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How to Get Started Laying Bricks

Bricklaying is a skilled craft and requires proper planning, attention to detail, and patience. However, even the most novice can become proficient at laying bricks with practice.

Start by scooping up a sausage shape of mortar with your trowel and buttering it across one end. Press it onto the first guide brick. Visit https://www.bricklayerperthwa.com.au/ to learn more.

Laying Bricks

Brick laying is a skilled trade, and you’ll need a bit of experience to master the technique. But if you’re committed to the task, it’s possible for even a beginner to get started and develop their skills over time. A few simple tools, a willing attitude, and you’ll be on your way to creating strong and beautiful brickwork.

The first step in laying bricks is to prepare the work area and materials. You’ll need a suitable work space, a trowel, some mortar mix and the bricks themselves. It’s also important to have a spirit level and a string line with pins attached, as these will help keep your wall straight and aligned.

You should also prepare the mortar mix and dampen your bricks before you start. A good mortar mix will have about four parts sand to one part cement, and should be wet enough that it will form a thick paste when you use your trowel to apply it. It’s a good idea to buy a mix that already has a plasticiser added, as this will make it easier to use and prevent the mortar from becoming too watery.

Once you’re ready to start, set up your guideposts. These are long wooden boards or posts that you’ll place along your wall, and each will mark the height of a row of bricks, also known as a course. Clamp a string between two of your guideposts, then run it to the end of your work area so that you know how high to lay your first course of bricks.

After laying the first course, you’ll need to cut the rest of your bricks so that they fit with each other. To do this, you’ll need a lump hammer and a chisel. To cut a brick, lay it flat on a solid surface and mark it with your hammer where you want to cut it. Then, carefully chisel away the excess brick, and secure it with mortar.

As you build up each course of your brick wall, maintain a keen eye for uniform mortar joints, using a jointer to shape and smooth them. Consistency in joint width and bond pattern, whether it’s stretcher or English bond, will improve the quality of your brickwork.

Bricklaying is a skilled trade that takes time to perfect, and if you want to ensure that the brickwork you build will stand the test of time, then it’s worth taking the time to do the job properly. With the right tools, technique, and guidance, anyone can learn how to lay bricks and create a stunning addition to their home or landscaping project.

To start with, it’s important to prepare the area where you are going to be laying your bricks. This includes preparing the site, bringing all the bricks into relatively close proximity, and cleaning away any loose debris or rubble. It is also a good idea to dampen the bricks down before laying them; this will help them set more quickly.

Once the site is prepared, a bed of mortar should be laid on the base where your wall will be built. Then, use your gauging rods to mark out a guideline for the first row of bricks. Make sure that the line is straight and level and that it sits correctly against the gauging rods.

It is a good idea to use a ‘jointer’ when the mortar has set to smooth out the joints. This can be something as simple as a piece of copper pipe that has been bent into an ‘S’ shape and will give the finished joint a nice smooth surface.

When you are ready to lay the first brick, place it in the bed of mortar, making sure that it is flush with the ground and against the gauging rods. Press the brick down slightly, and check that it is straight with your spirit level and string guideline.

After the first brick is laid, use your trowel to spread a small amount of mortar over it and feather it away from the edges of the brick. This will make the wall stronger and prevent water leaking into and damaging the structure.

When you are constructing a wall with more than one course, stagger the bricks with each new row. This will ensure that the seams are spaced out and will make the wall more attractive. This will also improve the acoustic and thermal performance of the wall.

Once the foundation bricks have set, you can start laying the rest of your wall. First, make sure the area is clean and ready to work. If the surface is curved or uneven, you may need to install a support structure or level it with the ground before continuing. Then, prepare your mortar. Heap five parts sand to one part cement on an old board and mix with a shovel, adding water until you have a consistent texture. You should also have a small amount of water on hand to keep the mortar moist while you work.

Once your mortar is prepared, lay your first row of bricks. Use the guideline and level to ensure everything is even and at the right height. Continue this process, placing a brick every 1/2″, until the bottom row is completed. When you reach the end of your guide line, move it up to the next marker (the 1/2 mortar mark). You should now be ready to start your second course.

During this process, you will need to mix more mortar as needed. Be careful not to overwork the mixture. This can cause the bricks to stick to the mortar and create a weaker finish. If you are working in extreme heat, water should be added to the mortar to keep it hydrated and prevent it from drying out prematurely.

In addition, as you progress up the wall, be sure to leave a space between each brick. This will help with drainage and prevent rain or snow from collecting in the joints and potentially freezing and cracking the mortar. The space between each brick should be at least 10mm.

If you are not a professional bricklayer, you may find that after completing your first two or three courses, your wall is becoming quite stiff. This can be due to the clay used for the bricks not firing hot enough, long enough or consistently. If this is the case, you can add a little more sand to the mortar and try again, making sure the bricks are set evenly.

Brickwork is a beautiful material for buildings and walls, but it does need maintenance to look its best. Regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs can help to preserve the structural integrity of your brickwork for years to come.

It is essential to clean your brickwork thoroughly and frequently to remove dirt, dust, and other debris. This will keep the appearance of your brickwork and prevent any future problems. Regular cleaning and maintenance will also protect the mortar and bricks from damage caused by rain, frost, and other weather conditions.

If you have to work on a project during bad weather, you need to take extra precautions. Frost, rain, and snow can be devastating to any masonry project. Bricks that are wet or frost damaged can crumble or crack, which can reduce the strength of your masonry structure. It is best to avoid laying bricks during these conditions if possible, and to keep any partially completed brickwork covered overnight to prevent moisture in the mortar from freezing and disrupting the bond.

A hessian blanket can be used to keep the brickwork dry, but it should be weighed down with a polythene sheet to prevent it blowing away or becoming wet. The covering should be securely fastened and placed with a small gap between the brickwork to avoid ‘sweating’ and smearing of the mortar. A heat lamp may be required in extreme frosts to keep the mortar above freezing temperatures and to speed up the curing process.

The best time of year to lay bricks is during the summer or autumn when it is warm and dry. However, if you must work on a project during colder weather, it is important to check the daily forecast and take the minimum and maximum temperatures into consideration. Any mortar mix that is laid during freezing temperatures can experience a reduction in water content, lower early strength, and more cracking than that mixed at normal temperatures.

It is important to dampen the bricks before laying them, and to strike and brush the joints as they set. This helps to ensure that the joint is set properly, and can be done using a “jointer”, which is a piece of tubing that has a diameter similar to your mortar joint spacing, bent into an “S” shape. A foxtail brush can also be used to wipe away excess mortar from the face of your bricks, and to smooth out the joint.