13 types of bricks: characteristics and uses

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From solid bricks to hollow bricks and glass bricks, there is the right brick for each type of construction.

Know the differences between the different types of bricks it will help you to approach the works competently.

There are so many alternatives, on the other hand the invention of bricks goes back millions of years and over time they have been improved and adapted to the needs of modern construction, both for the type of material and for the construction technique and for the purpose of use.

Whether it is to give structure or to cover something, in this article you will find the right type of brick.

Types of bricks: hollow or solid?

The types of bricks can be divided mainly into two broad categories: i hollow bricks yes solid bricks.

Although we are used to considering the brick as the solid model, it is the hollow bricks that are used in the construction, which are lighter, more practical and versatile, while the solid bricks play a purely aesthetic role.

For example, while perforated tiles come in dozens of shapes and sizes to suit different construction uses, solid ones are available in a few formats, almost always only the standard 12 x 24 x 5.5 cm format and used to build small ornamental structures. such as vaults, barbecues, low walls or fireplaces.

Even if the perforated material may seem more fragile to us, the cavities inside it do not weaken its structure and on the contrary increase its resistance because the concrete allows better adhesion on the rows, giving greater stability to the whole structure.

Now that we’ve given a first dusting of the two main categories, let’s get down to business by analyzing the different types of bricks one by one.

Here is the list of all types of bricks:


1. Clay brick

clay brick

the clay brick it is the type of “historical” brick par excellence. Its glorious past has, however, given way to drilling for major projects despite its good quality. thermoacoustic insulation and very resistant to compression and stress.

The fact is that, being solid, they are heavier and more expensive than perforated ones. The difficulty in handling them due to their weight (nearly 3 kg per single brick) is accompanied by higher transport costs and difficulty in moving around.

There are two types of classic solid bricks:

  • Full English brick: 8.5 x 10.5 x 21.5cm
  • Italian solid brick: 6 x 12 x 25cm

Between the two in Italy the full italianalso because it is perfectly modular (unlike theEnglish).

As mentioned, today they are mainly used to make ornamental structures and are still appreciated for the construction of load-bearing walls thanks to their high resistance to stress.

2. Clay brick

Brick on brick

THE solid bricks they are obtained by mixing clay, sand and oxides of different types. It is found in solid and semi-perforated versions and is used for all types of construction, from partitions to load-bearing structures.

The material has many advantages, from impermeability to excellent thermal conductivity, including resistance to compression, frost and excellent thermal and acoustic insulation capabilities.

The UNI standard defines the standard size of solid bricks as 5.5 x 12 x 25 cm.

3. Hand protection brick (or “exposed”)

the handguard brick (or exposed) is a classic solid brick with a particularly refined aesthetic precisely because it is used for coat a wall (exterior or interior) or to build ovens and other particular objects in which there must be a balance between performance and design.

There are many sizes and finishes, from rustic to modern looks. Compared to conventional solid bricks, facing bricks are more expensive precisely because production must be more precise.

4. Aerated concrete brick


THE aerated concrete bricks they are light and malleable from a processing point of view.

Concrete has excellent insulating properties (thermal, acoustic and fireproof) and indeed it is widely used to make floors, fire walls, floors but also load-bearing walls.

It is also an economical and versatile brick that can be found in many shapes and sizes and also prepared on request to meet particular needs, for example with rounded or particular shapes.

Bricks of this type are not decomposable and therefore provide excellent resistance even in contact with living soil, however they are more fragile than other bricks, which is why they do not exist in a semi-solid or perforated version.


5. Concrete block

Concrete block

Strong and mighty, I concrete blocks they are fundamental in construction. One of the main advantages is precisely the great resistance of concrete which allows the creation of blocks of large size and therefore much more practical to use in the construction phase.

They can be used for both load-bearing and non-load-bearing structures, depending on the model and its suitability for the type of use.

A bit like brick, concrete also has many formats, from the classic block of 20 x 20 cm to 8-hole tiles of 10 x 25 x 10 cm for example, or 15 holes of 12 x 25 x 12 cm.

They can be found in raw color or in more variegated colors that allow you to take advantage of the aesthetic aspect to furnish exposed surfaces.

