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How to build a wall
Whether you're making a decorative wall for your garden or building something a little more elaborate, building a wall is a task that may seem easy, but it isn't. The basics, i.e. placing the mortar, positioning the bricks and repeating it, are simple. However, a level and professional looking wall requires serious planning and practice.
Note: The following instructions are for building a 60 cm high and 1.8 m long wall with a thick brick. However, they can be easily customized.
Part 1 of 4: preparing the wall
Choose your stones. There are many types of bricks, but all of them fall into one of three categories for weather resistance:
- Highly resistant ones can withstand direct contact with soil and moisture. Use them on patios, walls and so on.
- Those with moderate resistance can withstand freezing temperatures and must be above the floor (and not in direct contact with it).
- Resistance arms should be used indoors.
Buy the right amount of stones. They are available in different shapes and sizes. But the most important thing is that you need to adjust the dimensions of the bricks according to the mortar. Most walls use 1 cm of mortar, and the most common modular brick is 9 cm wide, 6 cm high, and 19 cm long. Therefore, the actual size of the brick after applying the mortar is 10 x 7 x 20 cm.
- You need to add the grout measurements when planning the wall. The measure of the combination of brick and mortar is called the "nominal size" of the brick.
- Three rows of stacked stones are 21 cm high.
- For this example, a 60 cm high and 1.8 m long wall, you need 216 stones or nine rows of 18 stones. However, buy at least 10 to 20 extras in case something breaks.
Dig a trench for your foundation. You need to dig a trench to put the wall, which will be stiffened with a layer of concrete. Dig a rectangular trench the length and width of the planned wall and about 30 cm deep.
- These estimates are for a three-inch wall. For the highest, you need to know the bearing capacity of the floor in kilograms per square meter (kgf / m²) and adjust the dimensions accordingly. A deeper or larger gap may need to be closed.
Place level wooden stakes in your trench. Take several wooden stakes and drive them into the ground so their tops are lined up. Find the nominal height of the bricks (the height of the brick plus 1 cm for the mortar) and place the stakes so that they are all at this height below from the top of the void. Use a level to make sure the tops of the stakes are perfectly level.
- In this example, for 7cm stones, you should leave 7cm of space between the top of the stakes and the edge of the trench. Thus, the first row of bricks is completely laid on the foundation.
- Depending on the length of the wall, place the stakes around 60 cm to 120 cm.
Mix and pour the concrete on the piles. Fill the trench to the edge of the piles, leaving the measured space for the bricks. The concrete takes two to three days to dry and set. Use this time to collect the material and prepare your measurements.
- Use a trowel to make the top of the concrete smooth and level before it begins to dry.
Make the templates. Use them to keep the wall aligned. Take two boards or long wooden sticks and measure each row, also called a "row", of the wall. Mark the boards where each stone should be, including the mortar lines, and stick them into the ground so they can stand on their own. They should be the same height as the finished wall.
- Make a mark 6 cm from the floor for the 60 x 180 cm wall. That is the height of the first brick. Make another mark 1 cm above it and continue this pattern until the top of the wall is 60 cm high. You will need two such boards, one for each side of the wall.
- These boards or bars are the rulers of your wall and must be aligned in identical ways. Use a spirit level and your tape measure to make sure the wall is perfectly planned.
Gather materials while the foundation dries. It will take you a lot to build the wall when you think of everything, and once the foundation is in place and the templates are ready, it's time to get the building materials in order. You will need:
- String and nails (to create guidelines).
- Mortar and a bucket for mixing.
- Tape measure.
Part 2 of 4: Building the first row
Put tarpaulins or boards on the floor so that the mortar does not build up dirt. Keep the surface clean and avoid walking on it to reuse the grout.
Put the first row of bricks on the foundation to conduct a dry test. Separate the stones by the appropriate distance, taking into account the mortar. Use the tape measure to make sure they are the correct spacing and check that they fit snugly in the trench. So plan the entire first row before you start working.
Add a string to the first template. It will serve for the second layer of bricks, since the first will be buried in the trench. Pass the string from one template to the next for a straight line to work with.
- Don't let the line break. Otherwise your wall will not be level and will have structural problems.
Wet the stones and let them dry. Wet them with water and let them drain. The bricks need to be very wet for the mortar to properly adhere to them. However, wait for the water to drain so that the mortar doesn't get too watery.
Run the first inch of mortar along the base of the foundation. When in doubt, add a little more mortar as you will be pushing the brick down a little. With the trowel, gently press down on the mortar along the center line, leaving a few notches. The mortar looks like waves.
Press the first stone into the mortar. Press it down a little and use its height to check that the stone is level with the ground. To do this, press the spirit level against the side of the brick and check this using the string.
- Scrape off the excess mortar to use for the next few stones.
Place the mortar for the next two to three stones. After you've placed the first stone, apply the mortar for the next. Work with only two or three stones at a time.
Pass the mortar through the end of the next brick and fix it. Cover the end of the brick that will be placed against the first. Make an even layer, a little more than 1 cm. Press the new brick against the first and use the tape measure to make sure that it is 1 cm apart and that it is connected by the mortar.
