How To Lay Bricks
If you ever wanted a brick wall around your flower beds or a brick barbecue pit,now you can learn the proper way to lay the bricks.
If you have ever wanted a brick wall around your flower beds, brick planter boxes or even a brick barbecue pit, these tips will teach you the proper way to lay the bricks.
When you are planning a brick project outside your home you will need to provide a footing that is below the frost line. A footing is a below ground concrete structure that supports and sends the weight of any structure above ground to the soil. The size of your footing should be determined by the weight of the brick structure and the soil's load carrying capacity. To figure the size footing you will need to determine twice the thickness of the foundation wall for the width and for thickness the footing should be the exact same measurement as the thickness of the wall. Prior to building an outside wall check with your municipality's building department to seed if you will need a building permit. They can also tell you the specifications required by the local building code.
The footing for your project will help insure that the brick wall is level. You will also have to mix mortar since each brick has to rest on and be joined to a neighboring brick with 3\8 inch of mortar. To mix your mortar for a small job you can buy a ready mix and mix it with water according to the directions. For larger jobs, such as a barbecue, you can purchase masonry cement and mix it with 3 parts sand. Prior to starting your project you should make a scale drawing of the elevations and ground plan. Once you have decided on your pattern you should plan each course and calculate the number of bricks you will need. When you order the bricks it is best to order about 30 percent more than you will need. In some cases you will also need staggering joints which are half or quarter bricks for some areas near the corners.
Begin when your footing has cured, by outlining the structure with chalk and lay out the first course of bricks without mortar. Be sure to leave 3/8 inch spaces between each brick. After you have marked the position of each brick, remove them and hose down the footing and about 25 bricks. Beginning at the corner of the structure, spread a 3\4 inch layer of mortar three bricks long and one brick wide. Set the first brick 3\8 inch deep in the mortar and butter another brick. When you have laid it next to the first brick, trim away any excess mortar and use it on the next brick. Be sure to have a level handy so you can check to be sure your bricks remain level. If they are uneven you can tap the bricks down with the trowel to even them. Continue down the row until all the bottom bricks are laid.
If your wall is two or more bricks thick you should work front to back when laying brick. Next you should lay the first brick of the next layer using a half brick to start this row. After you have completed laying the first three layers of bricks, pyramid the bricks at the end working from the top of the three brick wall to the height of your wall and work from there out. Each row of brick should be staggered, using half bricks to start the second, fourth, sixth and so on rows. Be sure while you are working to continuously check the level of your structure. This should be done while the mortar is soft enough to make a thumb print. Continue until the structure is filled in but be sure that the last bricks, which are better known as closer bricks, are always be buttered at both ends.