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Two places to buy Roman bricks in a wide variety of colors and styles

Roman brickCommonly chosen to emphasize the long, low architecture of ranch houses, “Roman brick” was a signature design feature likely used to build millions of American homes  in the 1950s and 1960s. We also see Roman brick frequently used on fireplaces. My immediate neighborhood reflects this trend — with about one in three homes built using Roman brick — including mine, that’s my brick above. We’ve received questions in the past about where to get Roman brick, so Pam sent me on a research mission, and I found two places to buy Roman brick in an impressive variety of styles and colors.

roman tomb
Roman bricks: Tomb on via Appia antica in Rome. Via WikiCommons

Roman brick — as the name suggests — can trace its history back to ancient Rome. Ancient Roman bricks were made in a variety dimensions, but always longer and flatter than traditional brick. Roman bricks were reintroduced into contemporary architecture in the early 20th century.

1950 ranch house
Gorgeous roman brick clads the exterior of this 1950 Dallas midcentury modern time capsule house — and the interior is full of it, too.
roman-brick-fireplace
The double-sided roman brick fireplace in Michael and Teresa’s 1962 house, from our 2013 uploader. UPDATE: Reader Tear-down Townie says these are “Norman bricks.” So there are distinctions within the distinction? Yup, Norman bricks — see this brick dimensions guide from Belden Brick. Thanks, Tear-down, for making us even smarter!

This long, thin brick was used extensively by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright for many of his Prairie style homes, because he liked how the brick helped emphasize the horizontal lines common to his home designs. The same held true when ranch house production boomed in postwar American. By the middle of the 20th century, we believe they were quite commonly used on and in midcentury modern and modest houses alike — we seem them in a lot of reader photos. Ranch houses simply look great, clad in roman brick, and golly, Roman brick fireplaces are awesome! If you need to renovate or change out the mantle of the fireplace in your midcentury house — be sure take a look at Roman brick as an option.

Two places to find Roman brick today

1. The Belden Brick Company — 13 Roman brick styles

The Belden Brick Company began as the Diebold Fire Brick Company in 1885 in Canton, Ohio. According to the company, it is the sixth largest (by production volume) brick manufacturer in the U.S. — and the largest family-owned and -managed brick company in the country. Belden offers 13 styles of Roman brick, which are available to purchase nationwide through their distributors.

From The Belden Brick Company website:

Roman Brick is ideal for creating a distinct and different look to any structure. It characteristically has longer and more linear dimensions than those of standard modern brick. Belden Roman Brick was used on the restoration of the Famous Frank Lloyd Wright “Martin House Complex” in Buffalo, New York. The dimensions of Belden Roman Face Brick are 3-5/8” x 1-5/8” x 11-5/8”.

Roman BrickAbove: Medium Range Ironspot (Shadow-Tex)

Roman BrickAbove: Red Shale (Shadow-Tex)

Roman BrickAbove: Red Shale (Smooth)

Roman BrickAbove: Belcrest 500

Roman BrickAbove: Dark Range Ironsphot (Smooth)

Roman BrickAbove: Frontier Blend (Velour)

Roman BrickAbove: Beaver Blend

Roman BrickAbove: Medium Range Ironspot (Smooth)

Roman BrickAbove: Light Range Ironspot (Smooth)

Roman BrickAbove: Light Range Ironspot (Velour)

Roman BrickAbove: Sunburst (Velour)

Roman BrickAbove: Mayo Blend

Roman BrickAbove: 8531

Links:

2. Cloud Ceramics — 29 colors, 8 textures

colors of bricksRoman BrickCloud Ceramics has been producing bricks in Kansas since 1946. Today the company makes some 29 different colors of brick, eight textures and several sizes — including Roman brick. Their bricks are sold nationwide and in Canada and can be ordered through distributors. Cloud Ceramics also offers brick matching — allowing homeowners and contractors to send them photos of an existing building — even one with aged brick — so Cloud Ceramics can suggest or custom make the best available match. The company will even send physical brick samples to you for match comparison purposes.

brick texturesAbove: Antique texture

brick texturesAbove: Rockface texture

brick texturesAbove: Rustic texture

brick texturesAbove: Shadowtex texture

brick texturesAbove: Smooth texture

brick texturesAbove: Velour texture

brick texturesAbove: Vertex texture

brick texturesAbove: Wiretex texture

Links:

Outside the US and still looking for Roman brick?

