Welcome to Frank Menchise website DIY Brickwork and gets the job done right!
Building with bricks, let us begin
Welcome to our article, DIY brickwork, or Building a brick base for houses. Perhaps we need to say that in this article, we would like to interest you our readers to learn at least in theory how to lay bricks, just in case you would like to do some brickwork yourself in the future:We would like to help if we could, since we believe that this is the duty of any human being to do so.
This is our index page, and DIY brickwork page 1, here we are briefly going to tell you issues that we are going to publish in the pages of this website, which will be about, building houses, renting house, maintaining houses and buying your house, we are also supplying a navigation bar here so that you could navigate all our sites; once we have done that, we are going to tell you the story of my life, so that you would know how I got here. But let me tell you how I feel; I feel that it is the duty of any human being to pass down his knowledge to future generations.
THE DUTY OF ANY HUMAN BEING
Written for the future betterment of all humanity
This could or would be the duty of any human being
We have reasons to believe that anyone of us has a story to tell and also would be able to contribute to the betterment of all humanity, and that could or would be the duty of any human being, even if it is done in a small way, because that as much as we are able to personally contribute. Anything at all that we are able to contribute should and would be accepted from the community with gratitude.
Therefore, if we really are willing to contribute we need to make our own contribution; it does not need to be a great contribution, because we can only contribute according to our own means and understanding of the situation ahead of us; it does not need to be money or other earthly assets that we own if we don’t have enough of it for ourselves, anyhow that is not the only thing that is needed in life, but if you can afford to do it, it will be welcome by the community. You see, one of the best ways to contribute for the betterment of all humanity is to give back what you have learned from life, in a way that humanity would be able to use it and improve the present situation using what one has learned from life.
You see it is the accumulated human knowledge that helps humanity to improve, therefore the best contribution that a person can give is to share the knowledge he/she has gained during their lives, whatever that knowledge can be, and this is one of the reasons why I am writing these articles. Because I personally feel that this would be the duty of any human being and at the same time I feel that I can contribute something, since I have learned many thing during my life and I would like to pass my accumulated knowledge to my readers.
Having explained what the main subject is in this article, now I need to say that this page is going to be used mainly as an index to explain what we are going to write in our webpages and to navigate to all our writing works, which in a way I hope to fulfil my duty as a human being, as I have explained above. There will be a lot more to say, but all will be explained as we go on writing, starting with the article here under; Building with bricks.
Building with bricks, let us begin
Welcome to our article, DIY brickwork, or Building a brick base for houses. Perhaps we need to say that in this article, we would like to interest you our readers to learn at least in theory how to lay bricks, just in case you would like to do some brickwork yourself in the future:
Here under are a few videos links copied from YouTube, they might be helpful for a D.I.Y.
Anyhow some of these links need some explanation in order to understand them better, as they are short, so a few more words would help, see our comments in between the links, when we are able to write them.
This link above is for people that don't know much how to lay bricks, however it is a starting point, of course there are things that a real bricklayer would not do, but there are also very useful hints for a beginner.
This link above shows you other things and if you are able to use this together with what you have learned from the other links, you are on the way of learning how to lay bricks.
This is a very professional way of how to to build a brick wall yourself I would say that it explain quite a few things that you need to know to lay those bricks.
This is a very good video to learn how to use your trowel and level properly and build your corner square and how to keep gauge
In this video the bricklayer is working too fast, the set up is the wrong way, it makes you wonder how he is going to reach for the bricks and mortar when the wall become too high, this is not the right way to learn how to lay bricks.
This link above shows you how a real bricklayer would finish his face brick wall, of course even here you cannot learn everything, so if you are not a bricklayer, you need to visit most of our links here.
This link above is a very good link that shows you how a real bricklayer lays bricks, if you can follow what he is doing you have already learned a lot how to lay bricks and you can start laying bricks, who knows one day you might become a real bricklayer.
This is just another way that could help some people, but it is a bit hard to follow compared to the other YouTube video
This is another good video to watch, perhaps it is a repetition of the others, but bricklaying is a repetitive job. I don't know what are the learning class that they advertise like, but the guy that is doing the bricklaying knows what he is talking about.
