How to Make Brick Walls Using Less Bricks | by Regia Marinho
How to Make Brick Walls Using Less Bricks | by Regia Marinho | Medium4 min read
Jun 14, 2020
Is there an engineer available that makes a long wall?
Wavy brick walls use fewer bricks than straight walls.
A straight line isn’t always the best.
“Is that it?”
“No. That’s a wall.”
“It could be disguised.”
“You’re not very good at looking for things, are you?”
“I’m good at looking for walls. Look, I found another one.”
― Derek Landy, Kingdom of the Wicked
Written by Regia Marinho
I write about ideas, technology, the future and inspire the world through art. Artist. Civil engineer. https://regiaart.com
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How To Build A Curved Brick Wall? Step By Step Procedure
What is Curve Section Brick wall?
The straight masonry brick wall can be easily constructed with the help of the threads and plumb bob (for verticality check) or simply with help of spirit levels.
But the curve section of the brick wall cannot be simply made as a straight section wall by the simple alignment of bricks. Sprit levels, gauges,s, and templates are used for curve brick wall construction.
And the mortar joints for straight masonry brick walls ranges can be of 10mm to 20 mm of uniform thickness between the two joints of bricks. But for curved bricks joints can range from 6mm to 15 mm between the same two bricks due to the radial arrangement needed to gain curvature.
The radius of curvature or say degree of curvature affects the use of brick size needed to be useful and also types of bonding structure.
For larger curve section (having greater radius) the full bricks can be aligned simply along with some radial arrangement of joint gaps and bricks i.e. more joint gap at outer face and tapering toward the end.
But for a higher degree of curvature (having less radius) walls bricks must be cut into smaller units with the radially reduced structure giving trapezoidal structure. However, it can also be done by adopting the brick bonding pattern, like using header bonds.
Generally, stretcher bonds are preferred to be used for larger radii of 3.5m to 4m and header bond for 2.5m to 3m.
According to IS – SP 20 (S & T):1991, the ordinary brickwork can be adopted for the curve section having a radius of curvature greater than 6m with simple alteration on the joint gap.
But for a curve having less than 6m of the radius of curvature, the bricks are needed to be specially designed or cut into required shapes, and then the arrangement of bricks is done to obtain a smooth curve. But for the rough works like pit holes and septic tanks, the bricks are simply struck by the sharp object instead of cutting into definite shapes.
Moreover, the joints greater than 15mm also can be constructed but for this, some modification in mortar is required by adding the coarser aggregates.
How to build a curved brick wall? – Procedure
The curve is first set out with help of the compass or ruler with the marking edges, by calculating the required radius needed for the required curvature of the wall.
The external curve of required curvature is first set out and then internal is set out by finding internal radius by deducing width of wall on the external radius.
i.e Internal radius ( r ) = External radius ( R ) – Thickness of wall (W)
or, vice versa process can be attained.
The bricks are arranged along with joint space in the boundary of the drawn curve to check whether the bricks are needed to cut for small pieces of required shapes or not for smooth curvature.
This is based on the principle that; the circle is a polygon with infinite numbers of sides or line segments. The polygon with more than 16 sides almost looks like a circle from far.
Then after that required shapes of bricks are cut if necessary. While arranging bricks radially along with curvature the inner side between the brick might have less space for mortar joint formation.
So, the bricks are cut radially as much as possible or simply the corner of bricks at inner face are knocked out to form space for mortar.
The space for mortar can be also geometrically designed, but the process is very precise and only use for precise work and theoretical calculation and are not suitable for the practical approach of manual construction.
After removing initially laid brick without mortar and required processing of brick, the mortar is initially laid to the drawn curve.
Then the bricks are laid over the mortar layer arranging in the required curvature as before along with the mortar joints. The level of bricks is checked along with spirit level and curvature using the templates.
The upraised bricks are struck with the back end of the trowel so that the mortar displaces and the required level is achieved.
After confirming the uniform level of the first laid bricklayer the mortar is overlaid over the layer.
The mortar should be serrated or formed a rough structure with the help of a trowel before laying the bricks.
Then the bricks are laid over it. The brick can be of similar size and shape as in of first layer (for uniform thickness and vertical curved walls), so the need for estimating the size and shapes is done before this time.
