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Welcome to Frank Menchise website DIY Brickwork and gets the job done right!

This page 2 is the continuation of our brickwork in the home page. Here we are also going to tell you issues that we are going to publish in the pages of this website, which will be about, building houses from scratch, bricklaying on a sloping site, we are also supplying a navigation bar so that you could navigate all our sites.



   Welcome to our website. My name is Frank Menchise I am an old bricklayer and because I believe that we old people should do our duty, as we have written in our article, the duty of any man, I am going to try to pass my life knowledge to our readers, so that what we have learned during our life is not lost, and it could help our readers.


 To navigate all the pages of this site, diybrickwork click on the links above the title and picture at the top of this page. 


To navigate to all our other Yola domains and sub-domains click on this link,, and then click on our Yola links therein. 


To navigate to some of Frank Menchise blogs, click on the links here under. 


To navigate to other Frank Menchise Google sites, click on the links here under.

Here above is a typical stepped concrete foundation for a house on a sloping building site; with this types of foundations, the bricklayers that are going to lay the bricks need to be extra careful to get the job done right; it would be helpful to know how to do it before one starts to lay bricks, follow our text where you could learn how a professional bricklayer would do this job. 

Building houses from scratch

Dear readers, on this site we are going to write about building works, and how you could learn DIY brickwork and concrete work, because we will explain everything, starting from using the most basic materials that should be available everywhere, because most of them are found in the natural state, if you know where to look for them, so, these articles fist of all are aimed to do it yourself, in the normal environment of a city or town that has proper supplies, but even if you happen to live in the middle of nowhere you could find the bulk  of these building materials that are good enough to use for building low risk building, if what you are going to build is a very strong and high risk building, you cannot do it yourself and should call the experts to do it. However, as we have said you could find these materials anywhere, but there will always be a few things that you have to buy, and you have to buy from a supplier like the bricks and the Portland cement to mix the mortar or the concrete, even if you have found the sands and the gravel to mix your concrete in the small river bank or a creek and they are free and also close to where your building site is.         

 Bricklaying on a sloping site

Building a brick base

DIY brickwork, if you like

Welcome to my site, building a brick base for a house or bricklaying on a sloping site

Dear readers, in the last few pages I have been telling you about the work that I did before I became a bricklayer, and also how to mix cement or mortar to lay bricks, this description can be found at the end of our previous page, affordable houses; now that we have done that we can say that this is the continuation of our first home page of this site, DIY brickwork. Now in order to show you how bricklaying is being done on this house base, I believe that the best thing to do is to talk to you in a way that seems as if we are really building this house brick base step by step, so let us do it this way. 

First of all, whenever one starts to build something, it is necessary to have a plan, but in this case because the job is not real we don’t have a real plan, therefore we have to assume certain aspects of the job that is ahead of us, as if there is a real plan; so let us say that we are building this house base, which is in 8 meters wide and 12 meters long, it happens to be built on o sloping site; the foundations have already been laid by the concrete workers and there are several steps in it so we need to pay particular attention about the levels when we start laying bricks.

As we have already explained in our previous article about levels, we have already marked the level on the profiles and stretched a tight line above the southern brick wall; from this level line we can check the levels on the southern brick wall.  Just to make things easy let us start just with one working bricklayer, and let us assume that the bricklayer has marked the outside boundary corners and has started to lay a few bricks on the foundation, he is building a corner four bricks high at the lowest corner of the house, he has chosen to make the corner only four brick high because from his measurement he knows that there is a difference of three bricks in the foundation, therefore his fourth brick on the corner that he is building now is going to be level with the first brick on the opposite corner, having done that now he can stretch his bricklayer line between these two points and start working his stretcher bond from his  lowest corner.

Let me explain a bit more here, in bricklaying it is important that the entire building is set in stretcher bond from the start, even if there are also other types of bonds that are going to be used in the brickwork, because the stretcher bond is always the main bond, as this bond will continue throughout the building; therefore the bricklayer cannot build the other corner until he runs a full course in stretcher bond from the first corner that he has build at the start.

 How we proceed to build a brick base

Now in order to give an easier description let us say that the lowest corner of the house is the South East corner, the South West corner is three bricks higher than the South East corner and the other corners are even higher than these two corner, as I am going to explain to you later on, as we keep building this brick base. Now as I have said the bricklayer has built this corner four bricks high and laid one brick at the west corner as marked, so he is ready to lay brick, but before he does that he double check everything and with his gauge rod he checks from his line level that he has set above, or with the water level that his fourth brick in the corner is level with his first brick on the west corner, let us assume that they are level and they are the same course.

