The Right Fit: How to Choose Your Brick Size

Life as a consumer was certainly simpler, years ago – when product options were limited. And, while having lots of choice makes shopping today more interesting, it can feel overwhelming at times. Building a home comes with countless considerations and numerous options. In this article, we’ll help simplify one of the important decisions when it comes to your home exterior – selecting the right brick size.


Brick manufacturers offer a variety of brick sizes, mainly to provide suitable products for various building types. For example, larger ‘utility’ bricks cover more square footage and therefore lower product and installation costs on big commercial projects. When it comes to brick sizes for residential homes, General Shale offers several options, which offer aesthetic and cost differences:

Brick sizes are given in thickness (or bed depth) by height by length. The ‘void’ area represents the holes/gaps on the inside of the brick.

Lightweight Modular

3-1/2” x 2-1/4” x 7-5/8”

Modular is the most common brick size used in residential construction. The modular brick was developed (from a ‘standard’ size) to create an 8” modular dimension. This size makes it easier to install standard doors and windows (when installed with a 3/8” mortar joint). General Shale’s Lightweight Modular Size features a slightly larger void area (30% vs. the 24% standard), which provides a greater fire resistance rating.

 Engineered Modular

3-1/2” x 2-3/4” x 7-5/8”

This brick features the same bed depth (thickness) as our Modular, but has a taller face height. This extra height gives it a different installed look and also reduces the amount of brick needed. Engineered Modular is often referred to as an ‘oversized’ brick.

Lightweight Queen

2-3/4” x 2-3/4” x 7-5/8”

Queen size brick is a ½” taller than our Modular size for a different aesthetic. This is a cost effective option due to the reduced thickness or bed depth.

Lightweight King

2-3/4” x 2-3/4” x 9-5/8”

Our King size brick provides a low installed wall cost because fewer bricks are required per square foot. At two inches longer, the King size also delivers a unique finished look.


3-1/2” x 3-1/8” x 10-1/8”

General Shale Elite brick is referred to as a solid unit because the void area is less than or equal to 25%. These units are most commonly used in Canada, and are suitable to northern climates in the U.S.



 Take Advantage of our Online Resources!

Real life examples are a great way to start planning! You’ll find lots of inspiration in our online gallery, and, if you’re always on the go, our General Shale app let’s you browse our product selection from your phone, and even get rough estimates on brick costs. When you visit our website, you can select by color palette, size and location – to instantly see what options are available at the closest manufacturing plant. Our Brick Brochure also includes the top 10 color choices per plant location.

Use MyDesigns to Visualize Your Brick Choice

Our free desktop and mobile tool, MyDesigns allows you to apply popular General Shale brick products to a variety of home styles. You’ll love the real time functionality and ability to save and share your selections. You can even email the home designs you create to your friends, family and builder. 

Field Sample (On-site Sample Board)

If you hire an architect or professional designer, they may request a ‘field sample’, which is normally about 100 square feet of your brick selection installed on a small, temporary wall at the build site. A sample board can be particularly helpful if you’ve selected a brick product with a strong color range.

Hopefully, you are now better informed about brick sizes and the online resources and tools you can use to narrow down your selection. Don’t hesitate to visit your General Shale dealer or distributor who will be able to show you physical samples and talk to you in more detail about size options, delivery and cost.