During the laying, the brick in the next layers great care should be taken, so that no joints of the above layer coincide with joints on its adjacent layers.
This will help to prevent failure through the joint of the masonry wall during the application of loads over it. Also, each layer is check for level. Verticality and curvature with help of spirit level and templates.
The consecutive layers are similarly placed one above another along with checking of levels and curvature of brick alignment.
The wall must be constructed up to 100cm – 150cm at a time and remaining work must be carried out only after drying of mortar.
I hope this article on “how to build a curved brick wall step by step?” remains helpful for you.
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stucco imitation and other methods
Brick imitation is a fashionable design technique. This texture looks very picturesque, perfectly zones the room, and if painted in light colors, it visually expands the room. Real masonry significantly reduces the size of the room, so a do-it-yourself brick wall made of plaster, foam plastic, and tiles is more popular.
- Benefits of a brick wall
- Wall preparation before work
- Making a brick wall from plaster
- Imitation of brick on the wall with foam plastic
- DIY brick wall from tiles
- Imitation of masonry with wallpaper
- Necessary tools and fixtures
- Useful tips
Benefits of a brick wall
Decorative brickwork used in modern Styles
An ordinary flat surface gives the impression of solidity. The masonry is formed by a successive alternation of elements of a clear rectangular shape. The length of the brick noticeably exceeds the height, such a horizontal structure expands the room. However, the effect cannot be abused: 3 brick walls no longer affect visual perception.
Imitation of brickwork has many advantages:
- Ordered alternation of details creates an expressive beautiful texture. Such an element of the interior always attracts attention.
- A brick wall allows you to zone a room or a studio apartment.
- Imitation can be used in the interior to visually change the configuration of the room. A solid wall expands the room, a narrow fragment or several – raise the ceiling. The finishing of the corners makes them stand out, emphasizing the configuration.
- Tiles, styrofoam, wallpaper allow you to reproduce any type and color of masonry. In a Provence-style apartment, imitation in bright colors is used. Red brick is interesting in English style, country, techno and loft. Deliberately old or dark stone is a great solution for a loft or industrial style home.
- Any imitation takes up much less space than real brickwork.
- Finishing stucco or wallpapering takes much less time than brick cladding and costs less.
- The trim can always be removed or replaced.
- Most materials are poor conductors of heat, so the imitation feels warm to the touch. A real brick partition is very cold, in winter it will take more energy to heat the room.
The decorative element is not suitable for classical styles.
Preparing the wall before work
Preparing the wall for brick plaster
Finishing for brick is a decorative solution. In order for the masonry imitation to be beautiful, it is necessary to prepare the surface. Operation depends to some extent on the chosen decoding method:
- Remove old finishes: plaster, wallpaper, tiles.
- The brick surface must be as level as possible. The wall is primed and plastered, carefully leveled, closing cracks and rustications. Spatula is not needed.
- If the imitation involves the fastening of tiles, plastic, sawn bricks, it is re-primed: thus increasing the ability to set.
- If the walls are to be wallpapered, no primer is needed, but putty may be required.
It is impossible to start this kind of repair in a new house: the walls of a newly built building are shrinking. You must wait at least 1 year.
The smoothest surface is obtained by finishing the wall with drywall sheets. The cost of work changes slightly.
Making a brick wall from plaster
Imitation of brick plaster
Do-it-yourself brick wall from plaster – a rather laborious option, but very practical. On the one hand, such an imitation looks more realistic than a wallpaper pattern. On the other hand, unlike clinker or tiles, stucco “masonry” does not burden the walls, it is quite vapor-permeable and retains heat well.
Finishing production consists of 3 stages: marking, masonry formation and adjustment. The most difficult stage is the markup. In stores, you can find a ready-made form grid, which is applied to the surface. The step-by-step instruction contains a detailed description of the finish. If it was not possible to buy one, the markup is performed by improvised means.
- Cut out a brick template from cardboard. On average, its length is 25 cm, and its height is 7 cm. 1.5 cm are taken to the seams. The template is cut out with seams. Designate the center of the brick on the drawing, taking into account the seams.
