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Brick Masonry- Types, Bonds, Construction Method & Tools

Table of Contents for Brick Masonry-

  1. What is brick masonry and when was first brick masonry done?
  2. What are the brick masonry types used in construction?
  3. What bonds are used in brick masonry?
  4. What is the brick masonry construction process?
  5. What tools are used in brick masonry?

What is brick masonry and when was first brick masonry done?

Brick masonry is the process & method of jointing the bricks with mortar. It is an important part of construction for ages. The use of brick masonry is extensive in structural works, outer walls, partition walls, boundary walls, the lining of canals, culverts, drainage, sewers, etc. Brick masonry is an economical and durable solution to lower load-bearing elements. However, in some cases, it can resist higher loads but also needs considerable area to be built.

Brick Wall of Burnt Clay Bricks
Brick Wall of Burnt Clay Bricks

The oldest bricks discovered to date are from 7500 BC in Syria. They were air-dried mud-bricks. The residents of Mehrgarh (present-day Pakistan) also built houses of air-dried mud bricks in 7000-2500 BC. The first use of fired bricks has been identified in Indus Valley Civilisation cities like Kalibangan which dates back to 3000 BC.

Similarly, ancient Greeks and Romans used fired bricks in their early settlements (8-9th Century BC) in the Mediterranean region.

What are the brick masonry types used in construction?

The brick masonry types can be defined as the per the mortar. The mortar is a mixture of a binding material and an inactive material like sand, crushed stone etc. The binding material used in mortar is cement, lime, mud, or lime-pozzolana. Hence, the brick masonry types are as follow.

Types of brick masonry

Brick Masonry in Mud

  • The brick masonry done with mud mortar is the cheapest.
  • The mud mortar is prepared with soil having 60-70% clay & silt and 40-30% sand. After 12-24 hours of adding water, the soil should be worked up with a spade and walked over with bare feet to make a paste.
  • The mud mortar is applied with a thickness of 12 mm and bricks are placed in course. The joints between the bricks are also filled with the same mud mortar.
  • The mud masonry is suitable for walls of height up to 4m.
Brick Masonry in Mud
Brick Masonry in Mud

Brick Masonry in Lime

  • The slaked & hydrated non-hydraulic lime and semi-hydraulic lime are soaked in water for a minimum of 16 hours and 8 hours respectively before the start of work. Hydraulic lime doesn’t need soaking before construction as it starts setting immediately.
  • The lime is then proportioned with sand and mixed thoroughly by a spade or a mechanical mixer for at least 5 minutes. For better results, the mortar should also be ground after mixing in the mortar mill for 15 minutes.
  • The bricks are arranged in the course and the joints are filled. The mortar thickness shall not be more than 12 mm.
  • The brick masonry in lime is expensive than masonry in mud but stronger.
Masonry in Lime

Brick Masonry in Lime-Pozzolana

  • The brick masonry in lime-pozzolana is cheaper than brick masonry in lime as the addition of pozzolana improves the overall economy.
  • The pozzolana used is fly ash, burnt clay, or cinder.
  • As the non-hydraulic lime gains very low strength, the sand is partially or wholly replaced by pozzolana.

Brick Masonry in Cement

  • It is the strongest masonry type among others and expensive too.
  • OPC, PPC, PSC, etc. any of the cement types can be mixed with sand 1: n ratio. The value to n ranges from 3 to 8 depending upon the strength and durability requirement. The mixing is done in a mechanical mixer for at least 3 minutes or till the uniform colour is achieved.
  • The mortar produced is consumed within 2 hours of adding water else the quality depletes.
  • The mortar thickness is 10 cm.

Brick Masonry in Lime-Concrete

  • The lime mortar with lime and sand is prepared for the day’s work. This mortar is called coarse stuff.
  • For proportioning, the volume of coarse stuff is taken to be equal to that of sand in the mix. Thus, for preparing cement-lime mortar 1 cement: 2 lime: 9 sand, coarse stuff of proportion 1: 4.5 is prepared and cement and coarse stuff are mixed in the proportion 1: 2.
  • The lime available in the lime concrete improves the workability and acts as a plasticiser.
  • Due to the lime addition, the cost is lower than the cement mortar.

