How to calculate how many bricks to build a wall

Written by kelvin o'donahue
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How to calculate how many bricks to build a wall
To estimate the number of bricks needed to build a wall, first measure a single brick. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

A wall built from brick not only adds security and strength to your property, it also provides a pleasing geometric backdrop for the landscaping. Because of the bricks' size and weight, homeowners generally arrange to have the amount needed for a large project delivered by the masonry company or lumberyard. Doing so requires that you estimate the number of bricks needed before placing the order.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Measure the length and thickness of one of the bricks that will be used in the wall. A standard brick is 2-1/4 inches wide and 7-1/2 to 8 inches long. Add 1/2 inch to both the length and thickness to account for the mortar joint between adjacent bricks. For example, a brick that is 2-1/4 inches by 7-1/2 inches, plus mortar joints, will occupy 2 3/4 inches by 8 inches.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of the space for the wall and convert the number to inches. Divide the length in inches by the length of a brick plus mortar joint. For example, a wall 36 feet, 8 inches long is 440 inches long (36 X 12 = 432 + 8 = 440). Each course (single layer) of bricks will need 440 / 8 = 55 bricks.

  3. 3

    Determine the desired height of the wall in inches, and divide the height by the thickness of a brick and mortar joint. For example, a wall 72 inches tall requires 26.18 courses of 2-3/4-inch-wide bricks; rounded up to 27 courses.

  4. 4

    Multiply the number of bricks per course (55) by the number of courses (27) to obtain the number of bricks in a single-thickness wall or veneer. For our example, the number is 1,485 bricks. Double that number for a double-thickness wall. Bricklayers generally add 5 per cent to the estimate to cover broken or wasted bricks, for about 1,560 bricks in this case.

Tips and warnings

  • Include finish bricks in your count, such as those that will be used to close the top or ends of the wall.
  • Don't include measurements for bricks where a door, window or other break in the brick sequence are planned in your calculations.

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