Masonry is the term used for the construction of a structure with the use of bricks and mortar, this could anything from a simple garden wall to the house you live in or large office block. Brickwork has been used in building since the Bronze Age. Today the average house in the UK is made from between 5-6,000 bricks. Here are some examples of brick buildings through history:
History of Bricks & Brickmaking Video - click here
Introduction to Masonry Video- click here
There are two main materials used in bricklaying: the bricks themselves and the mortar which binds them together.
Bricks: There are two main types of bricks used in buildings: facing bricks and common bricks. Facing bricks are of good quality, regular size with attractive texture and colour. They are used where you will be able to see the finished wall. Common bricks are of a lower quality brick and may be made from clay or concrete. They will be used where you can’t see the wall or when you are going to finish the surface with plaster.
Mortar: This is used to hold the bricks together and is made of sand, cement and water. A typical ratio would be 1-part cement to 4-parts sand. You will normally use the same ratio throughout the wall so that the strength and colour of the mortar are the same throughout the wall. Mixing can be done by hand or machine dependent on quantities. The mortar joints can be finished in different decorative ways or simply finished to create a smooth finish flush to the surface of the brick.
The tools you will use in bricklaying include:
Brick Trowel is used to roll and spread mortar. The best trowels are made from a single piece of steel.
Spirit Levels are used to check that the wall is straight vertically and horizontally.
Measuring Tape is used to measure length and height.
Hammer & Chisel to cut bricks neatly.
Mortar Board used to keep the mortar off the floor and free from contamination.
Remember you will need to think about what PPE you will need for the work you are doing to find out more here
Here are some videos from which you can learn about bricks, buildings and the techniques you will use in bricklaying:
How are bricks made today - click here
Components of a building - click here
How to lay bricks in a line - click here
How to cut bricks neatly - click here
What is mortar - click here
Building a half-brick wall - click here