Choosing the Right Brick: Style, Size and Cost.

Planning a new home can be one of life’s most exciting endeavors! With so many real estate and home design shows on TV and instant access to social sharing sites like Pinterest, we have virtually no limit to sources of inspiration. In this article, we’ll explore how to get inspired and pull the key elements together, where to find the brick options available in your region and which brick sizes to consider – all of which will impact the final look and budget of your house.


Whether you have a specific brick in mind or are starting from scratch, it’s always a great idea to see how a product looks on an existing home. You can do this in person by visiting some favorite neighborhoods, or you can go on our website and view the Inspiration Gallery. Our online gallery gives you a broad range of options, and probably shows you some designs and color schemes you haven’t seen before.

Several key features impact a home design, even if they seem like secondary accents. Please note the following elements when recording the home styles your love.

Architectural Style: Categorize your top picks: are they Colonial, Ranch, Mid-century, Spanish, Cape Cod, Craftsman? A brick choice won’t change the overall design, so know what style is for you!

Setting: Be aware of how the lot size and setting contribute to a home’s aesthetic impact. It’s very important to know where you are building and what settings are available to you. Be realistic and you won’t be disappointed.

Trim & Decorative Effects: Exterior color palettes involve everything from shingles and gutters to door and window frames. A dark or light palette can make a brick color look dramatically different. Don’t underestimate the importance of these ‘decorative’ effects.

Mortar Color & Joint Type: Mortar can make up 20% of a brick wall surface, so it goes without saying that you need to be aware of your preferences. Make note of it. The joint type is another key feature that you should discuss with your builder before you get started.


As a heavy product that requires shipping from manufacturing plant to dealer, brick is best sourced from a plant in your region to keep costs down. At General Shale, we offer a location filter, so that you can check what brick products are available in the region closest to you. Of course, our brick is available throughout North America (and we have 300 dealers across the U.S.), so don’t be too discouraged if your area isn’t listed. Simply contact your local General Shale dealer  to get a better understanding of availability and possible shipping costs. A visit to your dealer showroom is time well spent!


Brick Size

Brick size affects the look of a home and the total cost of construction. Depending on the scope of the project, it’s important to determine the correct size for your new home. Choosing the wrong size can result in a less than ideal final appearance and perhaps lead to spending more money than you need to.

Many people aren’t aware of the range brick sizes and types. Here’s a summary of General Shale’s brick size offering:

Brick Cost

Masons typically charge per thousand brick (because the components are priced and packaged differently). When planning, you need this cost converted to cost per square foot. We’ve made this process simple with our Wall Cost Calculator. This online tool helps you compare the wall cost for different brick sizes, and gives you a brick wall cost to compare with other siding materials.

An Example for Savings

Certain brick sizes, such as the Light Weight King Size (LWK) brick, can result in total wall cost saving of up to 25%. That’s right, size does matter when it comes to brick wall cost and some sizes like the LWK can result in lower costs. This is because LWK is about the same weight as a conventional brick and can be handled at the same production rate by the masons. However, a LWK has a larger face size and less brick are required per square foot so overall wall labor cost is lower.

Now, Get Started!

We hope we’ve given you some useful tips on getting started with your brick selection. Your home’s exterior is a such an important personal choice and also a big portion of your budget – so take the time you need to make your decision. Be sure to check with your local General Shale sales representative if you would like any guidance. Plus, our mobile General Shale app is a convenient way to browse products while you are out ‘house shopping’ this spring!