How To Lay a Brick Wall

With the right equipment you can save yourself the cost and inconvenience of getting the builders in – and build a wall yourself.

Difficulty rating: Medium

These tasks may be tricky so will suit you if you’re experienced in DIY, or simply love a challenge.

Before you get started on any of our ‘how to’ guides, please take a moment to read through our DIY safety tips.

Step 1

After you’ve laid a solid foundation for your bricks, work out how many courses of bricks you want. Mark out the height of each course on a piece of wood, so that you can use it as a guide to make sure it’s straight – you can use this as your gauge rod.

Step 2

Lay a length of timber along the line where you wish to build the wall. Lay a bed of mortar on the solid foundation, then lay your first brick at one end. Add a small amount of mortar on the end of the second brick, feathering away from the edges. Lay this in line with the first brick, using the timber as a guide. Continue until you’ve laid the first layer of bricks, then use your spirit level to make sure the wall is level.

Step 3

It’s important to cut your bricks to the right size. Using a bolster chisel and a club hammer on a firm surface, lay the brick on its side and score it using another brick and a chisel. With your safety glasses on, turn the brick face down and align the chisel across the back of the brick. Strike the chisel with a club hammer, splitting the brick in half.

Step 4

Lay a small bed of mortar on top of the first course of bricks at one end, approximately three bricks along, so that it’s in a triangle shape. Use your trowel to feather through it and create an air pocket. Lay the next brick, on top of the mortar, ensuring that it’s square and level to the end using a spirit level. With your gauge rod and trowel, tap down the brick to the correct height. Lay a second brick, against the first and repeat at the opposite end.

Step 5

A level line will ensure your wall is straight and the bricks you lay remain in line with one another. To set up a level line use a line and pins. Insert the pin into the mortar at one end of the wall. Extend the line up and over the brick, along the length of the wall and down and over the end of the second brick. Carefully insert the pin into the mortar, making sure the line is reasonably taut. Using a small dollop of mortar and a brick laid on its side, tension the string at each side.

Step 6

Finish laying the second course of bricks: Lay a bed of mortar across the first layer of bricks, between the two ends. Adding a small feathered dollop of mortar to each brick, lay them next to each other, and repeat, filling any gaps with mortar from the top. Repeat these methods until your wall has reached the height you want and remember to keep using the spirit level to make sure the wall is square and level.

Step 7

Finally, using your brick jointer, fill in any gaps in the mortar, smoothing the mixture over and achieving an even finish to the wall.



Writer and expert