Maybe it’s because your home, like a majority of the other residential dwellings in Australia, consists primarily of bricks. Or, perhaps because of the fact that this industry is worth $3 billion. Or, maybe it’s due to the surge in new construction and engineering projects, which means demand for these professionals will rise.
Or it could be for the simple reason you love doing it, which is why you want to keep honing your skills and mastering the art and science of laying brick.
Whichever the case is, we’d like to congratulate you for wanting to improve your techniques even more.
Now the question is, which ones can really help you become a better bricklayer?
Worry not, as we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the top tips that can help you pave the way to your success as a bricklayer. So, make sure to read on!
First and Foremost: Make Sure You Have All the Basic Tools of the Trade
Before you can even start laying bricks, you first need to have the basic tools. Even if you already have a bricklayer’s toolbox, it’s still important to make sure you’ve got all the essentials. And that they’re not rusted, with broken handles, or suffer from any other flaws.
The basic tools of the trade include pointed trowels, bolster chisels, club hammers, spirit level, spade, and tape measure. Don’t forget to have some soft brushes and a tape measure. These tools are so important that you can already build a mansion with them.
To take things to a castle level, you may want to invest in the following too:
- Steel float
- Brick pointer
- Builder’s line
- Cement fibre board
- Angle steel
Now, you have the essential tools, but what about the bonding tasks? Good quality cement, sand, and stone are crucial to brick laying. And for you to mix mortar, you’d also need a hose pipe and a bucket.
With these, you’re all set to start shopping for bricks.
Polish Up on Your Knowledge of Brick Types
In Australia, we’re lucky to have access to various types of top-of-the-line bricks. And knowing what your options are is a critical step to learning how to lay bricks (or at least improving your techniques).
This is especially true since there are now so many to select from! There are the standards and the specials, and you can even have them customised.
To make classification of these brick products easier, it’s best you know them according to their types. Let’s take a look:
Traditionally, the term “facing” in bricks used to only refer to ornamental elements placed on the exterior side of a building wall. Nowadays though, you’ll find these have extended into any bricks with a good frost-resistance rating.
Hollow bricks feature a hollow space of about 20% of their entire dimension. These are great for improving a building’s heat insulation. Their low weight, combined with their bigger sizes, makes laying them to build walls quicker.
Keep in mind though, that these bricks aren’t ideal for load-bearing walls. The huge empty space inside them can make the wall easy to topple when placed with immense weight or forces.
High frost-resistance rating, extreme hardness, and ease of use are three of the characteristics of solid bricks that make them popular.
If you’re planning to put up a DIY brick interior wall, perforated bricks can do the trick. The same goes for the innermost portions of cavity walls. Just be sure that they’re in compliance with the rigorous Australian standards.
Cut and Roll
A lot of newcomers to the world of bricklaying find the cutting and rolling of mortar too slow to their tastes. The thing is, the cut and roll technique is far more efficient, not to mention cost-saving since you can get the most out of your mortar.
Just think about it:
When you stick your trowel into your mortar pile and then lift a huge chunk of it onto the wall, what do you think will happen? Most likely, most of what you’ve put on the trowel will fall off. And from there, the mortar smears the brickwork’s surface.
Even when you successfully get the mortar onto the surface, you still are at risk of “overbedding.” When this happens, you’re only creating more work and problems to deal with later on. Not to mention the added pressure and stress on the wet course.
The result? Your bricks may tip and dislodge.
More work right? Not to mention a lot of waste of materials.
As such, make it a habit to cut the mortar down starting from the very top. Use the trowel’s blade for this. Then, roll the mortar before you lift it to the wall.
Relaxed and Slow is Key
Everyone wants to finish brickwork projects as soon as possible. After all, it’s very exciting to see the results of one’s hard work.
But when it comes to laying brick, especially the bedding part, make sure you keep yourself relaxed. Slowly and gently pile the bricks on top of each other. Avoid putting too much pressure as you apply a downward force on each brick.
This way, you can prevent tipping of the bricks.
Also, prepare yourself to catch any surplus mortar as you lay the bricks. Remember, bricks will sink into the bed because of their weight, which will then “squeeze out” excess mortar.
To do this, run the trowel blade’s sharp side along the brickwork’s face. Make sure that the back of your trowel sits as near to the surface as possible. Then, as the surplus mortar oozes out, quickly turn the trowel to catch it before it falls.
Laying Brick the Right Way is Only as Good as Your Materials and Supplies
As a final reminder, make sure that the materials you use when laying brick are of top-notch quality. Your techniques may be the best out there, but if you use cheap or low-quality materials, then you can expect your hard work to go to waste.
Want more useful and handy articles like this? Then make sure you check our blogsite out! There are more brickwork- and masonry-related tips and tricks waiting for you there.