Basic bricklaying skills

With DIY on the increase, more and more homeowners are looking to acquire basic skills for quick and easy DIY projects, advanced projects such as making furniture, home repair and maintenance, and home improvement projects. One skill set that saves you thousands of rands is learning a few basic bricklaying skills.

Bricklaying is one of those home improvement projects that many put off because of lack of knowledge. But acquiring a few basic bricklaying skills will allow you to take on a small project in and around the home and, with that done, you will find that you are ready to move on to the next project.
Whether you do the work yourself or hire someone to do it for you, knowing the basics of bricklaying will ensure that any bricklaying job you tackle is a job well done.

You will need:

Pointed trowel
Steel float
Spirit level
Brick pointer
Builder’s line
Wheelbarrow or sheet or cement fibre board
Cement, sand (and stone for foundations)
Hose pipe or bucket (for mixing mortar)
Bolster chisel and club hammer
Angle steel or pine lumber straightedge

Tips, Tricks and Techniques
The DIY Divas present bricklaying and plastering workshops during the winter months, and anyone who has attended the workshop will confirm that it’s not as difficult as it appears. Understand a few basic principles, equip yourself with the right tools and get ready to start your first small bricklaying project.


The first step in any bricklaying or building project is to have a strong foundation.
If you are building on an existing slab or concrete floor you can use this as the foundation. But a new structure will require footings or foundations.
The size of any foundation is determined by the size of the structure being built.
Dig out a trench to the width and depth required. A small, free-standing garden wall or braai will only require a foundation 30cm wide x 30cm deep, whereas a retaining wall or larger construction will need a foundation of 60cm x 60cm.


For 1 cubic metre of concrete you will need: 5,8 bags cement + 0,65 cubic metres sand + 0,65 cubic metres gravel.
Since the foundation provides a secure base for any building – it needs to be strong and it needs to be level, so be sure to have a 1 metre long spirit level and straightedge handy as you work.

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