A number of DIY enthusiasts are now tackling their own brick laying projects. It's not an easy task, but with a few tips and the right tools, you could be on your way to building your first wall or small building. For novices, it's always a good idea to start with a small structure i.e. a barbeque area or garden feature, then work up to larger scale projects.
The basic tools and supplies that you will need:
- Spirit Level
- Tape Measure
- Hammer & Bolster
- Pins & Lines
- Soft Brush
Start by making detailed plans of your intended wall - including location and dimensions. Ensure that you have the correct products for the task and if necessary enlist help when moving bricks and other heavy supplies. Always wear protective gear when you are undertaking a building task.
The eventual result of the wall will be heavily reliant on the quality of the mortar used. Ideally, soft sand will work better than sharp gritty sand and lime and a small amount of plasticiser can be added to the mix for better workability. A mechanical mixer is highly recommended for the mixing stage. A gauging box or bucket can help to ensure that the mix and colour is consistent throughout. Aim for a firm but pliable consistency - if it's too wet it will run from the trowel, too dry and it may crumble and fall off the trowel.
Generally speaking, a wheelbarrow full of mortar will lay approximately 80 bricks and the bricks should be dry before you attempt to lay them. The trick is to keep the plumb and level in a straight line across the length of the wall to achieve a clean face, to do this you will need to have a corner of each end of the wall built to an even gauge.
Bricklaying is a technique that can be developed with time and practice. If you haven't attempted your own brick laying project before, it's a good idea to attend a brick laying course or watch an expert do the job first - this way, you can learn a few insider tips and pointers. Many DIY fans make the mistake of trying to build a wall or feature using the wrong products or tools, or they rush in without making the necessary preparations. Both of these errors can produce a less than positive result, so a little research and preparation is definitely the key to successful brick laying.