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What Does a Bricklayer Do?

Bricklayers use various tools and techniques to construct, repair, and finish masonry structures. They may also erect and disassemble scaffolding and operate lift machines.

Most bricklayers receive formal training through an apprenticeship program. This usually involves three to four years of on-the-job training combined with classroom study. Visit https://www.bricklayerperthwa.com.au/ to learn more.


A bricklayer uses various tools and techniques to build structures from brick. These include laying bricks, cutting blocks, and creating mortar joints. They may also work with other construction professionals, such as carpenters, painters, and plumbers. Bricklayers need good physical stamina as the job requires them to stand, stoop, and kneel for long periods, along with lifting heavy materials.

Before starting a new project, a bricklayer must prepare the site. This includes preparing a mortar mix, gathering the required materials, and laying out the first course of bricks. They should also take care to place the bricks nearby so that they are easy to reach when needed.

Laying bricks is a precise process that takes years to perfect. It starts with preparing the mortar mix, usually a combination of fine sand, masonry cement, and water. Some bricklayers add hydrated lime, a chemical that helps the mortar to set up more quickly. The bricklayer then soaks the first course of bricks in water and places them together in a row (known as a course).

Once the first row of bricks is laid, the bricklayer butters the end of the next brick. This involves spreading a thin layer of mortar over the brick. This ensures the brick sits in a firm mortar bed firmly joined to the previous brick. The bricklayer then repeats this process for the rest of the course.

When the final brick is laid, it should be cleaned of excess mortar and wiped down. Any joints that aren’t flush should be gently tapped to make them flat and even. The bricklayer must take their time with each course, as rushing can lead to errors that can be costly and difficult to fix.

Many bricklayers are self-employed, but some work for a masonry or general building contractor. These contractors typically supervise a crew of bricklayers to complete projects. They also ensure that all the necessary materials are available and have access to equipment such as ladders, scaffolding, and hoists. They also conduct safety meetings.

Using various materials, bricklayers construct and repair full and veneer brick construction, partitions, arches, and more. They mix and prepare mortar for each job, stock bricks, and erect and disassemble scaffolding as required. They also sand and scrape finished work, clean the site, and apply protective coatings to brickwork to ensure longevity.

Bricklayers can use different types of mortar joint profiles to add style and aesthetic appeal to a masonry structure. Some common mortar joints include recessed, groove, V-joint, and flush-style. Different mortar joint styles provide a variety of effects, and they can also influence the moisture resistance of a brick wall.

Recessed pointing, which is most common in older brick-and-mortar structures, features flat mortar joints that are raked back to expose the edges of the bricks. While this type of mortar joint can be more aesthetically pleasing, it may offer less water resistance than other masonry joint profiles.

In contrast, a groove-style mortar joint is slightly curved inward and looks like a finger has been lightly pressed. Bricklayers use a curved jointing tool to create this mortar joint style, which is very popular for its subtle and sophisticated look. Like a standard raked joint, a groove-style mortar joint offers excellent water resistance and is suitable for various building designs.

Another common type of mortar joint is a flush style, which features mortar directly level with the brick surface. This type of mortar joint is a good choice for projects that require a minimalistic and modern design, but it can take time to achieve a strong bond between the bricks and mortar.

To lay a course of bricks, a bricklayer spreads about 10mm of mortar on the footing, places the first brick gently in line with the string line, and taps it down with the trowel handle to bed it into the mortar. Buttering each end of the brick is also important, as it helps to keep the bricks in place once they have been pushed into place. Once the first course has been laid, the bricklayer must rake the mortar joints and remove any stray pieces of brick.

Depending on the type of brickwork, the mortar joints can be finished immediately as they are laid or later during an exercise called pointing. The former involves using a jointer tool to smooth the surfaces of the newly poured bedding mortar. It is a very labor-intensive process. This technique is used on a very small number of new wall projects.

A jointer is a tool similar to a trowel, except that it has a curved end. It is very useful for smoothing the mortar between the bricks, ensuring no gaps or ridges. The smooth surface is more resistant to water penetration, and this helps in avoiding the formation of shrinkage cracks.

In addition to the various types of mortar joints, the bricklayer may finish the mortar with multiple techniques. One such method is the rake joint. This is a traditional joint that is usually used to complement rustic or traditional brick designs. The mortar is raked out, and a line of white cement is smeared over the joints and bricks. This design emphasizes the joints and makes them look very clean.

Another style of mortar joint is the struck joint. This is similar to the rake joint in that the top edge of the mortar is recessed, but it is less compacted and does not provide as much water resistance as some of the other joints. The striking of this type of joint is very labor intensive.

The recessed top edge of the mortar in this joint provides a ledge for snow, ice, or water to stay on top of the wall rather than penetrating the bricks. There are better choices for exterior walls.

When laying the next course of bricks, it is important that the bricklayer properly butters each end of the block. This will help prevent the corner/end bricks from protruding from the wall. The block must then be firmly bedded into the mortar and tapped gently to ensure it is correctly lined against the string line. Once the block is firmly in place, the string line is lifted, and the next brick is placed in position.

Bricklayers use a wide range of hand and power tools. These include tools for laying bricks, building mortar joints, and finishing the brickwork. They also need to know how to operate machinery, such as cement and mortar mixers and power drills. They should also be able to read blueprints and determine the best construction methods for a project.

Brick and blocklayers often work in teams or on their own. They may work on residential, commercial, and industrial projects. A bricklayer can build and repair walls, chimneys, walkways, foundations, and more. He can also refurbish decorative masonry and work on restoration projects.

Most bricklayers have several hand tools in their kit, including a trowel, shovel, brush, and broom. These tools help them to remove excess mortar and debris from the surface of a brick wall before it is finished. They may also need a pointing tool for filling and shaping masonry joints.

There are also several other tools that bricklayers use in their work, including spirit levels and tape measures. These are used to mark the gauge of a brick course, an important step in ensuring the bricks fit together properly. A hawk, a large and flat board that can be used to hold mortar, is also common for bricklayers to have in their kits.

A bricklayer will also need to have a variety of hammers in his kit. These are usually specially designed for bricklaying and include a bolster hammer, a splitting hammer with broad blades, and a cold chisel, which is slim and has small, wide blades. Bricklayers need to protect their eyes with eye protection when using these hammers.

Another tool that bricklayers use is a laser level, which is a metal or wooden instrument that is used to check the alignment of a wall either horizontally or vertically. This is particularly useful when laying large quantities of bricks, as it allows the bricklayer to be sure that the rows of bricks will be parallel.