In this post, you’re going to learn 23 tips on brick wall construction.
If you want to:
- Learn various technical terms about brickwork;
- Build quality brick walls, and
- Accomplish defectless and cost-saving brick construction…
…Then you’ll enjoy this post.
So let’s learn…
23 Tips For Brick Wall Construction
Tip-1: Soak Bricks – The Right Way
This is the first tip.
Soaking bricks is just to immerse them in water.
For quality brickwork, you must soak bricks.
- Bricks may contain salt, urea, and other harmful contaminants that can be washed out by soaking.
- Dry bricks will soak water from mortar. And thus it will hamper the hydration process of cement.
As a result, the mortar will be weak.
But How to soak bricks?
I’m going to share the technique that I practice in my project.
First, make a tank with brick walls.
The size of the tank should be such that it contains enough bricks for fulfilling your daily requirement.
I normally make a tank that contains 4000 thousand bricks.
That quantity is enough for a day for 8 masons and 8 helpers.
After making the walls of the tank, plaster the inside surfaces with net cement finishing. So that water can’t penetrate through walls.
Once you completed tank making, wait for 3 days to gain strength by brick walls.
Next, put the desired number of bricks into the tank.
After that, fill the tank with water in such a way that all the bricks are submerged under water.
Finally, leave them for at least 12 hours.
Tip-2: Discontinue Brick Soaking At The Right Time
What is the right time to discontinue brick soaking?
It is one hour before starting the brickwork.
So that bricks remain wet and don’t soak any water from cement mortar.
But, not so wet that they release water.
If they release, the water-cement ratio of the mortar will increase.
Tip-3: Use Clean Sand
For all the masonry work, we must use clean sand.
Sand contains various contaminants such as mud, salt, coal, etc.
These foreign materials are harmful to masonry work.
They somehow affect the final finishing look of the project.
To avoid this, we try to purchase washed sand.
But, Washed sand is sometimes not available.
That’s why, we need to wash them.
For that, make a sand washing tank as you make a tank for brick soaking.
After receiving sand, first, screen them and put them directly into the tank.
Tip-4: Use Dry Sand
Whether it’s plasterwork or brickwork, we must use dry sand.
Because you can’t prepare cement mortar with wet sand.
So, after washing, allow the sand to dry completely.
Tip-5: Know The Cement-Sand Ratio For Preparing Mortar
The cement-sand ratio means the desired proportion of cement and sand in the mix.
It is commonly measured by volume.
Normally, we use a 1:5 cement-sand ratio for 5″ thick brick walls.
And, for 10″ thick brick walls, it is 1:6.
But, you should discuss with the designer which ratio you should use.
Tip-6: Choose The Correct FM For Sand
The sand you use for concreting is different from the sand you use for brickwork.
The FM of sand to use in concrete is between 2.60 to 3.20.
But for brickwork, the FM should be between 2.20 to 2.60.
Read More: Fineness Modulus (FM): The Definitive Guide
Tip-7: Maintain The Level Of Brick Layout
The brick layout is the first layer of bricks.
It is possible that the floor isn’t properly leveled.
But the brick layout should be leveled properly.
What happens if the brick layout isn’t leveled?
- It decreases the aesthetic look of the wall.
- It somehow hampers the strength of the wall.
How to make the brick layout leveled?
If the difference isn’t more than ¾”, you can make up that with mortar.
But if the difference is more than ¾”, make cc casting.
Tip-8: Ensure ½” Mortar Joint
The mortar joint is the gap between two bricks which is filled with mortar.
The thickness of the gap should be ½”.
Try to maintain this thickness in all joints.
How to do that?
In my project, I make a tool with wooden planks or MS boxes.
Make some tools like this in your project. It helps to maintain the joint thickness properly.
Note: Some types of bricks demand different thicknesses of mortar joints. So make sure what thickness you need to keep.
Tip-9: Keep The Calculated Door Opening
A door opening is a gap we keep in a brick wall to fix a door.
Normally, this opening should be 1½” bigger than the frame size.
That means ¾” on both sides.
But if the door frame is attached to a tiles-finished wall then keep the opening 2¼” bigger than the frame width.
Tip-10: Also, Keep The Calculated Window Opening
The window opening needs to be one inch bigger than the width of the window.
Because on both sides you have to leave enough space for plaster.
Tip-11: Keep Holes For Plastering Stages
It’s not actually related to brickwork.
But you need these in the future.
Obviously, you’ll plaster on the surface of brick walls.
For outer plaster, you’ll need to make stages.
And, to support the stage, you’ll need to keep holes in brick walls.
Tip-12: Don’t Build Walls More Than 5 Feet In A Day
Bricks have weights.
