Types and Sizes

Clay brick is one of the oldest building materials used by man. Brick is manufactured from naturally-occurring surface clays, shales, and fire clays. Fired to a high temperature, brick is inherently resistant to moisture attack, fire, and insects.

Brick may be completely solid or have cores or cells for reinforcement placement.

Typical brick sizes include (width x height x length):

Actual brick sizes are slightly less than nominal sizes to account for the mortar joint thickness; mortar head and bed joints are normally specified at 3/8” thick for brick masonry.

Colors, Surface Textures

Brick come in a wide range of colors and textures. Many brick colors are derived from the source materials and color is consistent through the entire brick section. Some manufacturers get color variations by applying a surface slurry or sand coating to the exposed brick face.

ASTM Requirements for Brick

A series of ASTM specifications list required properties for solid building brick, veneer brick, and hollow reinforceable brick. Brick durability is ensured by requirements for minimum compressive strength and maximum absorption.

Weather Exposures

Brick with greater resistance to freezing damage are required for use in exterior applications throughout much of the U.S. Use Grade SW brick for severe weather exposures and Grade MW brick for moderate weather exposure and interior applications. See ASTM brick standards for more information on weather regions throughout the U.S. and the proper type of brick to use on your project.

Surface Finish Grades

Some variations in brick dimensions are expected and ASTM brick specifications include limits on uniformity, acceptable chippage, and cracks. Standard veneer brick designations, for example, range from Type FBS (general use) to intentionally roughened (tumbled brick) Type FBA to high precision, very uniform Type FBX brick.

Brick Tests

ASTM C67, Standard Test Methods for Sampling and Testing Brick and Structural Clay Tile, contains a series of tests used to measure brick strength, absorption, dimensions, and durability properties.

Specifying Brick