When it comes to learning how to mortar brick, please don’t think you’ll reach expert status when you’re done reading this article.
It takes instruction from professionals and years of experience to know enough to become an expert. It also takes an inclination towards this type of physical labor, and an aptitude with the concepts of building and construction.
But we can provide you with some basics on how to mortar brick, also known as tuck pointing, or bricklaying.
You will need to know how to mix brick mortar, what tools and materials are required, basic knowledge of bricklaying instructions, as well as have a basic comfort level with mechanical skills.
In other words, if you’re not mechanically inclined, like your humble writer, then don’t try this at home, and call in the professionals.
You’ll need to have certain tools handy, such as a brick chisel, trowel, brush, and mask. The materials are a masonry string, a straight strip of wood, and mortar mix.
The mortar mix is something you can buy premixed an ready to go, or the type where you just add water. You can also make your own, and to learn how to mix brick mortar, continue reading.
There Is an Art to How to Mix Brick Mortar
Make sure you have a dry bucket, a bucket to measure out water, and a wheelbarrow as well as to pre-wet any containers you will use for the fresh mortar.
It’s also a great idea to have a flat surface available where you can mix the mortar.
You’ll need a mixture of one part masonry cement and three parts sand. For a stronger mix of mortar, you can add a half part lime, one part of cement, and four parts sand.
Add two gallons of water to the dry mixture in the wheelbarrow.
When actually mixing the mortar, use a folding technique, like you would when making bread. Once it’s combined thoroughly, add an additional gallon of water, and mix that thoroughly. You want a smooth texture and consistency.
How do you know you’ve got it right? If the mixed mortar and slide easily off of a trowel or shovel, yet when you make a hollow in the mixture, and it holds its shape, you’ve got it right.
Bricklaying Instructions: Some How-To Tips to Know
As for bricklaying instructions, use the masonry string as the guide as well as the strip of wood when you start laying bricks to make your rows straight. As your laying the bricks, keep the masonry string tight.
As you go, use a trowel (gloves are a good idea) to spread the mortar. The mortar should be applied with a generous amount. Then lay the brick firmly as you go.
Continuing, you’ll need to keep an eye on the excess mortar, and use the straight edge of the trowel to scrape it off.
Bricklaying Speed Tips, Tricks and Pointers
Finally, we’ll close with some bricklaying speed tips, tricks, and pointers.
Don’t do this job in the rain. Frogs are shallow depressions in the surface bed of a brick, and always have the depression pointing up. If color difference is something you want to avoid with bricks, make sure you inspect each pack of bricks, and the color is the same, so order more than you need. The mortar you use should also match throughout, so keep that in mind.
If you require professional bricklaying in the Chicago area, we’re always here to help so call us anytime.