Tackling a brickwork project by yourself can be a rewarding experience. You can save money on labour, improve your construction skills and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with a job done by hand. The following tips will help you gather the knowledge you need before you build.
- Brickwork Tip 1: Prep Your Work Area with a Supply of Bricks
Have a supply of bricks nearby when you begin working. This will allow you to work efficiently and safely. You will be able to lay more bricks before the mortar dries out. You will also travel less while working, which reduces the likeliness of tripping or straining when moving bricks to the worksite.
- Brickwork Tip 2: Combine Mortar with Adequate Water & Plasticiser
Plasticiser is recommended because it will make the mortar adhere better and more pliable with the trowel. Also, avoid adding too much water. If mortar becomes too wet, it can begin to push out of the seams.
- Brickwork Tip 3: Only Prepare One Hour’s Worth of Mortar at a Time
Mortar doesn’t remain useable forever, so make sure you prepare just enough for one hour’s worth of labour. Even if it isn’t hot, your mortar will begin to dry out after the one hour mark and may need to be discarded. Unusable mortar adds expense and time to your project.
- Brickwork Tip 4: Mix Mortar Before Applying to Keep It Workable
Mix mortar on the mud board every time you apply it. This will add more air which improves workability when spreading over each course or horizontal layer of brick.
- Brickwork Tip 5: Use a String Line to Position Each Course
Proper placement is essential when it comes to building a strong wall. Tie a string line along each course to use as a guide when placing bricks. Arrange bricks with the top of the brick along the line. Avoid touching the string while you work, especially when multiple people are working on the same project. Accidental bumps can shift the line and cause uneven placement.
- Brickwork Tip 6: Check the Level When the First Course is Laid
Check the level after placing the first course. You can tap each brick with the towel handle or your hand to bring it to level as needed. When laying each brick, get the front side down to the line then adjust. If the back is placed too low, the entire brick will have to be removed and re-laid. To learn more about laying bricks correctly, check out The Art of Laying Brick.
- Brickwork Tip 7: Finish Your Brickwork by Brushing Excess Mortar
When you are finished striking or pointing the seams and have filled in any holes, use a soft hand brush to wipe away excess mortar from the face. It is easiest to clean excess mortar during the first few hours, so this should be done right away.
There is a wealth of information available to help you learn more about DIY brickwork. If you have questions or need building supplies, contact our friendly team at ABC Brick Sales or visit one of our showrooms. Our experts are available to help you find the best materials for beginner to expert level construction projects.