This is a good video to learn how to lay bricks, it would be very good for DIY that have not laid bricks before, but it is not how a real bricklayer would do it, as it takes a long time and in bricklaying time is money.
D.I.Y BRICKWORK HOME PAGE
In order to make it easy to understand, this website will be written in two sections, the first section is about DIY brickwork, where we are trying to pass on our bricklaying, building knowledge and other useful stuff about houses and real estate to our readers, because we believe that this is our duty as human beings (see our article below); the second section will be about my own life in Australia and how I became a bricklayer.
Here I would like to tell you that I made the first brick trolley in Brisbane Australia about 34 years ago, because I had to move a lot of bricks quickly and there was not enough room for a machine to do the job.
THE NAVIGATION BAR FOR: frankmenchise.com, manneedgod.co.uk and diybrickwork.com websites
To navigate all the pages of this site, diybrickwork click on the links above the title and picture at the top of this page.
To navigate to all our other Yola domains and sub-domains click on this link, http://menfranco.blogspot.com, and then click on our Yola links therein.
To navigate to some of Frank Menchise blogs, click on the links here under.
To navigate to other Frank Menchise, Google sites, click on the links here under.www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
Welcome to our website. My name is Frank Menchise I am an old bricklayer and because I believe that we old people should do our duty, as we have written in our article, the duty of any man, I am going to try to pass my bricklaying life knowledge to our readers, so that what we have learned during our life is not completly lost, and it could help our readers.
There are many types of brickwork in the building trade to choose from and there are also a few ways how to lay bricks, see the photo on the left, they are laying bricks over hand, a practice that should be avoided if possible, specially if the building is high, in some places this practice is banned, because if something goes wrong, the bricklayer can fall and get hurt or die.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO LEARN IF YOU WANT TO D.I.Y. IN BUILDING
To build a brick house or anything else with brick and mortar, a bricklayer must know how to read a plan, how to set up a profile, have a good trowel and spirit level and other tools as well and know how to use them properly. So at the bottom of this page we are going to describe to you step by step a few of the most important things that you need to know. Here I need to say that one of the tools that some new people seem to fail to understand is how to use a spirit level, not only they don't know how to use it properly, but they believe also that their level is always right, even though they haven't checked it if it is right or not; So learn how to check if your spirit level is right, in our explanation at the bottom of this page. One day we are also explain other things.
DIY brickwork and gets the job done right!
Do it yourself brickwork, if you like
My life in Australia as a bricklayer and what else I did to earn a living
For my entire life in Australia I have worked in house building or repair, but the best trade that I know is bricklaying as I have worked as a bricklayer most of my life, therefore, I would like to share my bricklaying knowledge with you, before I can share other knowledge that could be useful in life, since we all live in building accommodations, and therefore any knowledge of building a house, or maintaining the accommodation we live in could be helpful to most of us. So here and now, I am going to share this knowledge with you, in all aspect of building, repairing or owning a house; so let us start with building something with bricks, because as I have said I am a bricklayer.
But before we start that let me explain why I would like to do that; you see I believe that it is the duty of any human being to help humanity to improve their standard of living, (an article about this is written at this web address; www.frankmenchise.com , if it does not work from here try to Google it in Google search bar) therefore anything that one learns during one’s life should be passed to the future generations. I know that in the past some trade people tried to hold on their knowledge so that they would be employed if they were required to do certain jobs, but that is in the past and today that would not help much anyhow, so let me try to pass on some of my knowledge, starting with how a bricklayer would go about and build a brick base for a house.
Building with bricks
Welcome to our article, DIY brickwork, or Building a brick base for houses. Perhaps we need to say that in this article, we would like to interest you our readers to learn at least in theory how to lay bricks, just in case you would like to do some brickwork yourself in the future, because if you do then you already have an idea what knowledge is required; therefore in this article we will talk about; Getting ready to lay bricks; making sure that we start the brickwork level, and Laying bricks on a sloping site. Of course there is still a lot more to say about bricklaying, but this article might become too long to describe the many things that need to be said, so we are going to continue with DIY brickwork also in our next hub; Building a brick base and we will continue to write about brickwork until we complete the brick base at least, even if we have to write a few articles about it.
