DIY: Building a brick or block wall

Before You Start

1. Measure the size of the wall you intend to build. Calculate the number of bricks or blocks you will need for the job. 

2. Check site levels to accommodate for changes in the slope of the land. 

3. For retaining walls – if there is any risk the soil or water pressure could push over the wall, additional reinforcement may be necessary. Seek advice from your hardware store or an engineer if necessary, or if you are unsure.

What You Will Need

Tools

- Shovel and rake
- Spirit level
- String line
- Tape measure
- Timber for boxing the footing
- Hammer, saw and nails
- Brickie’s trowel
- Joint raking tool

Materials 

- … Bags of Easy Mix pre-blended Concrete (for footings))
- … Bags of Easy Mix pre-blended Mortar (for the wall) 
- … full bricks/blocks 
- … Half bricks/blocks 
- … capping bricks/blocks (if required) 
- Reinforcing bar/ties (if required) *
- Water

Steps

1. Build The Footing
- Plan out the position of the wall. Retaining walls require a firm footing (consisting of a strip of concrete) to build on. The footing trench should be wider than the base of the wall by several centimetres and lower than ground level. 
- Prepare and pour the footing using Easy Mix pre-blended Concrete 

2. Prepare To Lay
- Once the footing is fully hardened (about 24 hours after initial pour), drive a stake as tall as the wall beyond each end of the wall and in line with the face of your wall. 
- Stretch a line between the two stakes level with the top front edge of the first course and repeat for each course as they are completed. 

TIP: Trial the first course rocks/locks on the footing without mortar to check and adjust the wall ‘fit’ between markers – allow 10mm for each joint. 

3. Mixing The Mortar
- Pour the required amount of mortar into a barrow or clean mixing surface. Calculate the amount of water needed (1/2 a 30 kg bag will require approx. 3 litres of water and 1/2 a 20kg bag will require approx. 2 litres of water). 
- Add water gradually and mix until a stiff even consistency is reached. 

4. Laying Blocks/Bricks 
- Spread a 25mm (1 inch) thick coating of mortar on the footing, the length of 3-4 bricks/blocks. 
- Position an end or corner block first, and tap into place. 
- Spread mortar on the next brick/block and position. Leave a 10mm joint. 
- Check as you go with a spirit level for horizontal and vertical trueness and scrape any excess mortar with the edge of the trowel. 
- After laying 3-4 courses or as mortar begins to set, use a joint raking tool to rake joints and compress the mortar. 

5. Curing 
Although the mortar will be touch dry within a few hours, it will not reach full strength for up to 28 days. The wall should be kept damp for a week (or two weeks for walls not back filled) to assist hardening.