- Begin mounting from the lower left corner. At least 5 cm recede from the floor and ceiling. The template is applied to the wall, contours are drawn and the center is marked. First, the wall is drawn like a grid, and then the “brick” is divided in half through the row, in the center. So it turns out the standard brick “masonry”.
- Tape the marked lines with 15 mm masking tape. Be sure to leave free ends to make it easier to remove the tape later.
- Make a plaster mortar. Most often, a mixture of gypsum plaster and tile adhesive is used. If the wall is made in the bathroom, a special plaster mixture is used. The solution is kneaded manually or with a construction drill or mixer.
- Plaster hardens slowly, so prepare it in batches.
- The mixture is applied to the wall with a trowel, carefully leveled with a wide trowel in an upward direction.
- Once the mixture has set, but not completely set, remove the tape. It turns out “laying”.
- After hardening, the “bricks” are processed with fine-grained sandpaper, sharp edges are rounded off. To achieve a good imitation, small chips and scratches are made.
The original color of the plaster is not very attractive. Usually “brickwork” is primed and then painted. You can paint the entire wall, you can – only “bricks” or paint in 2 different colors “bricks” and “seams”.
Paint is selected according to the purpose of the room. It is better to take water-based, so that in the future the decor can be washed.
Styrofoam Brick Wall
Styrofoam Decorative Brick Wall
Ordinary Styrofoam can be used to create different shapes of bricks on the wall without using building stone. The material is very light, retains heat, finishing costs are minimal. Styrofoam can be cut, painted, bent. This finish is not entirely durable, it can be scratched or wrinkled.
Recommended for fine-grained, high-density foam. Such material does not crumble during cutting.
- Marking is done in 2 ways. The first is similar to the one described above: a template is made from cardboard or foam, and then the required number of elements are cut out of the material. Fixing each part will take a lot of time, but such an imitation looks more believable. You can do it easier: draw a sheet of foam and burn the seams in it with a soldering iron. Plastic is easily deformed when heated, so that the seams are neat with rounded corners.
- Bricks are laid from the corner, window and door openings are sealed last. Each element or a whole sheet is glued to liquid nails. The sheet can be mounted on self-tapping screws.
- To give the “masonry” a closer resemblance to the real one, the foam is treated with a thin layer of plaster. This results in an uneven texture. Can be painted or varnished.
When working with a soldering iron, a protective mask must be used. When melted, the foam evaporates harmful substances.
Do-it-yourself brick wall from tiles
Clinker blanks for decorating the wall
Ready-made options can be found in the building hypermarket. It is very easy to create a brick wall with your own hands using tiles. They produce ceramic and elastic based on polyacrylic. The second option is simpler and lighter, since polymer tiles weigh less and cost less.
The main advantage of flexible clinker is the ability to stick on uneven, complex surfaces. Such a “brick” goes around even sharp corners. The material is intended for interior decoration, however, it is resistant to cold, is not afraid of the sun and tolerates fairly high humidity.
- Preparing a wall for flexible tiling starts with marking. Use a regular pencil and ruler to trace the surface. It is not necessary to make a template here.
- Cut sheets of material to size.
- Tile or special adhesive is applied to the wall with a notched trowel. The layer thickness is at least 3 mm. It is not necessary to immediately apply glue to the entire surface: it sets quickly.
- The tiles are applied to the wall, pressed and smoothed.
- After installation of the “masonry”, the seams are leveled with a thin brush dipped in water. Grout for finishing the seams is not needed here.
Hard tiles can be used instead of elastic tiles – gypsum, cement. They are cheaper, well imitate the texture of the stone. However, the gypsum finish is afraid of water, so it cannot be used in the bathroom and in the kitchen.
Hard tiles or artificial bricks are harder to work with. Cutting material can only be done with special tools: a circular saw or a grinder with a disc. The seams between the elements must be overwritten to give the masonry a neat look and prevent water from entering the joints.
Masonry imitation wallpaper
The simplest option is wallpapering imitating brickwork. This finish attracts with its diversity: different shapes and sizes of bricks, any color scheme, addition in the form of green plants, drawings, inscriptions.