Here again there are two links that would be very helpful if they work, because one shows a bricklayer laying brick and explaining how it is done step by step; the other link shows photos of many types of brick walls already built, many types of bonds and also brick walls while they are being built, let us hope that these links works for you, if they don’t try to copy them in Google search bar and use Google engine to find them.
Building a brick base for houses
Okay, I know that some of you are going to say that this article is not exactly what it claims to be, because it cannot really teach you how to lay bricks from scratch for an entire house base, as this takes a long time if you want to do it properly. So it should have been called with a different name, perhaps its name should have been, Building a brick base for houses, or how a bricklayer would build a house brick base for houses; since this is what really we are talking about in this article, but while I was writing this article it became obvious that I was going to write so many details that it was like teaching somebody how to do it yourself, so I changed the hub name to DIY brickwork. At this point of time my intentions are that I am going to write a few or several hubs mainly about brickwork as I have been a bricklayer most of my life, then I might also write other articles with whatever I know about other building trades like concreting and other helpful hints that might help whoever has the intention of building something themselves, I hope this would help my readers that are willing to have a go at building something themselves.
So, now let me go back to what I was going to talk about in this article, you see, in our previous article called, House building in Brisbane, we were explaining what we were doing on the building sites, and we had reached the point where we were ready for the bricklayer to start laying bricks working on the brick base of a house.
Now what is going to follow here is how we lay these bricks so to speak; I am also telling you that here I am not speaking any more with the knowledge of the brickies labor that I was, when I was getting everything ready for the bricklayers to start work, in our last hub called, House building in Brisbane, but I am speaking with the knowledge that I acquired when I became a bricklayer and later on in life during the long time that I have worked as a bricklayer, and I may add that what I am writing here can also apply to other brickwork in general terms, as bricklaying is a repetitive job and once you have acquired the skills how to do one job, you may easily use this knowledge to do a different job, so, DIY brickwork, is a possible name that I could have given also to this hub.
So now that I have explained myself, let me just take you step by step how the bricklayers have to work, when building these brick bases for houses, so that any of you that have in mind to do some of this bricklaying work yourself have some ideas of what you need to know, and here I am talking about the basic know how that is required to lay bricks the right way, you see you need this basic knowledge because once you have laid the bricks and the mortar becomes hard it is a very hard and costly job to fix it, if you have made any mistakes. I have to say also that it is very easy to make mistakes here, unless you are an expert and really know what you are doing. So, let us follow how a professional bricklayer would start the house base, because there are a lot of things that must be kept in mind before you even start laying the first brick.
The most important thing is that you start laying the first brick in the right spot at the right level, and this should be done at the lowest point of the foundation wherever is practicable when the site is not level, otherwise you could encounter real problems later on; so, how we bricklayers go about to achieve that you may ask? Therefore, let me explain hereunder the procedure while we are getting ready to lay the first brick.
Getting ready to lay bricks
As we have already said in our previous articles, the first thing that is necessary to do on a building site is to set up a profile, in order to make sure that the house is set where the house plan says it should be, therefore a profile should already be there and if it is not, then one should be erected prior to commencing to lay bricks. Now just to make things a bit easier let us assume that the profile are in place, and also that there are no other previous works done on the house, therefore there is no set fix height of the finished brickwork take or leave one brick thickness.
So now let me explain the procedure when we start working on this brick base of the house; first of all, we bricklayers go to the profiles and tie the end of the brickies line where it says it should be, and this is the outside alignment of the house, then walk to the opposite side while unrolling the line and tie it again where it should be on the marked profile; here I need to point out to the DIY for the first time that the line must be stretched very tight, so that it stays in a straight line even if there is a wind blowing. Now that we have set the first line, we are going to set another line right across the first line and where these two lines meet is the very first corner of the brick wall of the house.
