It’s best to leave building a brick house to the pros. However, the average homeowner can build simple projects like brick planters or a barbecue pit. But, there are a few things you need to know before beginning any concrete and masonry work.
Concrete Forms the Foundation
Before you lay a single brick, you need a level, concrete foundation. You might be able to lay a simple foundation for something like a garden wall or planter yourself. However, larger foundations require more skill and may need to be reinforced with rebar. Also, you’ll need to test your soil’s moisture level to determine how thick your foundation needs to be. It’s generally recommended to lay a 3-foot deep foundation, but if the soil is moist, the foundation may need to be thicker.
If the place where you want to lay your foundation is not level, you’ll need to level it out. If the area is very unlevel, you might want to leave laying the foundation to a professional.
Use a Mason’s Line
A Mason’s line is simply a brightly colored string. You’ll string a level line along the wall you’re building, and align each row of bricks with it. For additional information on masonry and concrete, you can click here to learn more.
You’ll raise the mason’s line with each row of bricks. The line is strung along two poles at each end of the wall. Each time you raise the line, you’ll need to ensure each end is at the same height and it is perfectly level.
Concrete and Masonry Work Must Be Level
As you can see, leveling your concrete and masonry work is vital. If it is not level, it will eventually develop serious cracks. Moreover, if it is very unlevel, the concrete you use between the layers of bricks can slide off to one side.
Doing it right the first time is extremely important with concrete and masonry work. Also, the larger the project, the more important leveling is. Repairing the damage caused by unlevel surfaces and settling can be both time-consuming and expensive.
Draw Up Detailed Plans
Before you begin, plan your project carefully. You can find plans online for things like brick barbecues and outdoor kitchens. Also, watch a few videos before you begin. You’ll need to have a good idea of the type and amount of materials you will need.
While large masonry projects are best left to skilled professionals, the average homeowner can certainly tackle smaller projects. But, even small masonry projects take some skill, and it’s necessary to do your homework before you start.