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Discussion Starter #1
Building a BBQ for a friend. Dug a U-shaped footer about 4” deep bc he didn’t want a slab. He changed his mind and so put a ‘decorative’ slab on top. I say decorative because it is less than 2” thick, though adequately reinforced.

Using Portland cement with about a 3:1 ratio. Don’t like the sand available here. Shook some up in a jar and there is minimal silt. Translates as ‘engineering’ sand. I’m just worried about how well the mortar is adhering to the brick. Seems a bit sandy. Not pointing the brick, just letting some excess dry somewhat then brushing it flat and rinsing. Gives a nice aged look and exposes the rather unusual composition of the sand.

The problem arose when I had my friend mix some mortar. He got the ratio way off, about 10:1. It didn’t look right but he just messed up with English, he’s also a customer of mine, I was afraid to question too much, so used it. Then something clicked and I removed that course of brick about 3 hours after laying it. Thing is, when taking those off, a corner brick laid about 4 days previous popped off. There was some lateral pressure on it, but nothing I considered excessive. It left the mortar on the brick below it and that mortar was VERY hard. Uniform inside, no gaps, hard as, well, hard as rock.

I am just concerned about the bonding of the mortar. That brick just wasn’t bonded as well to the mortar as the one below. And these ‘brick’ are actually pavers. Never seen brick with holes here.

Admittedly, I am not getting a clay-like result with the mortar. It’s mixed really well, but seems somewhat sandy. I went from making sure the bricks were wet to actually soaking them in water. I rub the bricks on the mortar before laying them to get mortar slurry on the bricks. But that one brick haunts me. And there are earthquakes in Japan. My area is basically earthquake free, but the Kansai area where I live had the Kobe earthquake 20 years ago. I don’t expect it to withstand that sort of quake but we do get small tremors.

So I think about using decorative fascia on the inside of the bbq, leaving a inch and a half space between it and the interior bbq surface, and filling it with concrete, but I am wondering if the concrete will bond sufficiently with the brick. Then switch to using pre-mix mortar in hopes of maximizing bonding results. Also wondering if it is even needed.

Sorry this is so long, but you have pretty much all the info. Not sure how to upload a pic, but tried as an attachment. Look for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Deja-vu, all over again?
Is this some kind of "Ground Hog Day"?
ED
No, the previous post was my first post and when I made it, I couldn’t find ant categories. The next time I logged in, there they were. So I decided to post it again and see if there were any more comments.

My so,ution right now is to:
1- Switch to Type-N cement. If I can find it.
2- Use a better grade of sand.
3- Reinforce the inside of the bbq by stacking/securing some decorative tiles about 40mm from the brick and pouring concrete made with Type-N cement between the bricks and tiles.
 
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