Now with a plump bob or a spirit level mark on to the foundation where the outside corner of the first brick is going to be laid, and you are ready to lay the first brick. Of course it is necessary to repeat this procedure for every corner of the house. It is also necessary or perhaps helpful when the foundation of the house is not level to mark all the steps, so that you know that the wall is being built exactly in the right place; you see to start laying bricks in the foundation is a very hard and demanding job for the bricklayers, let us just imagine that you have to lay bricks below where you are standing, and where you are standing is uneven ground and if you are unlucky it might even be wet. So if you can make everything easier by marking all the critical points it would help. This of course is only step one and step two is about levels, so let us see how that can be done.
Photo on the left is one of the many surveyors level, a trained person can do many things with this instrument, it comes with an extending rod and it requires two people to use it and it can also be used to mark the levels for the bricklayer and other trades.
Just a clear water hose, can be one of the most used level for the bricklayer, when there is no surveyors level available, it is very easy to use as I have already explained in my text. This type of level requires to people to use it.
With this second type of water level just a single person can use it to mark the levels on the building site. You need to fill up the container with water and then let the water run and fill up the house making sure that there are no air bubbles, then you can go around and mark your levels, as these will all be the same level as the water in the container.
Making sure that we start the brickwork level
Now that we have marked all the corners and everywhere else, so that we can start building this brick base on the right alignment we need to start also thinking about the levels; you see 99% of the bricks must be laid level and plumb, unless there is a specific reason for the walls to be leaning and this reason must be well understood, before we start laying bricks for this special sort of job and we have to say that this does not happen when we build houses.
Anyhow, in order to start the brickwork level, we need to know if the two opposite corner are exactly level, and if not what is the difference between them, so that we will be able to start the brick walls at the right level. With short walls it is enough to use the spirit level to do everything, but with longer walls we need to use other sophisticated levels. Therefore it is necessary to mark the levels on every corner, so that the difference is known to the bricklayers before he starts laying bricks, because most of the difference must be rectified well below ground level and if possible on the first course of bricks that we lay on the foundation.
Today there are a few types of level that we can use, some of these levels are very expansive like surveyors level and other types, they also need an expert to use them and a helper at the other end to mark when instructed to do so, therefore it is very helpful if one of these levels is being used on the site to mark all the levels around the house base for all the trades that are working on the house, but there are times when the bricklayers are left to their own devises, and they have to work out their own levels.
Now the bricklayers have already so many tools to carry around including the mixer and wheelbarrows, therefore they try to avoid carrying expansive levels with themselves even when they know how to use them. So, some bricklayers use even today the water level, because it is most simple and cheep level, as it is only a clear hose filled up with water and it is very easy to use, all you have to do is to fill up this hose with clean water and at the same time make sure that there are no air bubbles in it and you have a very accurate level ready to use. Let me explain how it works, if there are no air bubbles in the hose filled up with water, the water in the two ends of the hose are always level, whether they are beside each other (and this is the way to check it out if it is working properly) or when they are far apart. So if you mark the top of a brick on a corner that you have already built you can mark this same level on the other corner, and therefore you know that this two marked points are level; then, you should stretch a bricklayer's line between these two points making sure that the line sits exactly on the mark that you have made; now all the level below this line can be worked out easily from the bricklayer, using a type measure or a gauge rod.
The bricklayer can work out what to do if there is any difference on the foundation, and also make sure that it is the same course of bricks by running a full course of bricks between these two marked points, at this stage the bricklayer not only has to take care of the levels, but he also needs to make sure about the bond, therefore he needs to start from the lowest corner and lay a full course of bricks until he reaches the other corner, this will make sure that the brickwork is started level and with the right bond. This procedure should now be repeated also on the other walls until all the walls are set up, if everything is done properly we should end up with the last wall being the easiest to start, since we have already set both corner to build the other walls, but be careful here that there is not a pig in it, which sometimes can even happen when we are not careful enough and the line is set on the wrong course of the bricks.
Explaining what is meant that there is a pig in the brickwork and how to make sure that everything is set right from the very beginning. To make 100% sure that everything is level and that there is no pig in the brickwork, it is necessary that you run a full course of bricks all around the building at the same level, if that can be done and there is no brick sticking out it is okay. I hope that I have explained it clear enough. Now let us see how this can be avoided when we are working on a sloping site and the foundations have several steps in it, because this is the most likely place that this mistake can be made.