Wallpapering is easy. The canvases are smeared with glue, layers of glue are applied to the wall, if we are talking about thick vinyl wallpaper, and the fragment is glued to the wall. The fabric is gently smoothed and pressed to expel air bubbles.
The material is selected according to its decorative effect and taking into account the characteristics of the room. For the living room, you can take simple paper and expensive silk wallpapers. The kitchen needs waterproof – vinyl. To make the “brickwork” look more voluminous, thick embossed wallpapers are chosen.
Tools and Equipment Required
- Pencil and ruler required for marking, scissors required for cutting material;
- to knead the plaster mixture, it is better to use a construction mixer;
- for finishing with plaster, you will need masking tape, 15 mm wide, you can use a wider one;
- need spatulas – for applying plaster or glue;
- you will also need paint or varnish to make the brick wall aesthetic.
Hard tiles or clinker require special tools.
Brick finish looks best in the kitchen
When choosing a decor, you should take into account the style, purpose of the room and the interior:
- In the living room, a brick wall or a fragment of it is most common. The texture of the masonry is able to revive the most ordinary room. The finish goes well with modern and classic furniture. However, this option should not be combined with wallpaper, especially with a floral pattern. It is best to plaster and paint the rest of the walls in one color.
- In the bedroom, masonry imitation is often used for zoning. “Masonry” is successfully combined with overall wardrobes;
- In the bathroom, masonry visually expands the space. It is better to combine it with a stone surface. Ceramic trim nearby, unless it reproduces stone, is excluded. The color is chosen based on the style. Usually, light colors are preferred in the bathroom in order to visually make the room more spacious and lighter, however, with a large area, a fragment of dark chocolate-colored masonry will bring an exotic touch to the interior.
- In the kitchen, a brick wall creates a cozy atmosphere, pairing flawlessly with kitchen utensils and state-of-the-art equipment. An imitation of a stove or hearth is often combined with masonry to emphasize the purpose of the kitchen. However, this finish is not suitable for a modern or high-tech colored kitchen set. It requires simple shapes and sufficient “modest” color.
- In the hallway, “bricks” most often close up the corners. Finishing visually highlights them against a uniform background of other walls and creates the impression of more space. Here, the masonry should act as a vertical element, so it very rarely occupies the entire wall.
Do not brick up a long corridor: it gives the impression of a prison casemate.
A brick wall as an interior element is especially popular in a studio apartment. Thus, it is easy to separate the living area from the bedroom, the dining room from the kitchen or nursery, however, such a finish performs its function if it is not obstructed by furniture.
How do I level a brick wall myself?
Often, during major repairs or when moving into a new house, residents encounter trouble in the form of uneven walls. Modern finishing materials for the most part imply flat surfaces for processing. It will be about how to level a brick wall with your own efforts.
Scheme of brick walls.
There can be many reasons why the walls are uneven, for example, poor-quality cement mortar or a violation of the brickwork technology, but in this case it is no longer particularly important. The main question is how to eliminate the unevenness of the walls for subsequent finishing?
What do you need for work?
Before you start leveling brick walls, you need to stock up on the necessary set of tools and building materials:
Tools for leveling brick walls.
- A plumb bob is needed to determine the verticality of the walls.
- A trowel is needed in order to apply and distribute the mixture on the wall with its help.
- Beacons are needed to determine the irregularities, then it is on them that the wall needs to be leveled.
- Reinforcing mesh is needed so that the mortar does not fall off under its own weight.
- Self-tapping screws will be needed to attach the reinforcing mesh to the wall.
- Building materials to be used for leveling.
- Vertical guides are needed to ensure that the plaster and primer lay flat.
- A metal frame may be needed if you decide to level with drywall.
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There are several options for leveling brick walls, in each case you need to rely on specific data. According to the alignment technology, the methods are divided into 2 types:
- dry – when plasterboard construction is used;
- raw – when building mixtures are used.
To determine the method, it is necessary to measure the irregularities using a building level (you can also use a laser level). If the fluctuations in the difference in the wall are up to 5 mm, then this is insignificant and you can only get by with putty. If the irregularities are within 3-5 cm, then building mixtures will come to the rescue, but if more than 5 cm, then it is more expedient to use drywall.