What bonds are used in brick masonry?

A bond is a joint between the bricks. The joints are staggered with respect to the above and below courses. This breaks the continuity of the joint and makes the masonry a big single unit. Some of the commonly used bonds in brick masonry are English Bond, Flemish Bond, Header Bond, Stretcher Bond, Garden Wall Bond, American Bond, Monk Bond, Dutch Bond etc.

English Bond

  • The alternate courses contain headers and stretchers.
  • It starts with a quoin header, a queen closer and continues with the successive headers.
  • It is the strongest bond and is used in all heavy load-bearing structures.
English Bond in Brick Masonry
English Bond

Flemish Bond

  • Each course is comprised of alternate headers and stretchers.
  • It can be formed as Single Flemish Bond & Double Flemish Bond.
  • The Single Flemish bond partially provides the better appearance of the Flemish bond and the strength of the English Bond.
  • The Double Flemish Bond requires lesser facing bricks than the English bond and is hence more economical.
Single & Double Flemish Bond in Brick Masonry
Double Flemish Bond & Single Flemish Bond

Header Bond

  • All the courses have header only.
  • The joint continuity is broken by providing a three-quarter bat in each alternate course at quoin.
  • It is suitable for curved alignment walls and foundations for better transverse distribution of load.
Header Bond in Brick Masonry
Header Bond

Stretcher Bond

  • All the courses have stretchers only.
  • A half-bat is provided at the start of each alternate course.
  • It is suitable for half-brick thick leaves of a cavity wall.
Stretcher Bond in Brick Masonry
Stretcher Bond

Garden Wall Bond

  • The Garden Wall Bond is convenient for one-brick thick walls.
  • For one-brick thick wall, it is economical than pure English and Flemish bonds.
  • It can be done as English Garden Wall Bond or Flemish Garden Wall Bond.
English & Flemish Garden Wall Bond in Brick Masonry
Garden Wall Bond

What is the brick masonry construction process?

The construction methodology for brick construction works is described in accordance with standard specifications as laid in the IS 2212 and SP 20.

Preparatory Works

  • Soak the bricks before the start of the work. The duration of soaking should be determined at the site soaking the brick in water and breaking to check the penetration depth of water.
  • The surface of the brick should be dry at the time of construction.
  • The loose material, dirt, grease, oil etc. should be cleared from the surface upon which masonry is to be done.
  • Tie a thread to mark the alignment of the wall. Cross verify the dimension from at least two reference points before starting the work.

Construction Works

  • Apply an even layer of mortar on the surface, place the brick on the mortar and press it gently to ensure no cavity is left between the mortar and the brick. The thickness of mortar should not exceed 10 mm.
  • The thickness of each course should be kept equal and checked after completing each course. This shall help in maintain the horizontality of the course at all points.
  • A plumb bob should be used to ensure the verticality of the wall. The vertical deviation should not exceed 6 mm for the 3 m height of the wall. The total limiting vertical deviation is 12.5 mm for the entire height of the building.
  • Provision for cross walls should be left by providing indents of ¼ brick depth and width equal to the thickness of the wall.
  • Ensure that half brick wall should not be constructed more than 0.6 m in height per day. The one brick thick and thicker walls can be made for 1 m height per day. This step shall prevent the oozing out of mortars from the joint.
  • For walls that are to be plastered, the joint mortar should be raked off for a depth of 10 mm.

What tools are used in brick masonry?

Brick Masonry uses many tools such as-

  • Trowel for placing, levelling, filling the mortar.
  • Straightedge
  • Plumb bob for checking the verticality of the wall.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Levelling Equipment like Water Tube or Spirit Level for checking of horizontality.
  • Thread for alignment of the wall.
  • Wheel Barrow for transporting the mortar to the site.
  • Mortar mixing tools & equipment. A mechanical mixer is used for mortar mixing, for small sites, manual mixing is done with a spade or a hoe.
  • Other modern tools like end frame, string holder, mortar board help in improving productivity.

Check out the masonry and plaster material calculator excel sheet.

Project schedule excel template

Labour planning excel sheet for masonry and other works

References-

Handbook on Masonry: IS SP 20.

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