In this post, you’re going to learn how to build brick walls on a floor of a building.
- Are supervising a building construction project.
- Want to learn the right way of constructing brick walls
- Are eager to maintain the quality of brickworks…
Then you’re going to love this post.
In fact, we follow the exact same process to maintain the quality of brickwork in our projects.
Here is the proof:
So, let’s start to learn without further ado.
How To Build Brick Walls?
Here is the process…
Make The Brick Layout
A brick layout is a single layer of bricks that is used to mark all the walls on a floor.
To make the brick layout:
First, Soak Bricks
Brick-soaking is a process that involves dumping bricks in a tank by ensuring they are full-flooded by water for at least 12 hours.
And, remove them one hour before using.
For this purpose, I make a water tank in my project with 5″ thick brick walls.
The inside of the wall is plastered with Net Cement Finishing to prevent water penetration.
The question is, why should you soak bricks?
- Dry bricks soak water from mortar. And thus prohibits the hydration process of cement.
- Bricks may contain soluble harmful ingredients. Such as salt, Uria, etc.
Note: Not all types of bricks need to be soaked in this way. Such as concrete blocks.
At The Same Time, Wash the Sand
To prepare mortar, use sand that is free from dirt, mud, and salt.
That means washed sand should be used to build brick walls.
If you can purchase washed sand directly from suppliers, that’s good.
If you can’t, you should wash the sand before use.
To wash the sand – like soaking bricks – I make a separate water tank.
Whenever I receive sand from a supplier, I make them screened and put it directly into the tank.
Caution: Wet sand shouldn’t be used to make mortar. So, after washing, allow them to dry.
Next, Study The Architectural Plan
An architectural plan shows all the brick walls on a floor.
Study the drawing if there is anything you need to understand further.
If you find any mismatching, consult with the architect.
Sometimes owners change some walls in apartments. You need to consider those changes too.
Once you’re familiar with architectural drawing, now…
Prepare Mortar For The Brick Layout
We use cement mortar for brickwork.
It’s just a mix of cement, sand, and water.
For a 5” thick brick wall, we normally use a 1:5 cement-sand ratio.
And, for 10″ thick brick walls, the cement-sand ratio, we use, is 1:6.
Note: The cement-sand ratio of mortar depends mostly on the type of bricks. So, consult with the brick supplier or the structural engineer.
The FM (Fineness Modulus) of the sand should be 1.20 to 1.50.
And, it is better to use masonry cement in mortar.
Once the mortar is prepared….
Place A Thin Rope Along The Wall
The rope is placed to maintain the straightness of the wall.
And, it is done following the architectural plan.
Now, clean the concrete floor along the rope. No loose concrete should be allowed below the bricklayer.
Here, you need to ensure one thing. That is the level of the first layer of bricks.
As you know, it is sometimes not possible to maintain the level of a floor during slab casting.
But, you should make the first layer of bricks truly horizontal.
- Truly horizontal layers of bricks increase the aesthetic look of the brick wall.
- It also somehow increases the compressive strength of walls.
If you find the floor unlevelled, make a CC casting below the bricklayer.
Keep the Door Openings.
The door opening is kept to fix a door frame in the wall.
You need to keep these openings during brick layout making.
But how to keep that in a brick layout?
Let’s say you have a door in your architectural plan with a width of 3’-4”.
For that, you need to keep the door opening bigger than the door frame width.
Because you’ll insert and fit the frame within the opening.
But how big?
Normally, ¾” is enough on each side.
For both sides, it’ll be 1½”.
So, the door opening in a brick layout should be,
= 3′-4” + ¾” + ¾”
But here is the thing.
See the plan below:
In the plan above, the door is placed beside a wall.
If the wall is plaster-finished, then it is ok. You can keep the default gap. That is ¾” clear on each side.
But, if the wall is a toilet’s wall or a kitchen’s wall, then you need to think more about that.
Because the wall will be finished with tiles.
As we know, tiles take more thickness than plaster.
So you should keep a bigger gap for the door opening on the wall’s side.
And, it is 1½”.
Otherwise, tiles will end up on the door frame. That will look ugly.
Keep Full-Height Window Openings
You may have some windows in your drawing that start directly from the floor.
That means, there will be no wall.
You need to keep openings for those during brick layout work.
Not a big deal.
Suppose, the width of a window is 5 feet.
For that, keep the opening 5′-1″.
Because you’ll plaster on both sides of the opening.
After plastering, the width will be exactly 5’-0”.
With this, our brick layout is completed.
But, you need to be prepared for future work. After all, you are an engineer.
So, keep some holes in the brick layout of the periphery walls.
Because you will need these holes to make stages for plastering on the outer surface of walls.
Finally, Check The Brick Layout.
You don’t want to demolish any wall after making that.
Because that is:
So before going to build brick walls, check these:
Checkpoint-1: Size Of Each Room
You’ll get the dimensions of each room in the architectural plan.
Keep a measuring tape in your hand and check the size of each room.
But, how to check?
Let’s say, the dimension of a bedroom is shown as 10′ x 12′ in the drawing.
This is the inner dimension of the room.
But, while checking take the outer-to-outer dimension of the room.
Let’s see how:
Suppose, the width of our room is 10 feet.
So, the outer-to-outer dimension will be 10′-10″ (the wall thickness is 5″ here).
Why am I suggesting this?
Because the width of bricks we use isn’t exactly 5 inches.
The standard size of a brick is 9½” x 4½” x 2¾”.
With this, the room size will differ.
Checkpoint-2: Right-angle Of Rooms
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.
- The floor tiles won’t fit properly.
- It’ll take more mortar to make corners of the room at 90 degrees during plastering.
