• Three little piggies (part 2)

    Ok, three areas to learn about.

    Bricks…. Well, bricks are bricks aren't

    No, it seems that they aren't. They come in different colours,, sizes and for different uses.

    Then there are the recycled bricks. I've been told that I can't just pick a brick up and use it again, no...of course not, I know enough to clean the old mortar off!

    But it seems that there is more to it than that! I need to hit the brick and listen to the sound t makes. (Hit it with something hard like my hammer or something). If it makes a nice ring then it's ok to use. If it's more like a dull thud, then toss it in the foundation bin (or can I? Hmmmmm)

    But for the purpose of this exercise, we'll pretend that there is only one type of brick, the brick that I am going to use, and it's a recycled brick. To avoid confusion I'll refer to it as BRICK, as if it is the only type of brick available in the entire world.

    The next most important thing when building a wall, or chimney, or house even. Is mortar, a mix of sand and cement that holds everything together.

    While I've been researching on mortar and cement mixes I've found a few interesting things out, and, I've seen some pretty amazing guys casting things in concrete. But the main thing is that I've learned the importance of doing this bit right.

    I understand that sand and aggregate (stones) are mixed with cement to make it cheaper, cement on its own works fine…. I have a step that I build in the barn that is a combination of bricks and pure cement...

    The thing is that this step cost me a bag and a half of cement to make (which equates to 7.50 euro).

    Ok, not a bank breaker but, if I had used a sand and cement mix, I would probably have gotten away with less than half a bag of cement, maybe even as little as a quarter of a bag. In my defence I didn't have any sand at the time and I really needed to get the step built.

    The other thing about mortar is that there are different ratios of sand to cement for different jobs.

    For me and my chimney building exercise it's 1 part cement to 5 parts sand.

    Oh, and that's the other thing…. It seems that you should measure by volume, so for every bucket of cement I will use five buckets of sand and water…. Just to make it more fun water is added as a percentage of the entire mix. (I think it's 5% - but will need to go back and look) The important rule is that a brick should be able to be pushed down into the mortar when building a wall and, if you are having to knock it in with force then the mortar is too thick

    The rules…. This is the bit that you need to know to do the job. If you have the bricks and the perfect mortar, if you don't know the rules then you are knackered.

    Rule 1: Good foundations. You need foundations if you aare building onto/into the ground. Foundations are what I are going to hold the thing up.

    Rule 2. Make the first row of bricks count. These are the bedrock of your brick built creations. Make sure they are level, make sure that they run in a perfect line, make sure that they look pretty.
    Rule 3. Aim for 10mm (1 cm – a little under half an inch) of mortar between each brick.

    Rule 4 Start at the corners, build them up then work in.

    Ok, so that's me sorted, I'm pretty sure that I know what to do….wish me luck.  
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    1 comment:

    1. I wish you good luck, Mike! And take pictures.


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