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Placing a nice new home on top of a bare block foundation is like getting all dressed up for the prom and then wearing a pair of construction boots. So I like to build my foundations out of a combination of brick and block, a common method here in North Carolina.
Blocks — or CMUs (concrete masonry units) — are economical, come in different sizes, and lay up quickly, so they’re used below grade. Bricks are more expensive and take longer to install, so they’re saved for above-grade work, where they’ll show.
While most GCs will never lay the foundation for an entire house, brick- and block-laying skills can come in handy on small jobs when it’s tough to enlist a masonry contractor. In this article, I’ll use a small workshop foundation that I built to illustrate some of the techniques you need to confidently lay concrete block and brick. Except for the size of the units, there’s not a lot of difference between working with brick and with block.
There are a lot of guides out there on how to lay blocks. However, you have no use for them if you haven’t mastered the basics just yet. Think of it like a house. Without a good foundation, it wouldn’t matter if your house looks amazing inside and out. It will all come crumbling down sooner or later. Think of this ebook as an opportunity to set up a great and reliable foundation when it comes to masonry and block laying skills.
This guide features illustrated instructions that can help you with your first block laying project. With this illustrated ebook, learning how to lay blocks is very easy. It helps a lot that it’s also packed with tips and notes that are designed with beginners in mind.
- Cutting masonry units
- Lay out to avoid cutting
- Choosing the right mortar
- Block dimensions guide – the footing layout
- Estimating masonry materials
- Mixing mortar
- Troweling tips
- Laying the first block course
- Building brick corner leads
- Finishing up a brick course
- Work from the corners
- Brick tricks
- Keep it clean
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