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LEGO My House: How Many LEGOs Would It Take to Build Your House?

We tasked the Movoto team to create a nifty calculator to figure out how many Legos it would take to build a median-sized American home.

David Cross

Content Editor

237 articles, 24 comments

How Many LEGOs Would It Take to Build Your House?

Has your inner child ever dreamed of living in a Lego house? With a little imagination and hard work, building a new room or extending an existing room would be easy—and most importantly fun. Of course, a home built with millions of brightly colored bricks might not sit well with your HOA. But when has an HOA ever made anything easy?

At the Movoto Real Estate HQ, LEGOs held a special place in our childhood. Boats, airplanes, and cars–we’ve built them all and tore them apart to rebuild them again. At least once, we’ve mused about building a real-life Lego house in the vein of James May.

If you haven’t heard, in 2009 the British resident (along with a 1,000 volunteers) built a two-story LEGO house as part of “James May’s Toy Stories”, a BBC show that looked at toys from the past and their modern applications. The garish brick house wasn’t to last though. It was torn down after Legoland in Winsor wouldn’t take the structure because of exorbitant relocation costs.

Not all of us have the wherewithal to order truckloads of LEGOs and then Facebook harass friends to construct it. (Talk about a house warming!) So in order to appease our own inner child and our curiosity we tasked the Movoto team with figuring out how many LEGOs it would take to build a median-sized American home.

A LEGO Home: Where House Shoes are Paramount

Let’s get it out of the way for the information starved. A two-story house that is 2,169 square feet — the median size of a house, according to the Census Bureau–would take 10,079,829 LEGOs to build.

There’s a disclaimer here: Our estimate would be for the exterior of the structure, including the roof. So if you have have plans for things like interior walls, you’ll be adding more of the plastic blocks to your count. But once you get over ten million LEGOs, what does a few hundred thousand more matter?

A Brick is a Brick, Unless Size Matters

We came up with this figure by first figuring out the size of a standard eight-peg LEGO in inches. We found an excellent resource on LEGO brick dimensions and with some converting from millimeters to inches we had the size of a LEGO: about .26 x .62 x 1.22 inches. After we figured this out we researched the standard size of a brick in the States: 2 1/4 x 4 x 8 inches. The end result: 359 LEGOs per brick.

From here it’s multiplication.


 

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posted on: June 21, 2012
7,056 views, 5 comments

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5 Comments

  1. Mike

    But if you watched the programme at all you would know that James’ house was built out of hollow ‘bricks’, not solid ones, which would dramatically reduce the number of LEGO pieces you would need.
    (PS They are officially called LEGO bricks, not “LEGOs”)

    • Chris Kolmar in response to Mike

      We learned from many user right after we released this that the appropriate term is LEGO bricks, but no-one in the office had ever called them that growing up. So we stood with the more common, at least for us, LEGOs.

      We actually haven’t seen the program, we only read the article about it. I guess it would make sense if you were actually going to make a house out of LEGOs to not jam pack every brick with 359 LEGOs.

  2. David

    You can watch the entire episode of “James May Toy Stories-Lego” on YouTube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR2YqMrS_pM&feature=related to see how he built his Lego house.

  3. DaveE

    So, I know I’m late to the party, but this calculator has a bunch of errors that keep bugging me.

    1) Recheck your math. A 2×4 LEGO brick that’s built into something has a volume of 16mm x 32mm x 9.6mm. You say that it turns into .26″ x .62″ x 1.22″, but that’s just incorrect metric conversion. It’s actually not even CONSISTENT conversion. Cutting off at 3 decimal places is actually: 0.378″ x 0.630″ x 1.260″. That means the “359 LEGO bricks per brick” figure is off by quite a bit. More like 234 or 240, depending on how you want to do the math or the construction.

    2) Your calculator increases linearly as the square footage increases. That means that you’re assuming that one of the walls’ dimensions is a fixed dimension, while the other wall increases to create the appropriate square footage. That means you’re probably assuming that every house is basically a trailer home of varying length.

    3) Something’s just wrong. Your numbers don’t linearly decrease back down to 0. A 0-square-foot, 1 level house by your math would be 1,413,500 LEGO bricks. Something’s wrong with that! Of course, I can’t ENTER 0 to prove it, but a 1-square-foot house (1 level) comes out at 1,418,589 LEGO bricks, which is close enough to demonstrate the error.

    4) James May’s house was about 1166 square feet, and 2 levels, and reportedly used 3.3 million bricks. Your calculator says it would take 7.1 million bricks to accomplish the same feat, AND you admit that you haven’t accounted for floors, support beams, interior walls, or furniture. Just the exterior walls and roof. By contrast, James’ house took roughly 1.6 million bricks for the exterior walls, and (at a guess) 1 million for the roof, tops (probably less). That leaves another 700,000 bricks to construct the 1st and 2nd floor floors, interior walls, decorations, and so forth. IE, your calculator (in this example) is probably off by about a factor of 3.

    Ok, phew, I feel better. Not that I expect you to change your algorithm or anything, because, who the heck cares, right? It’s just some app that you made for fun and to get some publicity. Nobody’s actually going to go building a LEGO house using this as a tool, so what difference does it make if it’s accurate? … And I get that. It just bugs me to see errors like this– so now that I’ve posted about it, I can sleep better at night :)

    DaveE

 

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