So, it’s better to check this before going to make actual brick walls.
But how to check the right angle of rooms?
You can use a long try square.
Just place the tool in a corner with two adjacent walls.
Alternatively, you can check the dimensions on both sides of the room.
Checkpoint-3: Check the Straightness Of the Wall
I normally do this for long walls.
Place a rope on one side along the long wall.
And, check if the wall is aligned with the rope.
Checkpoint-4: Check The Vertical Alignment Of the Outer Walls
In a building, you’ll have many floors.
The periphery walls of all the floors should be aligned vertically.
- The building should be truly vertical
- Inclined walls will consume more mortar for outer plaster.
But, how can you check this?
Place the plumb bob in a periphery wall from the upper floor to the floor below.
And take dimensions at different levels.
Checkpoint-5: Check If There Are Any Changes By The Apartment Owner
Let’s face it.
Owners often make changes to walls or rooms in apartments.
You just need to collect those changes before going to build brick walls.
After collecting, make changes as they want.
NOTE: It’s better not to take any wall changes after the roof slab casting of the floor.
With this, the brick layout work is completed.
You can now proceed to…
Build Brick Walls
To build brick walls, you just need to lay bricks on the brick layout – one above another.
First, Gather Soaked Bricks On The Floor.
I’ve talked about the brick soaking above.
Keep in mind that brick soaking should be discontinued at least one hour before use.
Otherwise, the water from bricks will increase the water-cement ratio of the mortar.
And thus you’ll have difficulties keeping brick layers in line.
But, you shouldn’t use dry bricks either.
Because dry bricks will soak water from the cement mortar and thus weaken the mortar.
Next, Prepare Mortar For Building Brick Walls.
To prepare mortar, mix the cement and sand in a dry state in such a way that they form a uniform color.
And then add the required water to the mix.
Caution: Don’t prepare all the required mortar for the day at a time. Mix cement and sand in a dry state. And, add water to the required quantity of dry mix that you can use within one hour.
After that, Spread Mortar On The Brick Layout.
The thickness of the mortar layer is ½”.
To maintain the thickness and uniformity of the mortar layer, I use a hand-made wooden form.
The form is made with ½” thick wooden plank.
Spread mortar on the brick layout using that form.
Note: Some masons can maintain the thickness and uniformity of the mortar layer without form. That’s fine not to use the form.
Now, Set Two Bricks On Both Ends Of The Wall.
This is done to maintain the straightness of the wall.
After setting bricks at both ends, correct the position of those bricks with the bottom layer.
And tie a rope with both bricks.
Finally, Put Bricks On The Mortar Layer.
Once you’ve completed the mortar laying, you can now put bricks above it, one after another.
For a 5-inch thick brick wall, we use the Stretcher bond pattern.
And, for a 10-inch thick wall English bond.
Make sure, the gap between the two bricks is ½”.
Fill this gap with the mortar properly. So that no gaps are left blank in brick joints.
That is the actual process of constructing brick walls.
But, you also need to…
Keep Window Openings
A Window opening is a gap in a wall.
Most often, they are kept in periphery walls.
Sometimes, they are also kept in inner walls.
Later, grills, aluminum, mosquito net, glass, etc. are fixed in the opening.
[Note: I’ve discussed a little bit about window openings in the brick layout section above. But It needs further explanation.]
To keep window openings in walls:
First, Set The Window Height.
For that, head over to the architectural plan.
As you can see, here is a window named “W1”
With that, get the window height from the window schedule.
Here, the height of the window is 4’-6”.
Keep in mind that the window height is calculated from the bottom of the lintel.
For our example window, keep the opening height 4’-7”.
Because you need to do plaster inside the opening.
That means you need to be prepared for keeping window openings after completing brick walls up to 2’-7” as the lintel is built at 7’-2” from the unfinished floor.
And, this is for 4’-6” height windows.
But, you may have different window heights in your project.
So, study the window schedule before starting brick wall making.
Next, Set The Width Of The Window.
Again, head over to the window schedule.
And, the width of our example window is 5’-0”.
For that, keep the window opening 5’-1”.
You already know that!
Do the same for all other windows.
And complete making all brick walls up to 7 feet without kitchen walls.
Why without kitchen walls?
Because you need to…
Make Kitchen Cabinet Slab
A kitchen cabinet slab is an RCC slab built for burner and sink placement.
The burner slab is normally built 27 inches above the unfinished floor.
And, the sink-slab is built 33 inches above.
After casting the cabinet slab, you can build the wall of the kitchen up to 7 feet too.
With this, you’ve built all the brick walls up to 7 feet.
Make Lintel And False Slab
A lintel is an RCC member built on door openings.
As well as, on window openings.
They are built to support the brick wall above the opening.
And, the false slab is a 3 inches thick RCC slab built on bathrooms.
These are built to hide the sanitary pipes above the bathrooms.
Caution: After making brick walls up to 7 feet, allow them to gain strength for at least 3 days. Don’t start lintel/false slab making within this period.
With this, the brick wall construction is almost finished.
One last step – that is…
Build Brick Walls Above Lintel And False Slab
Making brick walls above the lintel and false slab is the same as we’ve learned to build brick walls above.
Just make sure, you’ve hacked the surfaces where bricks will join with RCC.
As a civil engineer, you’re not actually building brick walls.
Masons build brick walls.
But you need to learn the process. So that you can control the quality of brickwork.
So whenever you plan to start making brick walls on a floor, read and re-read this post.
Now I’d Like To Turn It Over To You!
Did I miss anything in this post that’ll hamper the quality of the brickwork?
Or, Do you want to share anything about brick wall making?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below…