Photo on the left is a bricklayer building a brick corner in stretcher bond. This is one of the easiest and most used corner that a bricklayer can build. Apart from the material to build the bricklayer needs his trowel his spirit level and a type measure to check the gauge.
There are a few types of line blocks pins and other devise to tie the bricks' line with , but I have picked the wooden line blocks because they are as good as any other and can be made very easily from a piece of timber with a saw, if you cannot find them easily.
Gauge rods are used to measure the thickness of a course of bricks. They are not used as shown in this picture, but they can be used if you can tie them firmly on the corner as a bricklayer profile. Note how the joints are all the same thickness.
Stepped foundation above ground. Here I would like to point out that most times we bricklayer find the stepped foundation below ground
Laying bricks on a sloping site
As we have already said before, the most important thing in bricklaying is that the bricks must be laid at the right alignment, straight, plumb and level and when building a face brick wall the bricklayer should pay particular attention to these details, we will be coming back to discuss this issue soon, as for the time being we want to start building a brick base for houses, beginning from the first course of bricks that we lay on the foundations, therefore it would be better to concentrate on this single issue, as it is very important to start the brickwork right from the beginning.
Now, to lay bricks on a level site it is easy, as you can see from this picture beside here; also to lay bricks on a level foundation is also easy, you see you can build another corner as the one shown here at the other end, and by using a bricklayer's line on line blocks you can stretch a tight line and lay bricks in a straight line easily. Of course here we have assumed that the foundations have been laid level, but on a stepped foundations it is not that easy, because even the concretors may not have been able to lay the foundations level, because the concrete moves until it sets, therefore the bricklayers need to check and recheck the levels when they start bricklaying on a sloping site. One of the easiest ways to do that is to mark levels on the profiles all around the building site; then you can stretch a bricklayer tight line between these levels and measure from the line down to check your levels, ether with a type measure or a gauge rod.
I know now that you are saying, what is a gauge rod? Okay, a gauge rod is usually made from a long marked peace of timber that the bricklayer marks himself, once he knows what sort of bricks he is going to lay and how thick these bricks are and also what would be the best thickness of the joints for this sort of brickwork. I know that the gauge rod sounds like a strange devise for those that are not used to work for bricklayers, but really it is only a straight-edge that has been marked with the space of each brick, so that you can quickly know how many course of bricks have to be laid in the space that you are measuring. Now in order to decide the spaces on the gauge the bricklayer Foreman measures the thickness of four bricks that have been laid with an average and attractive joint, and from these measurements he makes his gauge rod for this particular job; here it follows that when the gauge rod is not handy we bricklayer talk about this space as the gauge that is supposed to be kept on this building site, which is four course of bricks. As you can see there are many jargon words in this trade, and there are also many other strange devises or tools that help the bricklayers do his job, which I would like to talk about some of them, as we go on building this house brick base, or other brickwork in general.
Anyhow, I believe that this hub is becoming too long and perhaps a bit difficult to understand for DIY for the first time, as there are too many things to keep in mind all at the same time, and since there is a lot more that could be said about bricklaying, I think that it would be better to write another hub about it; which we are going to call, Building a brick base, or Bricklaying on a sloping site, where we are going to explain in more details how the work should be done and how to avoid to make mistakes.
Please note; these DIY building articles should really be read one after the other to make sense, so here is the link of our next building article. Building a brick base
See you soon.
Dear readers at this point of time I see the need to go back to the times when I started to work on the building sites, but I am not going to do that just yet, because I would like first to write a couple more pages to finish the brick base, and then we will do it, we need to do this because there are a lot of things that need to be explained and it can only be done if we take it step by step; in other words let me take you in the long journey of my life in the building trade; now, what I have in mind here is that if I tell you my life story in the building, then it would be easier to describe what happens on building sites as well and how many jobs are done at the same time, this would help to know how other things are done and many of those things are those things that one needs to know before one can start laying bricks, so that it would be easier to understand how things are done.