A brick wall can be leveled with plaster, putty, gypsum mixtures and plasterboard constructions. Each species has its own characteristics and its own areas of application.
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Leveling with plaster
To plaster the walls, you need to prepare a platform for work:
- if there are old finishing materials, remove them, leaving a bare wall;
- inspect and evaluate the scope of work.
Scheme for leveling brick walls with gypsum mixtures.
Properly prepared surface, combined with the right choice of mix and precisely positioned beacons, is the key to success. To level a brick wall, it is better to choose a cement mixture. The cost of this mixture is relatively low, plaster can be applied in a rather thick layer, but it should be borne in mind that with a layer thicker than 2 cm, it is recommended to use a reinforcing mesh.
After you have assessed the surface, you need to install beacons. They are needed in order to control the process of leveling the walls with a raw method. A perforated profile acts as beacons. If you have to deal with this process for the first time, then it is more expedient to buy ready-made beacons: you don’t have to remove them after work and close up the recesses left after them.
Installation of beacons is carried out on a mixture or mortar of rapid hardening, which will be used for further work.
The distance between the beacons depends on the size of the rule: it must not slip when supported by 2 beacons. After installing the beacons, you can proceed to the plastering process.
A ready-made mortar is taken and a large amount of it is thrown onto the wall with a trowel. The next step, using the rule in the direction from the bottom up, distribute the solution over the surface of the wall. Thus, the entire surface must be treated. As soon as the layer dries, you can apply the next, but already much smaller in thickness, after specifying the construction level of the deviation.
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Leveling with putty: features
Scheme for leveling brick walls using drywall.
The method of leveling the walls with putty is only suitable in cases where the deviation is small. To do this, stock up on 2 spatulas, narrow and wide. The mixture must be kneaded in such a way that when creating a cone (during mixing with a stick), its shape is preserved. It must be remembered that the putty thickens rather quickly, so you should not dilute it very much at once, it is better as it is worked out, in extreme cases you need to dilute the mixture with water.
The mixture is applied to the wall surface with a narrow trowel, then leveling is carried out with a wide trowel. The spatula must be held at an angle to the wall, but it is worth remembering that the smaller the angle, the thicker the layer. After applying the first layer and drying it, you need to smooth out the roughness with sandpaper. If there is a need to apply another layer, it is recommended to prime the surface and then proceed to the second layer, after which the wall must also be sanded after drying.
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Plasterboard leveling: recommendations
If the wall is in a very poor condition, then drywall will come to the rescue. This option will be more cost-effective and efficient than the others. Can be aligned with or without a frame.
With the frame method, you need to create it so that there is something to attach drywall sheets to in the future. You can build a frame made of metal or wood, the second option is less durable and more difficult to install.
Plaster grouting scheme for leveling a brick wall.
The frame is created in the following way: rails are attached to the ceiling parallel to each other, every about 40-60 cm, fastenings are carried out using self-tapping screws. If necessary, you can insulate the wall at this stage, which will give increased heat and sound insulation, for example, if it is a partition between rooms.
The frameless method is different from the frame method: in this case, drywall sheets are glued directly onto the surface to be further finished. However, this method has a big disadvantage – if there are large wall defects, they cannot be eliminated.
There are other methods for leveling brick walls, which are used much less often: using plywood or plastic panels. They are mounted similarly to drywall, but only on wooden bars. These options are budgetary and are usually used for finishing premises such as a garage or country houses. Also in this way you can hide communications from the eyes.
If there is a need to level the brick walls outside the building, then it is better to stop at plastering the wall with a special mortar for outdoor work. Although uneven walls outside are not as common as inside.
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Leveling a wall in a new house
Leveling a brick wall in a newly built house may differ from work in a non-new building: there is no old finish, that is, in fact, there is a bare wall. In such cases, you need to act strictly according to the algorithm:
- It is necessary to treat the walls with water, that is, spray them well to get an equally wet surface. This is necessary so that the bonding of the mortar with the wall is as reliable as possible. If necessary, a reinforcing mesh is attached.
- Immediately after the walls are wet, you need to start the process of plastering. Here you need 3 layers of plaster: spray, primer and coating. Spray is a plastering solution in liquid form, it is applied to the wall with a tool that looks like a ladle.