DIY fans will usually’have a go’ at most things. However, more and more, the DIY enthusiast has been regulated in exactly the exact same way as the skilled tradesmen. This is not to say they have never been previously bound by regulations applying to building trades, but that a more consistent application of the principles is being implemented.


One area which appears to be preventing the strictest of law is that the art of bricklaying, which isn’t always given the esteem it perhaps deserves. Whilst a building or structure will stay standing under most conditions, despite the quality of workmanship, the aesthetic qualities of excellent brickwork won’t ever be able to be valued unless the workmanship is of the best quality. Quality of workmanship of will always be a determining factor as to whether or not the final job will get the respect it should deserve.

The choice of brick or masonry block will have a massive bearing on the aesthetics of jobs which range from a frequent garden wall to large housing complex or mall but all will be based on the quality of the workmanship. In the proper hands, low or poor quality bricks could be made to seem better than they really are. In the wrong hands, the quality of the brick won’t make any difference at all – you won’t have the ability to conceal poor workmanship.

Should you feel up to having a move, there are a few basics you will have to know about. Future articles will cover a few of the more practical aspects of Do it Yourself bricklaying. Do-it-yourself bricklaying isn’t for the faint hearted. Be ready for some hard graft – difficult work.


Firstly, you’ll have to work out the number of bricks or blocks are necessary. Once you’ve done this along with your bricks are expected to be delivered, you’ll have to plan your website so that, wherever possible, the brick storage areas have been sited as near the point of work as you can. This will reduce any unnecessary handling which will minimise your effort and potential damage to the bricks decreasing waste. The bricks will have to be kept on audio, level ground and raised clear of wet, muddy areas to be able to reduce contamination and staining.

The stored bricks have to be protected from the weather. So must any brickwork under construction, which should include the covering of any finished uncapped work. Always protect newly developed brickwork from rain. Remember – keep an airspace between the brick face and any waterproof covering.

Wet bricks will effervesce and these measures will help to decrease any chances of efflorescence and following lime blooming. (this is the’white staining’ frequently seen on newer structures).

When using scaffolding, the boards adjacent to the brickwork ought to be turned back that will prevent any unsightly stalks of the brickwork. Keep the boards clean, not just for security’s sake, but this will even to stop mortar staining from any rain splashes. You’ll also have to be careful to prevent mortar smearing the surface of freshly laid bricks. Cleaning in a later stage is seldom satisfactory, often difficult and may cause costly and time consuming therapeutic treatments.

Also cleaning will most likely have a detrimental effect on the surface of the bricks as many cleaning agents will be abrasive.


Prevention is much better than the cure. Among the biggest failings of the typical do-it-yourself bricklayer is receiving the mortar mixture too wet or, conversely, too tender. Either way this will have a damaging impact upon the structural components of the brickwork, weakening the walls. Also if the mixture is too cluttered, it’s certain that when using the trowel to clean out the excess mortar, it’ll be dragged across the surface of the bricks, leaving an almost impossible to wash, unsightly smear of mortar.

This is a similar problem when undertaking the pointing the mortar joints. Again, if the combination is too cluttered you will have similar issues. If the mix is too dry, the pointing is probably too fall out in a rather short time period. It’s necessary that all mortar joints are totally filled to help prevent yelling. Any openings will allow moisture to be kept in the joints and the mortar and bricks becoming subject to frost damage.

When constructing a cavity wall, it’s very important that the cavities are kept completely clean. Mortar’snots’ on the wall ties will function as a bridge for cold and moisture between the outer and inner skin of the wall. Be meticulous when installing cavity insulation bats at this point as filthy cavities increase the possibility of damp and cold bridging.

Nota final

Do not lay bricks once the temperature is at or below 4°C or when freezing may occur until the mortar has hardened. Be careful when using’admixes’ – always carefully follow the directions on the container.

Remember – temperatures should be rising – not falling. Do not lay bricks if the temperature of the mortar may fall into freezing point before it places or if the bricks are suspended, or the sand comprises ice particles.

If a frost is likely to occur prior to the mortar in newly constructed brickwork has place, protect it with Hessian and protect the Hessian from rain with plastic sheeting. (Don’t forget to keep the airspace).


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