Guide to Brickwork in Masonry Construction

Brick masonry is a fundamental aspect of construction that involves the careful arrangement of bricks and mortar to create sturdy and aesthetically pleasing structures. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the work procedure of brickwork in masonry construction, covering materials, techniques, and important considerations. Additionally, we will explore the types of brick masonry, ensuring you have a well-rounded understanding of this essential construction process.

Materials for Brickwork

Bricks

Bricks are the building blocks of brick masonry, and their quality is of paramount importance. When selecting bricks for your construction project, consider the following specifications:

  • Quality: Ensure that the bricks are made from good brick earth and are thoroughly burnt. They should exhibit a deep cherry red or copper color.
  • Shape: Bricks should be regular in shape with sharp edges.
  • Sound: When struck, bricks should emit a clear ringing sound, indicating their integrity.
  • Flaws: Bricks should be free from cracks, chips, flaws, and lumps.

Moreover, bricks should not absorb water more than one-sixth of their weight after one hour of soaking. Standard bricks should have a crushing strength of 105 kg/sq.cm or 1500 lbs/sq.in.

Mortar

Mortar plays a crucial role in brick masonry as it binds the bricks together. The quality of mortar is determined by the following factors:

  • Grade: Mortar should meet the specified grade, and materials used for mortar must adhere to standard specifications.
  • Cement: For cement mortar, use fresh Portland cement or pozzolana Portland cement.
  • Sand: The sand should be sharp, clean, and free from organic and foreign matter. Coarse or medium-sized sands are suitable for rich mortar, while local fine sand can be used for weaker mortar.
  • Proportion: The proportion of cement-sand for mortar can vary from 1:3 to 1:6 or as specified. Ensure that materials are measured accurately to achieve the required proportion.
  • Mixing: Mix cement and sand thoroughly on a clean masonry platform, adding clean water slowly to attain the desired consistency. Use only freshly mixed mortar for construction, avoiding old or stale mortar.

Soaking of Bricks

Before using bricks in construction, they should be fully soaked in clean water by submerging them in a tank for a period of 12 hours. Soaking should continue until air bubbles cease to appear, ensuring bricks are adequately hydrated for the best results.

Laying of Bricks

The process of laying bricks is a critical aspect of brick masonry. Follow these guidelines for successful brick placement:

  • Bond: Bricks should be laid in English bond unless specified and should be well bonded.
  • Alignment: Ensure every course is truly horizontal, and walls are plumb. Avoid placing vertical joints of consecutive courses directly over one another; instead, align vertical joints in alternate courses.
  • Quality: Use undamaged, unbroken bricks for construction. Place closers near the ends of walls but not at the other edge. For face work, select the best-shaped bricks.
  • Mortar Joints: Mortar joints should not exceed 6 mm (1/4 inch) in thickness and should be fully filled with mortar.
  • Frog Placement: Lay bricks with frogs upward, except in the top course where frogs should be placed downwards.
  • Progress: Carry out brickwork for not more than 1 meter or 3 feet in height at a time. When delaying a part of the wall, leave stepping at an angle of 45 degrees.
  • Projections: If corbelling or projections are required, they should not exceed ¼ brick projection in one course.
  • Cleanup: All joints should be raked, and the faces of the wall should be cleaned at the end of each day’s work.

Curing of Brickwork

After laying the bricks, it’s essential to ensure proper curing. The brickwork should be kept wet for a minimum of 20 days. At the end of each day’s work, flood the tops of walls with water by creating a small, weak mortar edging to contain at least 2.5 cm or 1 inch deep water.

Protection for Brickwork

During construction, protect the brickwork from the effects of sun, rain, frost, and other environmental factors. Brickwork is still green and susceptible to damage, so proper shielding is crucial.

Scaffolding for Brickwork

Provide necessary and sturdy scaffolding to facilitate the construction of brick walls. Scaffolding should have robust supports and members capable of withstanding all expected loads.

Measurement of Brickwork

Brickwork should be measured in cubic meters or cubic feet, with different types of brickwork and mortar treated as separate items. The thickness of the wall should be measured as multiples of half bricks (e.g., 10cm, 20cm, 30cm). Ensure that the rate includes the cost of complete work, including scaffolding and all tools and plants.

In conclusion, brick masonry is a vital component of the construction industry. By adhering to these guidelines and understanding the nuances of materials and techniques, you can ensure the successful execution of brickwork in masonry construction, resulting in durable and aesthetically pleasing structures.

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