular to use as lime concrete for foundations.
- Best For: Best used in concrete. You can swap it out for coarse aggregate, and the powder can be used as some fine aggregates too.
Sand Lime Bricks
As the name suggests, these bricks have a mixture of lime, sand, and a color pigment to alter how the brick looks. They also have a higher compressive strength, and they’re a common option when you’re making load-bearing walls in a multi-storied building or a home. This brick doesn’t require that you use a high amount of mortar plaster, and this reduces costs while saving time as you work.
The process to create these bricks combines pressure and heat to make the chemical reaction go quicker, and you’ll get a very uniform, smooth finish that’s great for construction projects. The bricks are also commonly used in homes as acoustic insulation because sound won’t pass through the dense lime and sand material very well.
- Best For: They work very well for acoustic insulation, and they have a higher level of fire-resistance and strength that make them excellent for use in load-bearing walls.
Sun-Dried Clay Bricks
Some DIYers may want to make these bricks on their own, and this allows you to choose your brick size. These bricks date back to 7,000 BC in southern Turkey, and they were also used around modern-day Palestine and in Jericho. They have a mixture of water, loamy soil, and straw, but they can also contain clay, manure, and sand to prevent them from cracking and make them stronger.
You have to pour the mixture into molds and put the molds in a location where it’s dry and they can dry out and harden. Once they dry, you can remove them and use them for temporary masonry projects. These are the least durable and weakest options you can have, and you never want to use them for long-term applications.
- Best For: Since these bricks aren’t nearly as strong or stable as other bricks, you can use them for temporary structures.
The final brick type on the list is one type that is popular in walkways and stairways. They have a smooth, flat, and rounded-edge style that you use alongside rectangular bricks to build outdoor stairs in commercial and residential settings. They have a slightly shorter height that ensures you get the mortar to settle more evenly, and the rounded edges enhance how they look.
- Best For: Round-edge steps using these bricks look very elegant while being comfortable to sit on. You can use them to form pathways on reinforced, level ground.
We’ve outlined 12 different brick sizes and several more types to give you a good idea on what is available to you. You can use this quick guide to find the perfect brick size and type to help you create durable and stable projects that will last for years.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.