The Basics of Brick and Masonry
For some reason, bricks scare people. Oh it's not that
they're dangerous; it's just that the prospect of building
something with them can be intimidating. And if you
intend to make it part of your house, it's even worse. However,
it doesn't have to be this way. Armed with just a few
suggestions and the right tools, you can master the art of
completing outstanding brick and masonry projects. And
we're talking about bricks of all sorts. While it used to
be that all bricks were made of clay, today you can find bricks
of various materials, including silica, ceramic, and sand
mixed with water. You can use any of these effectively,
if you know how.
why use brick in the first place? There are numerous benefits.
They can be used to insulate a house, plus they are weather-proof.
They also do a good job of withstanding the elements. The
worst heat or cold are nearly powerless against a solid
brick job. The same goes for wind and rain. There's
no better house type to be in during severe weather than
brick (Hey, there's a reason the Big Bad Wolf couldn't blow
down the brick house!). No matter which kind of brick you
choose, you will be building a solid structure.
benefit of brick is the wide variety available. You can
buy them today in many different colors, sizes and shapes.
Here are three basic forms of brick you need to know:
1) Face Brick: This one comes in many shapes, sizes and
colors, and is a solid brick.
2) Building Brick: This one is also known as a Structural
Brick, and is the one most often used for construction.
They normally have a couple of holes in them in order to
help reduce the weight load. They also reduce the
cost of the bricks.
3) Paver: You would normally use the Paver for patios, sidewalks,
4) Antique or Tumbled Brick: People who want to make
something that has an old, antique look to it will usually
opt for Antique Brick. They come in different grades.
For instance, there is a GRADE SW ("Severe Weathering")
that is good at handling extreme temperature changes.
Grade MW ("moderate Weathering") handles frost-to-freeze
temperature changes. You'll commonly encounter these
in outdoor walls Then there's NW ("No Weathering)
grade that are not meant for outdoor use at all.
let's talk about the bricklaying process itself. As we mentioned,
this is not nearly as difficult as you might think.
You just need to have the right tools, a little bit of knowledge,
and some time (One of the important keys to doing a good
job laying brick is to be patient; take your time.). Just
as with any new skill, you'll just need a little bit of
practice. Plus it helps if you understand a bit about load-bearing
aspects. If you find a need to alter a brick's shape,
a chisel and hammer will be needed (or else a circular saw
or brick saw with a diamond blade).
As you're going through the bricklaying process, remember
these guidelines. First, you'll need five standard bricks
per each square foot that you plan to cover (Seven per square
foot if you're bricking a wall). There are normally 516
bricks per pallet at any home-improvement store, or 896
per pallet for pavers. Remember to expect mistakes, but
don't get upset by that. Most bricking mistakes can
be corrected fairly easily if caught early. Finally, you
can find a good bricklaying guide at most any home-improvement
store. Pick one up, follow its suggestions, and you'll be
laying brick like a pro in no time.