Lightly press the brick against the 1 cm of mortar you placed so that it is aligned against the first brick. Use the level to make sure the stones are at the correct height and press down lightly to make them perfect.
Scrape off the excess mortar as you work. Once you've joined the bricks, you'll find that the grout will come out if you try to make 1cm joints. Use the trowel to scrape the mortar into the trench where it can be used for the next brick.
Keep placing the stones until the row is complete. Place the bricks this way: run mortar on the bottom and side, press and check with the level until the first row is complete.
- It never hurts to see if the wall is level. Use the tape measure and level on almost any stone.
Part 3 of 4: Create additional lines
Move the policy to the next marker. This should be the 1 cm mark on the grout connecting the first and second rows. For the second row it should already be there, but you need to remember to move the piece every time you move up a row so you know the height you need to get.
With a firm blow on the pointy side of a hammer, cut a brick in half. You can also use a chisel, which will give a cleaner cut. Even so, the bricks had to break cleanly. Hit the end you want to cut with the back of the hammer until you see a crack, then hit that point hard once to cut the brick in half.
- You have to alternate the stones, that is, one stone from the second row should be on top of two stones from the bottom row. To do this, start one row yes, another no with half a brick.
- You don't need a perfectly clean and smooth cut as the rough edges hold the grout.
Start the second row with half a stone on each end. The next row shouldn't be directly above the first so that the joints line up. Cover with mortar and lay the half of the brick. Then put a whole brick next to that half like you normally would. Do this on either side of the wall so that there are half a brick and a brick each.
Cover with mortar and place a whole brick over the edges. To make alignment easier, you should design the ends of the row above the line you are working on so that it looks like there are stairs at the ends of the wall. You then fill in the bottom row, making the sides a little higher, and continuing until you reach the top.
- Remember to use the guideline and level together to make sure the stones are aligned and at the correct height.
- Your templates are meant to help you place the ends of the bricks as they will match the markings on the end of the wall.
Fill in the entire bottom row. Put about an inch of grout in it, press the brick into place, check that it just lines up with the guide line and level, and then wipe off the excess grout. Repeat this process until the second row is finished.
Build the edge wall further inwards. You should leave the ends of the wall a row higher than the one you are working on, especially if the wall has pillars on either end. In each row the process is the same, but remember to use half a row of bricks, yes row not, to make sure the joints aren't perfectly aligned.
- Move the policy.
- Apply the mortar.
- Place a brick on each end of the wall, following the guidelines and level to make sure they are at the correct height.
- Do the same as above.
- Measure, apply the grout and build the bottom row.
- Repeat the process one line above.
Part 4 of 4: Completion of the wall
Try to create unique patterns for placing bricks on the wall. Depending on what you're building, you can finish the wall by rotating or tilting the bricks differently at some point. Popular options are:
- Stand the stones upright like soldiers in a "stand" position.
- Place the stones with the short side facing out. Your top row is rotated 90 degrees from the bottom.
Fill the spaces without any mortar along the wall. Use the trowel to fill in the gaps or spaces in the grout and make sure the wall is evenly filled with grout. Wait about 45 to 60 minutes before proceeding: the grout should be somewhat, but not completely, hardened.
Use a trowel for a professional finish. Spoons are inexpensive tools that you can use to make professional, curved grout on the wall. Press the tool firmly into the grout and run it through the grout to refine the wall.
Consider adding other grout patterns to your wall. A thick wall is easy to make, but not too strong. The most common is a double wall, which can be easily adjusted to suit your needs. Instead of switching half stones with whole stones, all you have to do is twist each stone by the ends, since one stone is the length of two stones. Each alternate row starts with a brick perpendicular to the direction of the wall so you can keep the joints coordinated.
- Think about how you want the wall to look when you look at it so that you can better remember where to place the bricks. Each alternating row has a small "square" stone followed by the long stones that run parallel to the wall.
Add pillars to your project. They aren't very difficult to absorb, but they do take a little planning. Basically they are like a square "mini-wall" that is laid out in such a way that half of the middle bricks "point" at the wall and connect everything together. After choosing the column style, you need to use at least one or two more rows than the middle rows. You'll need to build the pillars a little higher and then fill the wall between them to get to the top only after you've completed the two pillars.
- After five or six rows of metal ties, nail the wall joists and bend them so that they rest on the brick. They secure the wall to the building so the bricks don't fall off.
- Some stones are drier than others. So check the joints after five rows. When they get dry, beat them with a trowel. It's a good idea to wet the bricks well to ensure minimal water absorption in the mortar so that the dough can dry properly over time.
- If you're building a wall against an existing one, you'll still need a template to adjust the height. However, you can also use the existing wall as a support.
- Always wear safety glasses and gloves when cutting bricks and mixing mortar.
- Wear a sturdy helmet, especially when someone is working overhead.
- Concrete mixer;
- Mortar mix;
- Tape measure;
- Ties to the wall;
- Safety equipment;
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