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Old 04-15-2008, 07:27 PM   #1
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


There's not even a forum here for it. Is it THAT hard to do? It seems like you just trowel the mortar on, set the bricks, keep it level both horizontal and vertical...I don't understand why it's so "hard". Can someone please explain what all can go wrong if you aren't "experienced"?

I need to build some 9' walls, about 2200 SF of it (new house). Nova Brick seems just as expensive as hiring a mason, thin brick seems like a real pain and not much cheaper, but it seems I could save 15,000 by doing it myself in a couple of weeks. Hmmm.... I'm near Tulsa, OK where things are pretty cheap.

Oh, this will be a stick frame 2,500 SF house with foam board sheating, no plywood or OSB sheathing on walls. I've built a few houses myself and watched it done, and I just can't see how spreading the mortar is THAT complicated. Anybody else with me? Thanks for any advice.


Last edited by wesc; 04-15-2008 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:44 PM   #2
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


do you know how to mix mortar? Do you know what even goes in a mortar mix?

rebar in the blocks; yes-no why
fill the blocks; yes-no why
ladder wire in the mortar? why? how often? what size?

how many courses can you lay without stopping? why

how do you attach the first course to the footer?

how do you tie in a perpendicular wall?

what size block do you need? why?

Masonry is just like many other trades, it can be learned but generally your house (especially when you are talking about an entire house) is generally not the best place to learn.

Start with projects that, if they don't end up right, won't be a big expensive lesson.

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Old 04-15-2008, 07:51 PM   #3
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


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do you know how to mix mortar? Do you know what even goes in a mortar mix?

rebar in the blocks; yes-no why
fill the blocks; yes-no why
ladder wire in the mortar? why? how often? what size?

how many courses can you lay without stopping? why

how do you attach the first course to the footer?

how do you tie in a perpendicular wall?

what size block do you need? why?

Masonry is just like many other trades, it can be learned but generally your house (especially when you are talking about an entire house) is generally not the best place to learn.

Start with projects that, if they don't end up right, won't be a big expensive lesson.
Exactly. All great questions that are easily answered, but hard to find the answers. It's hard to find this info, but easy answers. I guess "mason's" keep it a big secret so they still have a job. Which is why I don't understand there's not a forum for it here. Would be a great help. I'm an engineer so trust me, the questions don't scare me. I have similar questions for everything from truss-building to foundation depths, but all those you can find an answer to.

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Old 04-15-2008, 09:18 PM   #4
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


wesc -

How do propose to tie the brick veneer to the structure?

What kind of flashing?

What will be your primary moisture barrier?

The secret in the value of a masonry wall is in the technique. Once the mortar sets, you have to live with it and hope you can repeat the next day. If you can count up to 3, you can mix the mortar, but it may not be usable.

What code are you using?

An engineer needs a code much more than others because he should be protected from himself if he is learning a non-numbers trade that he has no familiarity with.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:20 PM   #5
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


What is so hard about whacking a little ball with a stick? I mean damn, Tiger Woods doesn't do anything different than a weekend hacker, he just does it better.

Laying masonry is not about knowledge, although it helps. The actual physical act of putting brick into a wall, one after the other, is not something that can be learned from a book. It is a physical skill, like golf, or shot putting or anything that requires muscle memory.

Designing a masonry structure can be learned from books, somewhat, but the execution is another story.

The devil is, as they say, in the details.

Sure you can buy a trowel and lay your brick, but I would suggest you start at the back where no one will see it, and work your way around to the front. And before you start, you may want to spend some time studying the whys and where-to-fores of basic masonry design, because it it very expensive to demo and re-lay your ugly, leaky, crack-filled brick veneer.

(Nova-brick is designed as a product to use on renovation with no brick ledge, and thin brick are best used as a surface finish, not an exterior veneer)
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:28 PM   #6
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


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Laying masonry is not about knowledge, although it helps. The actual physical act of putting brick into a wall, one after the other, is not something that can be learned from a book. It is a physical skill, like golf, or shot putting or anything that requires muscle memory.

)
Shot putting? Of all the sports that would fit, you choose shot putting?

Now I am convinced there is something about brickies that really is a bit different.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:09 PM   #7
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


Anyone can sling a ball downrange, but it takes skill to chunk a sphere of iron in the right direction for distance, or to lay a couple of thousand units plumb and level without mortar smeared all over them like a kid's face eating warm chocolate.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:03 AM   #8
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


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wesc -

How do propose to tie the brick veneer to the structure?

What kind of flashing?

What will be your primary moisture barrier?

The secret in the value of a masonry wall is in the technique. Once the mortar sets, you have to live with it and hope you can repeat the next day. If you can count up to 3, you can mix the mortar, but it may not be usable.

What code are you using?

An engineer needs a code much more than others because he should be protected from himself if he is learning a non-numbers trade that he has no familiarity with.
Yes, bricks are tied to the structure wall about every 4th brick and leveled using metal brick tie's that lay between the brick.

Galvanized flashing and the vapor barrier is only the foam board. It will be the vapor barrier and drainage plane. It's the questions in the first reply to the post that I couldn't tell you answers to about half of them.

I'm not asking about how to BUILD the house, I've got that part. It's just the brick-laying part. Hard to find answers to, but so far I haven't seen that there's anything that hard about it. Just need to buy a book I guess.

If I have enough Money I'll definitley hire it out. Bit if it's the difference between house or no house, I might have to do it. I only have about a $110k budget to build with, so I'm obviously doing most of the work. 2,500 SF House.

Also, there are no building codes out here. I would just try to build to the national code, or better. This will be a very nice house.