Additionally, concrete blocks are easily found in special, even solid shapes, such as column or chimney post trim.

6. Perforated brick

Brick perforated in the brick

Certainly the most used of all in construction, the classic hollow clay brick it has countless formats to adapt to the many purposes it has to fulfill.

Some of the more common brick types include:

  • For floors – tavelle, tavelline, tavelloni, pignatte and volterrane;
  • For masonry – solid bricks, blocks and semi-perforated bricks (for load-bearing walls), bricks and perforated blocks (for partitions and cladding);
  • For roofs – are the tiles that we usually see on the roofs. Based on shape and size, they have different names but all share the waterproof feature;
  • For chimneys and flues – they have a particular shape with the perforated interior resembling a tube;
  • For flooring – special bricks used to make paths or terracotta floors.

7. Semi-solid brick

Semi-solid brick

the semi-solid brick it can be made of various materials although the most common is brick. Unlike perforated, it has a lower hollow percentage and is exactly halfway between solid and perforated.

They can be A-type (with holes between 15% and 25% of the brick) e B-type (with holes between 45% and 55% of the brick).

Being widely used in construction, there are many shapes and sizes even though the classic is 6 x 12 x 24 cm for 6 holes.

Compared to perforated, it has a lower strength capacity, can withstand less pressure and tends to break more easily, which is why it is used especially in the construction of room separation walls and not for load-bearing walls .


8. Extruded brick

brick extruded

the extruded brick it is a type of semi-solid or hollow brick obtained with an extrusion technique in which the dough is compressed and passed through a machine that gives it shape and thickness similar to that of stretching pasta to eat.

The long loaf of dough is then cut to size and baked.

9. Pressed Brick

Pressed brick

Again the pressed brick it is a brick obtained with the technique of pressing (or stamping). Unlike extrusion, here the paste is formed in a machine that presses the solid brick into a mould.

Among all, it is the most used procedure.

10. Glass brick

glass brick

THE glass blocks they are completely different bricks from those used in the building, in fact they have an exclusively ornamental purpose.

They are made by means of a process of pressing two panes of glass and, contrary to what one might think given the fragility of the starting material, they are incredibly resistant to mechanical stress.

The glass block offers a good level of acoustic insulation and its characteristic appearance allows it to be used to create partitions of great visual effect.

11. Porous Brick

porous brick

the porous brick it is a type of brick made with an advanced technique that combines raw clay with brighteners, giving the brick a structure rich in cavities.

It is a high thermal performance brick used to meet very specific construction instructions.

They can be of two types:

  • With macroporizations – obtained by adding expanded polystyrene which evaporates during cooking, leaving cells of 1 to 2 mm


  • With microporizations – obtained by adding diatomaceous earth, cellulose, wood or other organic and inorganic types.

In addition to being better in terms of insulation, porous bricks are particularly ductile.

12. Clinker brick


the Clinker (or Klinkerlisten)) is a brick material obtained by firing the raw material at temperatures high enough to affect its vitrification.

Its brick version is very popular and used in facade cladding because it is reliable and durable, as well as being aesthetically attractive.

At the base of the Clinker is a particular type of clay, the “lean”. Compared to a classic brick, Clinker has a significantly higher density which also makes it more durable over time.

They can be found in different shapes, colors and finishes, perforated or not, manufactured both by extrusion and by pressing.

It has excellent resistance to wear, water, freezing, abrasion, compression and bending.

13. Hemp Brick

hemp brick

the hemp brick is a fairly recent product born from the need to find more ecological solutions for green building and characterized by a mixture of hemp (hemp) fibers and lime.

Also defined by the term “biomactone“, In reality it is not certain that it is really more ecological to produce than other types of bricks but on its side it certainly has the incredible insulating properties between the interior and the exterior – it is not no coincidence that it is one of the most used materials in the construction of wooden houses.

In addition, these bricks are able to normalize the humidity levels in the rooms avoiding thermal bridges and condensation, thus improving the habitability of the house and also its health since they prevent the formation of mold and fungi.

They are light and easy to transport, ductile and (not insignificant aspect) totally fireproof.


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