Follow our step-by-step guide to bricklaying, from mixing mortar to getting a good-quality finish
Before you begin your project, you’ll need to figure out the number of bricks required. Standard types are 215mm x 102.5mm x 65mm.
To get an accurate picture of the number of bricks required, you’ll also need to account for a 10mm mortar bed. So to come up with the correct calculations, input your brick size as 225mm x 102.5mm x 75mm for standard products.
You’ll then want to add an allowance for cuts and wastage. Typically, you might overorder by 5% for a house or garage wall where there will be structural openings (such as windows). You might get away with less on a simple garden wall.
Project guide: Brick wall step-by-step
You will need
There are 11 steps in this guide to building a brick wall.
Step 1: Start your brick wall at the corners
Firstly, lay out the bricks at both ends of your wall where the pillars will start. This should be done after any necessary foundations have been prepared. Using your string line, make a straight guideline at brick height between the two outside bricks.
Step 2: Mix the mortar
Following this, heap five shovels full of sand and one of cement on an old board. Turn shovel to mix to a consistent colour. Form a central hollow, pour in water and mix. Repeat for a smooth, creamy texture that’s wet but not too loose.
Step 3: Lay the first course of bedding mortar
Next you should lay a 1-2cm mortar bed along the string line. Starting at one end, lay the first brick and tap slightly to ‘bed in’. ‘Butter up’ one end of the next brick with mortar and abut it to the first. Repeat using string line as a guide.
Step 4: Create the brick pillars
At the point where you want your pillars to start, place a brick side-on to the end of the wall. As you build up the wall, each consecutive course of pillar bricks must be laid in the opposite direction.
Step 5: Cutting bricks
When building pillars, at certain courses you’ll need to lay half-bricks. To make a cut, place the brick on its side, locate the bolster at the split point and strike the head firmly with a club hammer. It should split cleanly first time.
Step 6: Keep the pillars one course ahead
Always build at least a course higher on the pillars than the rest of the wall. Move the string line up as you build, bedding it into the mortar on the pillars. For a stretcher bond, the end of each brick should be over the centre of the one beneath.