Some of the basics for the beginning brick layer. Enough information is provided to get a good start on a do-it-yourself project.
Laying bricks or blocks is not a job for the nervous. You need to be relaxed and ready for a time-consuming slow moving job. Even if professional brick layers seem to move quickly, brick walls are built slowly.
If you have never laid brick before, start with a simple project and not a house. Build a bar-b-que pit or a small dividing wall. This way if you do less than a stellar job, it will be on something that does not really matter too much.
Start the job by stacking some of the brick near where you will be laying them. You need a good foundation to support the weight of the brick. Mix the mortar to a thick consistency about like soft clay. It needs to be firm enough to support the weight of a brick.
Place the brick with the indented area facing upward. Put about a 3/4 inch layer of mortar a little less wide than the brick on the foundation. Set the first brick in place and tap it down until the mortar is about 1/2 inch thick. Go to the other end and do the same thing. Stretch a string from one end to the other. Use this string as a guide as you lay the row of bricks. Put mortar between the brick about 1/2 inch thick and tap them into place.
When the first row is in place, you can start repeating the process row by row. If you prefer, you can lay the corner back and forth if you have a corner. If not, you will need to break the starting brick in half. You will do this to stagger the joints so that the wall will have more strength. In a corner, you can lay the bricks starting in one direction and then the other from side to side to get the staggered joints.
Use a level from time to time to keep the rows straight. If you are not laying the bricks against a backing wall, you will need to watch for the wall to stay straight up and down. Keep your mortar soft and fresh. If it gets too firm, scrap it and make fresh. You need soft mortar to bond to the clay of the bricks.
If you intend to put a special shape to the mortar between the bricks, do this after each row to prevent the mortar from getting too firm to shape. Allow the finished job to dry for about two or three days before scrubbing the brick to prevent erosion of the mortar.
Published in: Do-It-Yourself