BRICK WALL CONSTRUCTION

LAYING PATTERNS

The way in which a brick is laid, the brickwork bond, strongly influences the appearance of the facade.


A well thought out brickwork bond gives projects extra style and character.

 

BRICK BLENDING

The composition of the raw materials as well as the firing process will result in colour and dimensional variations from brick to brick and from pallet to pallet. This variation is inherent in the process of handmade bricks and is a key component to the appeal of handmade bricks.


To ensure that colour and dimensional variations are dealt with correctly, we advise that the bricks are blended during laying. The best method to do this is to select bricks from numerous (e.g. 4 to 6 but the more the better) open packs. This will ensure a beautiful finished product. With all our bricks, there are four usable faces – two headers and two stretchers. Further blending can be achieved by careful selection of which face to use.

 

THE BRICKIE

Nothing is more important to good brick work than a good brickie. Many people think brickies are unskilled labourers, they are not, they are highly skilled tradespeople, but like any industry, there are good ones and bad ones. No matter how nice the bricks, an unskilled brickie (this is rare) or a brickie doing the brickwork in a hurry (way too common) can ruin them. Choosing the cheapest brickie (this virtually guarantees a rushed job) is rarely the best approach. Make sure your brickie has lots of experience laying face bricks. In many cases a brickie who normally lays bricks intended to be rendered may not be the best brickie for laying face bricks.

 

BRICK CLEANING

In most cases cleaning of brick work can be achieved using standard techniques such as acid washing, wet sponging and high pressure cleaning. Brick cleaning is no substitute to clean brick work done by a professional bricklayer competent in laying face bricks, please read section above on choosing a brickie.

Guidelines for high pressure cleaning:

  • Allow the mortar to harden for at least 3 days, but not longer than 3 weeks. 

  • Large mortar dags with appropriate hand tools.

  • Protect adjacent materials (e.g. window frames etc.)

  • Saturate brickwork with clean water and never let the wall dry out during cleaning.

  • Test a small unseen section prior to full-scale cleaning.

  • Keep pressure low - maximum 7000kPa (approximately 1000psi).

  • Use a wide fan spray nozzle.

  • Keep the nozzle 0.5m from the wall, and never closer than 0.3m.

  • Keep the nozzle moving constantly to avoid surface abrasion in one spot.

  • Do not use a turbo jet head, as damage to the brick surface and mortar is likely to occur

  • As with all building work, advice should be sought from qualified professionals if you are unsure of any aspect of brick cleaning.


Guidelines for acid washing:

Important: Hydrochloric acid is a hazardous material. All guidelines by the manufacturer must be adhered to. If this method is used incorrectly, it can result in unsightly staining that is more difficult to remove. In particular, care should be taken to treat any vanadium stains prior to cleaning. Acid washing is best done by trained professionals.

  • Test a small unseen section prior to full-scale cleaning.

  • All mortar dags should be removed using either a metal or wooden scraper.

  • Protect adjacent materials (e.g. window frames etc.)

  • Saturate the area of brickwork to be cleaned and all adjacent areas below with water.

  • Use the correct ratio of hydrochloric acid and water.

- Light coloured bricks: 1 part hydrochloric acid to 20 parts water

- Dark coloured bricks: 1 part hydrochloric acid to 10 parts water

Warning: Under no circumstances should more than 1 part hydrochloric acid to 10 parts water be used.

  • Always begin at the highest point and work down the wall.

  • Only clean small areas at a time - e.g. one square metre - so as to allow adequate time to wash off the cleaning solution.

  • Allow solution to remain on wall for 3-6 minutes before scrubbing. Be sure not to scrub the joints.

  • Rinse thoroughly, making sure all cleaning solution has been removed.

  • All light coloured brickwork & internal exposed brickwork washed with acid should be neutralised.

  • As with all building work, advice should be sought from qualified professionals if you are unsure of any aspect of brick cleaning.

Special Cleaning Requirements for Reclamation Styles
Our reclamation styles, which can be identified by the white scumming on the brick surface (and the use of the term reclamation in their name), should not be wet sponged, acid washed or high pressure cleaned. During laying, the excess mortar should be cut off with a trowel. The bricks from the pallets are left intentionally dusty, this allows mortar dags and smears on the work face to be removed easily by dry brushing.

Do not sponge the joints of the brickwork, otherwise it may create permanent stains.

We also advise that with our reclamation styles, the mortar colour is matched closely to the colour of the white scumming (i.e. white to off white mortar).

 

MORTAR CHOICE

Choosing a mortar colour is really important. Broadly mortar colours can be divided into four broad types: dark grey/black, grey, yellow (buttery) and white (creamy).


Yellow/Buttery Mortar

Yellow or a buttery colour is the most common colour used and is produced by using a yellow brick sand combined with an off white cement, this will produce a buttery coloured mortar, the addition of hydrated lime will lighten this colour further.


Creamy White

For a creamy white mortar you use a white brick sand with a white cement.


Grey

This is the most simplest mortar colour to achieve and is just a simple mix of grey cement and yellow brick sand. Standard grey mortar can also be purchased premixed in most hardware stores.


Dark Grey to Black

For dark grey to black mortars a black oxide must be added to the standard grey cement. Black oxides can be purchased readily at most hardware stores.


Both sand, cements and coloured oxides are readily available from hardware stores (e.g. Bunnings). To stress the point, yellow and white mortar can not be produced with the standard grey cement and for a true white mortar you must use a pure white cement and white brick sand. Links to examples of these products can be found below:


We are happy to supply the correct cement for you.....just ask.

If you want a very traditional white mortar you can also use hydraulic lime (not to be confused with hydrated lime), it is unlikely that you will find hydraulic lime in a normal hardware store but we are happy to supply it for you....just ask.

Mixing Mortar

Mortar should be batched, this means volumes of sand, cement, lime, oxide and water should be carefully measured, generally using buckets of a consistent volume. Estimating the mix ratio of the mortar based on shovels is a clear sign of poor skills and/or workmanship and will result in inconsistent mortar colour and strength.

IMPORTANT

* As with all building work, advice should be sought from qualified professionals if you are unsure of any aspect of brick laying, cladding or paving.

 

1800 841 554

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