There are many bricklaying projects that you can try at home. Creating something by hand can be very rewarding and it can save you a lot of money! The best way to begin is to learn more about the process and how to do it correctly. The following common DIY bricklaying mistakes will help you finish your project without a hitch.
- Installing Brick with Non-Coated Metal Supports
Believe it or not, rust can be a concern when building with brick. That’s because some projects require metal supports that fortify blocks and keep the structure standing. Always use coated metal when buying rebar or other support materials. Non-coated metal will rust and corrode, which could lead to staining.
- Not Using a Moisture Barrier to Prevent Efflorescence
Have you ever noticed white flakes on the face of brick? Those little specks are called efflorescence. They consist of the salt left behind by water trapped in mortar. They can cause discolouration and even corrosion that leads to cracking. Make sure you install a moisture barrier like flashing. You may also need to apply caulk behind brick when building in climates with more moisture in the air.
- Using Different Mortar on the Same Structure
Make sure you match new mortar to existing mortar when finishing a project or making changes to an existing brick structure. Older mortar may contain more cement, which is not as porous as today’s mortar. The newer section may breathe more than the older, causing contractions and expansions that pulls older bricks away from each other.
- Not Using String Lines When Laying Brick
Always use string lines when placing a course (or horizontal layer of bricks). This will ensure that each block is placed correctly. Using straight lines and following your original design is important to ensure that the finished structure is as strong as it needs to be and looks the way you want it to. Never cut corners when laying bricks!
- Not Accounting for Drainage in Outdoor Structures
Erosion can cause damage and shifting. Make sure your plan accounts for drainage before you begin. Look at the typical moisture levels in your garden or wherever you are building. Water trapped under walls and pathways can undermine brick.
- Forgetting to Clean Excess Mortar When Finished
Mortar is much harder to remove once it has cured. Brush off excess mortar as soon as you finish your project. This should be done within a few hours. Inspect your work when you are done to ensure that you did not miss a block.
- Mixing Too Much Mortar at a Time
You may be feeling ambitious enough to mix more mortar than you need. Only make as much mortar as you will use in one hour. This will reduce wasted materials and keep your mortar workable.
If you have questions about your next DIY bricklaying project, contact us today. Our experts are available to discuss your plans and make recommendations that guide you to the perfect products to get the job done right. Stop by one of our four locations or check out our website to learn more.