Side Story: Hollow Brick: 101


April 2009


How well do you understand hollow brick? Traditionally, the size and number of holes in a brick unit have varied, based on manufacturer capabilities, the type of clay being extruded, the type of firing process, and the intended use of the product. These various hole patterns were categorized into two basic designations: solid brick and hollow brick. Solid brick are defined as having holes (or voids) not greater than 25 percent of the unit’s bed area. Hollow brick are defined as having greater than 25 percent and, at most, 60 percent void areas. Hollow brick are further classified into those with a void area not greater than 40 percent and those with greater than 40 percent voids. In today’s construction, the majority of hollow brick produced is used in two basic applications.

The first is in reinforced or unreinforced, single-wythe structural walls. Hollow brick units provide both the structural component and the brick finish without the need for additional materials. Hollow bricks for this type of use generally range in size from four to eight inches in nominal thickness, with void areas in the 35 percent to 60 percent range. Typical, single-wythe applications of hollow brick include commercial, retail and residential buildings; hotels; schools; noise barrier walls; and retaining walls. The second application of hollow brick is as veneer units. These bricks are generally three to four inches in nominal thickness, with void areas typically between about 26 percent and 35 percent (source: Brick Industry Association Tech Note 41).

The decision to incorporate this material could mean a savings of the both material and fuel used to make the bricks. Pollutants are reduced during the firing of the bricks, and shipping the material is cheaper, due to a reduced weight. You can keep up with changes in the specs and characteristics of hollow brick and all brick materials by visiting

Related Posts

  • 56
    April 2009 Brick Thin Brick Is Thin Brick Your Friend or Foe? As a marketer of thin brick and thin brick wall systems for the last 20 years, I see first-hand how people many view thin brick as an asset to the masonry industry, and how many others see it as material that is “taking…
    Tags: brick
  • 45
    Six New Shapes for Sustainable Brick LineCalStar ProductsCaledonia, Wis. CalStar Products is expanding its brick offerings with six new sizes. The units incorporate 37 percent recycled content and eliminate the need for kiln-firing. The new sizes comprise the Ambassador brick: 2 1/4” high x 15 5/8” long – available smooth or as a split-face unit;…
    Tags: brick, percent
  • 44
    February 2014 Bricks and Blocks Fire Safety Through Brick The brick: It wraps itself around your most prized possessions – unless, of course, you live in a house clad with lesser materials. And those prized possessions? You and your loved ones who dwell inside those four walls. It just makes sense to protect them with…
    Tags: brick
  • 37
    February 2012 For The Record Behold the Brick Jennifer Morrell Editor Pick up the real estate section of any newspaper, open any real estate directory in any city, or visit any realty website, and the descriptions of the homes – anywhere in the country – will be the same, if bricks are used. You…
    Tags: brick
  • 37
    September 2009 BIA Awards Brick Industry Association 2009 Brick in Architecture Awards The Brick Industry Association (BIA) announced the recipients of its 2009 Brick in Architecture Awards, which honor innovative use of clay brick in eight categories: commercial, educational, health care facilities, houses of worship, multi-family residential, municipal/government, paving and landscape architecture, and single-family residential…
    Tags: brick


Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

John Smith, Jr.

John Smith, Jr. receives the 2015 MCAA C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner (First Year), Masonry Skills Challenge

Synpro Products

Masonry Magazine Video News Interview: Michael Goyne

Hydro Mobile Inc

Interview with Kevin O'Shea of Hydro Mobile, Inc.

Interview with Mark Kemp – Chairman, MCAA

Interview with Masonry Contractors Association of America Chairman, Mark Kemp

Mortar Net Solutions

Interview with Steve Fechino from Mortar Net Solutions

Pullman Ermator

Interview with Lyndon Kelsey of Pullman Ermator

Keene Building Products

Interview with Jim O'Neill of Keene Building Products