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Old 04-16-2008, 07:04 AM   #9
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


wesc -

Forget about doing the masonry yourself considering your exposure to and experience with masonry. You do not have enough practical masonry experience based on what answers you give to the simple questions posed.

Since the masonry is a major (85%) of the visual effect, a person with no experience in the techniques should not take such a risk with a permanent building material. - You cannot lay brick with a book in one hand.

With the wall construction you propose, be especially careful with the window installation.This will be a main concern, especially when over 60% are currently installed improperly, even by "skilled" tradesmen.

p.s. - Wall ties have nothing to do with leveling the brick. - Galvanized flashing?
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:21 AM   #10
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


to drive by your house & see what you've done w/any project let alone a specific masonary job,,, in just about any of life's endeavors, there're 3 common denominators - talent - attitude - hard work,,, someone once mention'd to gary player they'd love to be able to hit a ball as did he,,, player replied - you can but you're not willing to work at it - hit 1,000 balls til your hands bleed & then hit another 1,000 the next day.

apron stores sell books & your library lends 'em,,, enjoy yourself ! ! !,,, don't forget to post the pics when you're done - cannot wait i'm an expert on conc/masonary repairs but i couldn't feed my family if i had to be a brickie w/o investing years learning.


the others have been too kind in their posts im-n-s-h-fo

ps - you didn't mention your trade/job,,, probably fairly easy to learn that 1, too, no? ? ?
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:31 AM   #11
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


post during out job safety mtg,,, they all got a good laugh out of it, too,,, my lead said 'c'mon over anytime!!!'
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:09 PM   #12
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


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to drive by your house & see what you've done w/any project let alone a specific masonary job,,, in just about any of life's endeavors, there're 3 common denominators - talent - attitude - hard work,,, someone once mention'd to gary player they'd love to be able to hit a ball as did he,,, player replied - you can but you're not willing to work at it - hit 1,000 balls til your hands bleed & then hit another 1,000 the next day.

apron stores sell books & your library lends 'em,,, enjoy yourself ! ! !,,, don't forget to post the pics when you're done - cannot wait i'm an expert on conc/masonary repairs but i couldn't feed my family if i had to be a brickie w/o investing years learning.


the others have been too kind in their posts im-n-s-h-fo

ps - you didn't mention your trade/job,,, probably fairly easy to learn that 1, too, no? ? ?
Oh, I'm pretty sure I mentioned I'm an engineer I tell you how to do things and you don't question it, just like a doctor and you're the nurse. I've built 3 houses from the ground up with my bare hands except for the brick, how many have you built all by yourself? I'm jJust not familiar with masonry yet, so I asked the nurses. and like always, you're very quick to show that you're so smart, and don't want to help in any way. Glad to see all you "hard workers" still think you're the smartest people in the world. Thanks for all the "help". Boy you guys are so smart to spread mortar, god dang genuises.

I deal with your type every day, but when you can't figure something out guess who you run to? Me! And I figure out the solution in 5 minutes. Happens every time. Then you ignore it and keep thinking you're the brains of the earth.

Last edited by wesc; 04-16-2008 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:26 PM   #13
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wesc -

Forget about doing the masonry yourself considering your exposure to and experience with masonry. You do not have enough practical masonry experience based on what answers you give to the simple questions posed.

Since the masonry is a major (85%) of the visual effect, a person with no experience in the techniques should not take such a risk with a permanent building material. - You cannot lay brick with a book in one hand.

With the wall construction you propose, be especially careful with the window installation.This will be a main concern, especially when over 60% are currently installed improperly, even by "skilled" tradesmen.

p.s. - Wall ties have nothing to do with leveling the brick. - Galvanized flashing?
You know, while I think you probably know a lot about laying brick, all you do is ask questions and see if I know the answers, instead of just helping out. Why is that? Why not make a drawing or something and help people out instead of asking questions, and then saying something like this when I show you I already know about that. I know about weep holes, flashing, etc. It just some simple tips that could be useful. If i had to pick between laying brick and doing the sheetrock, I'll lay the brick and pay someone to do the sheetrock. If the bricklayer is cheap enough, he'll get the job. If no, I'll just use nova-brik, and you mason's can go out of business. I am already getting a bad taste in my mouth for the trade and don't want to hire one of you.

For all the help this board has been, I'll do you a favor and not help you out either when you need help with something I know about.

P.S. Are you a retard? Wall ties are for connecting the brick to the wall and you adjust it do that it's level when you set them. I can already see I know more than the average mason. Guess I shouldn't be asking for tips anyway.

P.P.S. Do you not know what flashing is? Or do you not understand galvanized? What would you use? ashpalt paper? lol. Or maybe some cotton cloth or spray paint, that would work great.

Last edited by wesc; 04-16-2008 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:36 PM   #14
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What's so hard about Bricking and Masonry?


I think the phrasing of your original question was a little arrogant. First, you say how easy a trade is and then you ask for help and advice doing it. I think if you would have been a little more sincere in your requests, you would have found that there are a lot of skilled people that could have given you good advice. Good luck with all of your projects.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:41 PM   #15
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I think the phrasing of your original question was a little arrogant. First, you say how easy a trade is and then you ask for help and advice doing it. I think if you would have been a little more sincere in your requests, you would have found that there are a lot of skilled people that could have given you good advice. Good luck with all of your projects.
Thank bud. I usually come off the wrong way on the internet. I was just frustrated after searching for hours and hours and finding very little info in the art of masonry, and then noticed there's not even a board here for it. Just curious as to why there is info on everything except basic masonry. Unfortunately at this point I don't care much anymore. I can lay the brick if I have to, and it will turn out fine. This board just lost my help, which is specializing in Electrical Engineering, foundation, and steel frame design and testing.


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