Now he can start laying brick in stretcher bond, from the South East corner working his way to the west corner, he sets his brickies line as he sees fit making sure that the levels and the alignment are right, when he reaches the fourth course, which is the first full course in this wall he tries to work out if he can start this whole wall without cutting any bricks by increasing or decreasing the perpendicular joints between the bricks, if he cannot achieve that, then one brick has got to be cut a bit shorter; smaller pieces are to be avoided as they are unsightly and they weaken to wall. While doing this job, one has to keep in mind that in a face brick wall the perpendicular joints become unsightly if they are bigger than the bed joint, therefore it is better to keep the perpendicular joints smaller than the bed joint.

Now that the first course of bricks in stretcher bond has been laid from corner to corner the bricklayer will lay bricks in the inside of this brickwork, if it is just a one brick thick wall he will lay the bricks right against the bricks he has already laid, but if it is a cavity wall then he has to set his inside wall as specified, most time this space between the walls is about 50 mm. Now that the lowest wall has been set he moves to work on the eastern wall, since this is the second lowest wall in this brick base.

First on the left, bricklayer building a typical brick corner on a concrete slab; 2 a typical house floor plan; 3 gang of bricklayers building a double brick wall; 4 partly completed house base for a long and narrow house.  

 Working on the eastern brick wall

The eastern stepped concrete foundation is a longer foundation and it has a difference in level of about 1.2 meter and this will be about 15 courses of bricks.

First of all the bricklayer stretches the external line and a level tight line above the eastern wall, from these two lines he can check all the outside alignment and the levels, then he checks and lays his first bricks on the foundation as required near the first concrete step, as he has a four brick high corner he might lay one to four brick always next to the concrete steps. I have to say here that it is very hard to explain just by writing a text exactly everything, but in building everything is plain common sense and one has to use his own imagination to see how things can be done.

Anyhow, let us assume that the bricklayer has set his bricks and now he is running his stretcher bond, from the south eastern corner to the north eastern corner of the house and the fourth course of bricks has been laid and the inside brick has been laid. At this point of time the bricklayer needs to build the south eastern corner higher in order to proceed with the works, unless another bricklayer is doing that for him. You see I am writing this article as if there is a single bricklayer on the site at the beginning, but I am doing that just because that is the only way to show you how we can start this brick base correctly.

Anyhow at this point of time the bricklayer wants to add just a couple more courses on the walls that have been already started, so that his walls in this corner are higher than the ground and the trench then can be back filled at this corner of the house, so that it would be easier for him and everybody else to work on level ground.

But before he does that now is the time to start checking what other things need to be done, he notes that there is an opening for a door after he lays another two or three courses of bricks and that he needs to reinforce his brickwork with some brick mesh reinforcement before the opening occurs, and there is also a damp-course to be laid at the opening level, this damp-course is only needed in this lower part of the base, because they are going to lay a concrete floor and build a couple of rooms under the house. The damp-course is a thin layer of material that stops the dampness passing through from one level to another; it works both ways depending on the way it is laid.

 In the specifications says that this reinforcement is needed every four courses and under and above all openings. So he lays his mesh reinforcement on the walls and builds another corner three bricks high, this is the level where the first opening occurs and it is also the level of the damp course. Here we need to note so that it is easier to understand what is happening that this south eastern corner is now seven bricks high form the foundation, at this point of time it is better that all the brickwork in the base is built to this level.

Once you have all the brickwork level, the damp-course is laid according to the specification, and the first problem is solved in this lower part of the brick base. So now the bricklayer/s can start building higher corners, as they did when the started, or if they want they can set bricklayer profiles if they are available, since now the brick walls at this lower end of the house are set at the right level and alignment.   

 Bricklaying is a gang work

On the above written explanation we have assumed as if there was only one bricklayer on the job, but in reality to build a brick base a small gang of bricklayers and labour/s are needed, say two or three bricklayers and a labour. Sometimes there are no strict rules on the job and they can help each other. Mind you this can only work with small gangs and the bricklayer foreman is there to guide the team and help whoever needs help. On large team everyone has his own job to do, and when the unions have a say, they want you to do only your own job and nothing else, so sometimes the unions are not very helpful, but then again they need to have their own rules otherwise they cannot exist.

Anyhow let us go back to building this house brick base, as there are a lot more things to be done before we set the whole brick base and then build it to the height required.

Now that the first part of the base has been started, the bricklayers have still to be careful to start the rest of the base correctly, so, they continue to lay brick and check for levels and alignments’ as they have done before, by building one wall at a time and a course at a time, until they bring all the brickwork level with the first brick on the foundation on the highest corner of the house foundation, here again everything must be checked and rechecked again, in order to make sure that everything is level and set at the right alignment and above all that there is no pig in it, perhaps to make a hundred per cent sure, it could be helpful to bring all the walls at this level and then proceed to build everything to the finish height required.

I believe that this hub has become long enough, because of the explanations that are required, so it might be better if we write another hub and talk about what could be going-on on the work site, while we are building this house brick base. See you soon.     

  Here are some links about DIY brickwork and building houses in Australia: