Take the time to learn how to construct a wall correctly and you'll be rewarded with a long-lasting structure that won't fall over in a stiff breeze.
Don't forget that if you're planning to build a retaining or load-bearing wall then you'll need to call in a structural engineer before you start. If you want to erect a wall over two metres high (over one metre high if next to a traffic highway) you'll need to apply to your local council for planning permission.
What you'll need:
- Cement, sand and lime for your mortar – see our video on how to mix mortar to work out how much
- Bricklayer's trowel
Step 1: Getting ready
The quality of your finished wall will depend on the quality of your footings. See our video guide to laying foundations to get this bit right.
- Once your foundation is established then you'll need to buy your bricks – a quick rule of thumb is that you'll need 65 bricks for every square metre of wall.
- If your wall is over 725 millimetres (just over two feet) high then you will need to build it at double thickness for stability – so you'll need double the bricks!
Step 2: Mix your mortar
Once you've got your bricks you'll need to mix the mortar to hold them together. Don't forget that once you've got a mix together you need to use it within two hours.
Step 3: Bricklaying
Start at the ends of your wall and work in as follows:
- Place a brick at each end and stretch a string between them to give you a line to work to.
- Scoop up a load of mortar onto your trowel and spread along the footing.
- Place your brick on top, with the indented side, or "frog", facing up.
- Get the next brick, spread a load of mortar on the end and stick it next to the first one.
- Remove any excess mortar from the sides of the bricks and check them with a spirit level to make sure they're straight and true. If they're not then give them a light tap with the end of the trowel to sort them out.
Step 4: The bond
The bond refers to the pattern of the bricks. All bricks are off-set to avoid one long mortar joint, which would be a weak point. When you are building a wall two bricks thick, you need to place bricks laterally to keep it strong. There are two ways you can do this to keep the whole wall strong: the Flemish bond and the English bond.
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