  1. mcmsdmike says:

    my moms 1958 del webb mid century ranch has them on the fireplace , learned something new today ,we want to add the ash fork ariz stacked sandstone to the front porch and planters someday

  2. Joe Felice says:

    And then there was “Miami brick”. . . . Very popular here in Colorado in the ’50s & ’60s. Don’t know how it got that name. It was normally light mauve, almost lavender, in color. For those unfamiliar with it, it consists of long, narrow bricks of varying lengths, placed in a staggered pattern. The texture was pretty rough. Wiretex texture was also very popular, as was cedar siding (painted) and Johns-Manville cementious siding, which contained asbestos. I never understood that product’s popularity (other than cost, since Johns-Manville is headquartered here). It broke very easily when hit by such things as baseballs, lawn mowers and hail. It was, however, fire-proof. I think this product was even called “Coloradobestos siding.” http://homerenovations.about.com/od/houseexteriorframework/a/artcemasbesside.htm

  3. Steven Meyer says:

    Hi Kate, You have the exact same brick that my 1952 home is built with. I have a doorway and window to close in after remodeling.

    I had located and researched the Belden Brick selections and my local dealer seems to only to be able to get the light range ironspot which appears too orange with orange specks in the brick.

    What did you choose for your brick replacement?

    I am stumped with what to do for replacement and am considering a veneer siding that would be close in color but very different form.

    Steve Meyer
    Mt Pleasant WI

  4. Modular Masonry has been manufacturing and supplying quality limestone and concrete blocks in Western Australia since 1977.

    We are proud of the reputation we have gained over the years as a reliable provider of quality building materials; it’s a reputation that has enabled us to work closely with some of the state’s leading architects, landscapers and builders on some truly outstanding projects.

    http://modularmasonry.com.au/

  5. Cindy L. says:

    I think my fireplace has a rock face texture. Sadly, it’s been painted over.
    Has anyone had any luck in removing pairing from brick and wood panels?
    Thank you.

  6. Kelsey says:

    Hi there-
    Our home is a Shadow-Tex Roman Brick ranch…orange in color. It looks like there are many fans of the brick on this page, but mid-century modern is not really our style. I’d love to paint the brick. Does anyone know if shadow-tex style bricks (specifically outdoors) can be painted just like any other brick?
    Thanks!

  7. Rob says:

    We took down a 13’ wide fireplace made from orangish Roman bricks, it was just too heavy for our small living room. Anyway I salvaged 400 full bricks and another 100 halves. I’d like to find some way for them to be reused instead of going to the landfill. They have been de-mortared. Does anyone know of a recycled building material Businees that deals in Roman brick? I’m in St. Paul, MN.

  8. Liza says:

    We just purchased a 1,700sqft 1958 ranch with Roman brick exterior, in the tan/yellow colorway at the top of the post. I am so pleased to find this information! We also have a basement fireplace in the same brick. Sadly, almost every vintage detail has been stripped from the house, but some remain – the front door, some cool swinging doors between the kitchen and hallway, and the original four prong phone socket in the basement. We haven’t moved in yet, so hopefully we will find more fun things once we are fully moved in. If I could post a photo I would.

  9. Coopercapers says:

    Endicott near Omaha Nebraska has been around forever and makes roman, norman as well as many other bricks, thin ones full ones, you name it. The look of the brick has to do with the clay used. The ironspots give it a lot of character. The soil around Endicott his heavy in iron so their bricks are gorgeous. Check it out!

  10. Lisa Wallace says:

    Hi, Retro Lovers, We have retired to a “tired” ’80s Knoxville area rancher. We are seeking a resource for General Shale’s “Kingsport Ancestral” modular brick to add walls where are will remove a sliding door and install a stationary window. We would only need #250. We just sold our ’55 ranch and are recreating some of the ’50s details inside we left behind (vintage blue bathroom sinks!), but finding this exterior brick is proving to be tricky. Anyone out there know of a good brick hunter? Thanks loads, Lisa And Will

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Lisa,

      I presume you know General Shale still exists? https://generalshale.com/

      I don’t see it on their website, but perhaps they could help you find it?

      Note to other readers: No buying/selling here in these threads or it becomes chaos. Thank you for your understanding. Note, if you think you DO have a craigslisting (etc) for this exact brick (google it), you can put up the craigslist link.

  11. John says:

    Does anyone know if Roman Brick can be limewashed? i have the same type of brick as the first photo in the article and my wife is determined to limewash (whitewash) our exterior.

  12. John Sloan says:

    I have brick that looks like the brick on your house shown at the beginning of “Two places to buy Roman bricks in a wide variety of colors and styles,” except mine is rustic finish instead of shadow finish. The overall color and variation in color among bricks seems the same. Your “Two Places…” article is almost five years old, but I did not find any other sources that might offer brick like yours, but with rustic finish. Do you know of any other sources for 2021.

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