Ask a Tradesman
Our expert bricklayers have kindly agreed to share their wisdom on such topics as pointing, brick selection, cement types, estimating concrete volumes, repairing existing brickwork, tricks of the trade, mortar consistency and much more.
Answered your question? You can find a reliable and local Bricklayer in your area today!
623 Bricklaying questions
I've started building a brick barbecue. The concrete base turned out perfect, but I didn't get much further than that. I'm having a lot of trouble mixing good, easily workable mortar. The mix I tried is 6:2:1 (sand:lime:cement). As I'm not used to laying bricks, I need to take my time adjusting the bricks into place. This seems impossible with the mortar I made. No matter how much water I put in it, the mortar dries fast and doesn't stick to the bricks (bricks that have been layed 24hrs ago can easily be removed by hand). What am I doing wrong?
I'm about to re-point parts of the rear of our house. It is a brick house made in the 1920's. I'm reasonably experienced at pointing, but mostly stone - where it's always lime mortar. There are different points of view on the best mix in any given situation. The original mortar in this wall is a lime mortar. But the current pointing is strong cement, with black colouring - ash or something. I think this is fairly typical. Obviously it's going to crack out as the house moves, which has happened in several places.
I really can't be asked to chisel out the entire wall and re-point the whole lot. It's a big house. Eventually it will need to be done, but now is not the time. I've just got to stop the damp getting in for the time being.
I'd like to match the colour, so I'd need some sort of black powder to mix in. I'm guessing the merchant will stock something suitable? But mainly, I'm not sure which mix to use in light of the current pointing and original mortar.
OK, I have a bit of building experience helping out my mates when I was younger. I was always suspicious of DPC. What I'm talking about is the black plastic sheets that are put in between the bricks/blocks/stone a few courses up from the foundations. I understand that it's to stop the damp from the ground from rising up into the wall, though I'm not sure really how big of a problem this actually is.
Anyway, I always cringed about the structural integrity. If you've ever accidentally bumped the wall when it's being built a few courses up from the damp proof course, you'll know what I mean. It shifts very easily - it's obviously a weak spot in the wall. Maybe when everything is built up and the roof is on, you don't have to worry about it, but you still have to admit that you are compromising the strength of a wall with a DPC, versus one without. And the risk is that it gets so ingrained in a bricklayers habits that people overuse it. I mean I've actually seen garden walls and exterior pillars with a DPC. One pillar had shifted 3-4 inches at the DPC and it was supporting a roof, covering a walkway at a supermarket. That one was obviously a forehead slapper and really dangerous, but does anyone share my general DPC scepticism?
Hi. We have recently bought, quite an old house, and can see a considerable amount of pointing that requires attention. I'm wondering/trying to learn, how and what is the correct way to mix 3.5 hydraulic lime-mortar, which I presume should be mixed with sand (but type is the most appropriate). I have read that portland cement should not be added to the mix.
Although, just finding lime-mortar suppliers is not easy, I've now tracked 3.5 down at a local merchants, which I presume is easier to use than lime-putty mixtures?
Is it best to mix differently for repointing and or brick-laying. Many thanks to anyone who can help.
A friend has received 2 quotes to have a load bearing wall opening made wider from 1.4m to 2m, the wall is double skinned with a bathroom above on one side and bedroom other side, at present there is a catnic lintel supporting
floor joist and the 1st floor wall!!
One quote is using a steel rsj and the other quote is to use concrete lintels. Are concrete lintels strong enough to support the huge amount of weight?
* cheers for the replies :-) just want to add an SE report was done, steel was preferred but lintel could be used.
The 2 quotes submitted had a big difference in price, the steel done by my cousin fully qualified brickie seemed reasonable, where as the lintle from someone unknown
was cheap... almost to cheap, which my cousin laugh at!!!
My friend wants to go cheap, but i have doubts, could anyone shed a rough price guide so I can push her in right direction!
I'm assuming that proper plasticiser doesn't weaken the mortar (given that it's so common), but what does washing up liquid do? I've been surprised to see how common the washing up liquid trick is. No one seems to worry about it but me!
All I've managed to find is that there are about 60 bricks or 10 concrete blocks per square meter of a single skin wall.
How do I work out the sand cement needed?
Also, need to work out the same for footings as it's a 2m high wall.
I've got brickwork that is crumbling and has bits falling off on the exterior of my house could someone advise me on the best remedy for this.
I have pebble dash in good condition on the exterior walls, but bellow that there is 2 courses of brickwork above ground level that is crumbling away. I would like to know if rendering or painting this will help as I have read that this traps moisture in and can make it worse. I would greatly appreciate an expert opinion on this.