So don’t make walls more than 5 feet high in a day.
If you do so there is a possibility of falling down the wall.
Tip-13: Consider Brick Sizes While Making Layout
Brick size is a crucial factor while making the layout.
See the architectural plan below:
The inner dimension of both rooms is 10 feet.
And, the wall thickness is 5 inches.
But if you use 4½” width bricks in your project, you can’t able to keep the wall’s width exactly 5 inches.
Then how can you adjust this thickness confusion?
To eliminate this confusion, place bricks for the middle wall at the center. So that both the room size remain the same.
Tip-14: Maintain The Right Angle Of the Room
All the rooms should be at right angles.
That means, all the corners of a room should be at 90°.
- Rooms are normally designed either rectangular or square,
- To eliminate hassle during floor tiles work
- It’ll take more mortar to make corners of the room at 90 degrees during plastering.
Tip-15: Make The Long Side Of A Wall Truly Even
We know the standard brick size is 9½” x 4½” x 2¾”.
But, the bricks we buy aren’t always the exact same sizes.
We often get various sizes of bricks.
It’s a common thing in construction.
So, we try to make one side of the wall even.
The reason for doing so is to reduce the required mortar quantity during plaster work.
But, the question is, which side should we make even?
As our purpose is to reduce mortar consumption, so make the long side of the wall even.
Tip-16: Keep All The Windows In Different Floors Aligned Vertically
When you see a building from the outside, you’ll see that all the windows on different levels are vertically aligned.
But when we go to make brick walls we only check dimensions from architectural plans.
That’s a big mistake.
Although there is no problem to check dimensions from the architectural drawing, we also should check the vertical alignment of windows on different floors.
Tip-17: Keep All The Periphery Walls Vertically Aligned
Let’s face the reality.
In perfect workmanship, the periphery outlines of typical floors are vertically aligned.
But that’s not always true.
There is a possibility that the outline of slabs on different floors isn’t vertically aligned.
You should reconfirm that during the brick layout making.
Tip-18: Collect Changes Of Owners
We make buildings for people.
Although we have architectural plans, owners often make changes in their apartments.
So we should give them a priority. And collect changes from them.
In my opinion, it’s better to make changes before the roof slab casting of a floor.
Tip-19: Don’t Prepare All The Required Mortar For The Day
It’s a common practice of workers.
They prepare all the mortar for a day’s work at a time.
But, as you know, cement starts to set up after 45 minutes of adding water.
So, train your workers not to do that.
And, try to prepare mortar for one hour only.
To make the process easy and save working hours you can apply my technique.
Mix the required quantity of cement and sand in dry conditions for the day.
And, add water to the quantity of dry mix that they can use in an hour.
Tip-20: Hack The RCC Surface
Hacking is just to make some random marks on the RCC surface with a sharp-edge hammer.
It is done to make a bond between bricks and the RCC surface.
But the problem is masons often forget to hack.
And we don’t have enough time to stand all day long beside them.
That’s why I finish all the hacking work on a floor before starting masonry work.
Tip-21: Don’t Disturb Brick Wall Within 3 Days
You always have a tight schedule for project completion.
So, you need to start making lintel and false slabs as soon as the brick wall reaches the desired height.
For making lintels and false slabs, you need to make formwork for them.
And, doing so you put nails on brick walls.
When you hammer to put nails on freshly made brick walls, the brick joints will be disturbed.
So, how tight your project completion schedule is no matter, don’t do any hammering work on walls before they gain sufficient strength.
In my opinion, leave the brick walls undisturbed for at least 3 days.
Tip-22: Keep The Bottom Level Of Lintels At 7′-2″
Lintels are made to support the bricks above openings. Such as door openings and window openings.
Keep the bottom level of the lintel at 7′-2″ from the unfinished floor.
Because the door height is 7 feet.
But, that is from the finished floor.
And, it somehow takes 2″ for floor finishing and installing door frames.
So, it is wise to keep 7′-2″ clearance for door openings to easily work with.
And, for an aesthetic look, keep the bottom level of window lintels and all other opening lintels at the same height.
I’ve published a detailed post on making RCC lintels. Read that to learn more.
Tip-23: Don’t Forget To Cure
Curing is a vital part of all cementitious members.
And, it is true for brickwork also.
Although it is essential to cure the brick walls for 28 days, we can’t because of the tight schedule of the project.
So try to cure the brick wall for at least 10 days.
That’s it for my tips on brick wall construction.
As someone that does building construction for a living, I really enjoyed putting this list of tips together.
Now I’d Like To Hear Your Thoughts:
Which Tip from this list surprised you the most?
Or maybe there’s a Tip out there that I overlooked (it happens 🙂)
So go ahead and leave a comment below.