Concrete Contractors

How to Get Started in Brick Laying

As a bricklayer, you use clay bricks and concrete blocks in mortar to construct and repair walls and other structures. To be a bricklayer, you can take a pre-apprenticeship course at a technical college or university.

Understanding the difference between a brick’s specified size and actual dimensions is essential to precise planning in construction projects. Understanding the role of header and stretcher bricks is also vital. Visit to learn more.

Brick Laying

Before you begin bricklaying, it is important to prepare the work area. Make sure that the area is clean, level, and free of debris. You will also need to purchase the necessary materials and tools. A trowel, a hammer, and a mason’s line are essential tools for bricklaying. A bolster, which has a chisel-like end for splitting bricks and a blunt end for tapping them into place, can also be useful.

Before laying your first course of bricks, you should create a straight line where you want to build the wall. This can be done with a string and a mason’s line, or you can use a plumb bob. It is important to check the level of your wall with a spirit level as you go. This will help ensure that the wall is square and straight.

Once you have prepared the work area, apply a thin layer of mortar to the surface. This will serve as a foundation for your brick wall. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when mixing the mortar. If you add too much water or not enough sand, the strength of the mortar may be compromised.

Some bricklayers advise dampening the bricks before laying them. This is to ensure that the bricks have a consistent moisture content. However, this practice is not always recommended. Pressed and extruded bricks have a low water uptake, and dampening them would cause them to float on the bedding mortar. This could lead to the bricks sliding out of face line and sinking out of level.

As you start laying the bricks, keep in mind that you should stagger each course by half a brick. This will ensure that the wall is evenly spaced and provides a solid structure. It is also a good idea to use a spirit level and a plumb bob to check the level of each row as you go.

When the bricks have been laid, you can finish off the joints by using a tool called a jointer. This is a piece of tubing with a rounded edge that can be used to smooth out the mortar joints. This will help to create a clean, professional-looking brick wall.

It’s important to start with a concrete foundation for your brick wall or other structure. This will help with your leveling and making sure it’s straight. Once you’ve got your foundation, set up a line with string across the ground to mark where you want to start laying bricks. Aim for the top of the first brick in a row (also known as a course) to touch the line. This will ensure that the rest of your bricks in that row are perfectly aligned and make the whole wall as strong as possible.

The next step is to prepare your mortar, which will be a mix of three parts masonry sand and one part masonry cement. You can either use a wheelbarrow or a mortar box to mix your mortar. Using a spatula or trowel, add small amounts of each ingredient and mix well. It needs to be thick enough to hold the bricks but not so watery that it will smear the bricks or fall off. If your mortar is too dry, it will be difficult to place the bricks and if it’s too wet the bricks may sag.

Once your mortar is ready, you’re ready to begin laying bricks. Begin by placing the first brick down, with the long side facing down, on your mortar line and buttering it with some of the mortar. Then, put the next brick in, with the short end facing down and buttering it too. When the third brick is in, you’re ready to move on to the next row.

After you’ve finished your first row, you should check that everything is lined up and status by running a spirit level over the entire length of the bricks in that course. You should also lightly tap the bricks with your trowel handle to settle them in.

If the bricks are not level, you’ll need to repeat this process of laying bricks on a course until they’re all lined up and even. This will take a while, but it’s worth it in the long run because it will make your brickwork much stronger and more attractive.

Mortar is the thick paste that joins brick, block, stone and other masonry units. It is made of sand, a binder, and water. The most common binder is Portland cement, but lime mortar was also used in ancient masonry construction.

The strength of a mortar mix depends on the amount of cement, sand, and water that is added to the ingredients. It should be mixed until it is plastic enough to be worked easily with the mason’s trowel but not so much that it will collapse under the weight of a masonry unit. In addition, the sand and cement should be of a size to produce a strong bond between the masonry units.

Different types of mortar are used for different applications. Masonry experts must consider the perspective of each building project when choosing which type of mortar to use. For example, a homeowner may focus on budget and timelines while an architect will consider aesthetics. A mason contractor will also look at how the mortar will affect the structure’s integrity.

Most masons will make their own mortar from dry pre-mixed bags that can be combined with water. However, it is also possible to purchase ready-mixed mortar from a home improvement store or brickyard. Regardless of which type of mortar is purchased, it must be carefully mixed to ensure that the water-to-cement ratio is correct. If a mason mixes the mortar incorrectly, it can weaken the walls and cause the masonry to crack.

A bricklayer’s job duties can include laying and grouting brickwork, building retaining walls and foundations, and constructing concrete structures. In some states, a bricklayer can even be licensed to perform plumbing and electrical work on construction projects. Some colleges offer part-time courses in masonry that can help prepare an individual for the career. An apprenticeship with a bricklaying firm can be another way to gain entry into the field. An apprenticeship lasts about three to four years and splits time between on-the-job training and classroom learning. In many cases, the apprenticeship can lead to a full-time position as a bricklayer.

If you’re building a brick wall, it’s important that the first row, also known as a course, is perfectly straight. This will give the wall a strong foundation from which to develop into an impressive structure.

Before starting, dig a trench as deep as the bricks you will be using and fill this with mortar. This will provide a good base and help to prevent the bricks sinking after they have been laid.

When the mortar is ready to use, place a strip of hessian on a bench or another work surface and lay out your first course of bricks. Make sure the bricks are aligned with each other, and then check them with a spirit level. If necessary, add more mortar to the bed of the bricks to bring them up to level with each other.

The first brick should be butter (or spread) on both ends and then placed onto the mortar bed, ensuring it is level with the rest of the course. When the first course is complete, use a string line to mark where the next course should start.

While you’re working, it is important to clean off excess mortar and splashes from the face of the bricks as it sets. This helps to avoid smearing the brickwork and will keep it looking neat and tidy.

Once you’re ready to begin the next course, butter up a new brick and put it into place on the line you have marked. After a few more bricks have been laid, move the string line up to the 1/2 mortar marker and begin work on the second course.

To ensure that the bricks remain level and that all the mortar joints are even, it is a good idea to use a jointer before the mortar starts to set. A jointer is a piece of tubing, usually the same size or slightly bigger than the mortar joint, that has been bent into an “S” shape. This is rubbed along the mortar joints, causing them to be smoothed and filled.

The end of the brick is rounded off by striking it with a bolster chisel and lump hammer. This is done to create a neat finish to the brickwork and to strengthen the joint. After this, the bricks should be brushed with a foxtail brush to remove any stray bits of mortar that aren’t fully set.