How to check your spirit level
The bricklayers have many tools in order to be able to do their job well, and they should know how to use them properly; the two most important tools are the trowel and the spirit level, without these two tools the bricklayers cannot work, so, let us explain how they are used and how to use them properly and above all let us check the spirit level, as I have seen some DIY or even some new tradesman that have made some mistakes just because they do not know how to check if their spirit level is right.
So in this article let us assume that just anyone can easily learn how to use the trowel, since the trowel is like a big flat spoon that picks up the mortar and lays it on the bricks or sticks the mortar to the bricks, it is also used to tap the brick to the right level and place and a good bricklayer can use it also to cut the bricks, all these action of the trowel are easy to understand and slowly one can just learn how to use it, but the spirit level is not as simple, therefore, before we are going to lay bricks for our brick base, let us see how to use the spirit level and above all how to check that your spirit level is working right.
So, let us talk about the spirit level; first of all most bricklayers use a 4 foot spirit level, most of these modern levels have three bubbles in it and they are very accurate, the two end bubbles are for plumbing (reading if the walls or posts are exactly vertical) the central bubble is for reading if the walls or whatever are level, now these levels are supposed to be set right and if they are set there is to problem when you use them, but what about if they for some reason they go out of their proper settings and when you read them they give you a false reading?
Any good tradesman that uses these levels should know how to check if they are right or not, but at the same time let us assume that some of our readers are not tradesman, so, they would like to know how to check if the level they are going to use is still okay? To check if your level is okay you should do the following:
First of all les us check the plumb bubbles; to check the plumbing bubbles, pick up your level, chose a post or wall that you think is strait and plumb, put one side of you level right against it and while lightly pushing against it check that the level touches evenly the surface you have chosen, if it does then without moving it look at the bubble level if it is right in the centre, if it is right in the centre then it is plumb, but to make sure that it is plumb you need to turn your level around 180 degrees in such a way that the face of the level that is now against the wall is away from the wall and the other side is against the wall, if here again the bubble is exactly in the centre then you know that that part of the wall you have chosen is plumb, and you also know that the bubble in your level is set right since you have compared it to the other side of itself.
Now that you have done that, turn your level upside down, so that you can check the other plumb bubble, if this bubble is also set right, the bubble should again be in the centre just like the other bubble, and when you turn you level around as before it should again be in the centre; but if it is not then this bubble is out and should not be used for plumbing.
To see how much it is out you can do the following, put your level against the wall look at the bubble, let us say that it seems that the wall is leaning away from you, because for the bubble to be in the centre you have to move the top of your level away from the wall, say 10 mm. In this case by turning your level around 180 degrees you are going to have an opposite reading, and you need to move the bottom of the level away from the wall 10 mm for the bubble to be in the centre, so if you are still going to use this level to do the job, you need to mark which bubble is right and which is not. Okay we have checked the plumb bubbles and we know what we have to do to keep our brickwork plumb, we have to use the good bubble only.
Okay, we have checked the plumb bubbles and we are now going to check the level bubble, to check the level bubble, pick up your level, chose a wall or a bench that you think is level and do the following, place the level on it and if it the bubble level is in the centre then it is level, now you need to check that this bubble is really right; so, you need to make sure that you check this bubble against itself; in order to do this mark exactly where your level is; then turn your level around 180 degrees so that the end that was on the west side is now on the east side and the end on the east side is now on the west side, if the bubble reading is again in the centre as before your level is set right and you can use it. But if it is not then you might have to buy a new level, if you don’t want to make costly mistakes.
You can also check how far out it is and sometimes you could find a way how to adjust the bubble, but if you have to do a lot of work buy a new level.
What we have written above is common knowledge to real tradesman, and any tradesman knows that spirit levels are perhaps the most important tool that they should have. Anyhow now that we have done that we can go back to work on our brick base.
Here under first of all are some links about houses and building houses in Australia and then some links about my own life and my younger life in Italy and the town that I came from.
This links section is about D.I.Y. Brickwork and building issues
This links section here is about my migrant trip to Australia and what I found in Australia
The town I came from
Information: all the links above are our personal links that we would like to share with our readers; what is written here under is just a Yola template that we are leaving in, just because it looks good.
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