Brick sizes?

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Brick sizes are not standardized, vary by country, and have different standards for facing and paving bricks. Even the names used for brick sizes are not standardized. Actual and nominal sizes are used, but joint sizes vary, making nominal sizes inconsistent. It is best to ask manufacturers for dimensions and order surplus.

Brick sizes are standard dimensions used by brick manufacturers to ensure products remain consistent and reliable. Masons working with bricks can theoretically determine how much coverage is needed along with the desired look and then order a specific number of bricks in a specific size for the job. However, brick sizing is immensely complicated, and despite the fact that it should be standardized, it really isn’t.

The first thing to note when discussing brick sizes is that there are different standards for facing bricks and paving bricks. Paver brick is used for things like walkways and patios, while facing brick is used to make walls. Sometimes the same term will be used to talk about two different sizes of pavers and facing bricks. For example, many countries have a size called the “standard” which is quite different, depending on whether you are talking about facing brick or paving brick.

The next thing to keep in mind is that brick sizes vary greatly by country. The size of a “standard” facing brick, for example, is anything but standard, which can become a serious problem when people order bricks from different countries. An Italian standard brick and an American standard brick, for example, are not the same size, which means that a course mixing such bricks will not be uniform.

On top of that, even the names used for brick sizes are not standardized, even within the same country. One company’s jumbo brick may be another company’s ‘economy’, for example. This means that the supposed standards that apply to brick sizes are effectively meaningless, because you can’t use standardized terms and assume that someone knows what size you are discussing.

Finally, the bricks are sized in nominal and actual sizes. Actual size refers, as you might guess, to the actual measured size of the brick, and comes in three dimensions, length, width and height, so that people understand the size and shape of the brick. The nominal size, also referred to as length, height, and width, is the size calculated with the joints, but because joint sizes vary, even the nominal sizes are not uniform in nature. For this reason, companies usually list both brick sizes so people know exactly what they’re buying.

Since brick sizes are not standardized, it is preferable to ask brick manufacturers to simply provide the dimensions of their products when ordering. Most companies also indicate how much area a given number of bricks can cover by estimating an average joint size between bricks, and people can also use a brick calculator to determine how many bricks they need to order for a project. As always, ordering the surplus in case the bricks are broken or the measurements are slightly off is a great idea.

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