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bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

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  • bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

    Dear All - I am seeking your advice in regards the competencies of a bricklayer who has just started a job for me. The job involves the construction of a 1.2m high brick wall for which i have a few concerns about the quality of his blockwork beneath ground. I have attached an image which shows the main concern - that he has not buttered the sides of the blockwork with mortar resulting in the bottom course not being bonded to the blockwork beside them - only bonded to the blockwork above and beneath.

    My question is whether this (no doubt for the purposes of saving time and materials) is likely to affect the structural integrity of the finished wall and make it more prone to movement.

    All knowledgeable responses appreciated.Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Re: bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

    The joints are not even raked. Maybe he left the sides open for drainage? If you are in a freeze zone that will be a disaster. Should have drainage behind the wall.


    • #3
      Re: bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

      thanks for your response - please can you clarify to whta freeze zone refers and also drainage behind the wall. The 2 courses of blockwork referred to are beneath ground with earth on both sides of the wall.


      • #4
        Re: bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

        Fist of all I am not a mason but have layed more block than have I desired to over the years,

        It looks like weep holes to me, which is a correct practice, as far as finishing the joints, I normally did finish them on the block I layed that was not visible, but it probably makes little difference, I guess the real question is what will the exposed look like,

        I believe what he is referring to a freeze zone is the depth in which the ground freezes in the winter,

        If water gets trapped behind the wall, the weep holes allow the water to migrate through the wall minimizing the hydraulic pressure that may occur with trapped water.
        Last edited by BHD; 09-28-2012, 04:56 PM.
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        • #5
          Re: bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

          I am no bricklayer, and being in Florida we don't worry about freezes. But, we do have water issues. Even for landscape walls, contractors put a filtering membrane down in back of wall then backfill with gravel. This way the weep holes or pvc drains installed though the wall can drain without getting clogged up with dirt.
          I suppose your bricklayer poured a good concrete footer to lay them bricks on, right??


          • #6
            Re: bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

            The OP said there will be dirt on both sides of the blocks. The vertical joints in that first row won't mean a thing. It is vertical support that the bricklayer is after, and the wall as it is will provide that. The second row bonds everything together.


            • #7
              Re: bricklaying - is my bricklayer capable?

              I too am not a bricklayer although I have done some building of block walls. It is not uncommon to leave some joints in the bottom row unfilled for drainage but that really depends on the entire picture. If drainage was the reason the the slope in front and behind the wall should encourage water to flow as needed out of the primary area.

              it really depends on the design. For example I have built a block wall without such drainage holes but I have had a suitable drain in the primary area so as not to worry about doing something like this.

              I think you need to speak with your bricklayer and ask why those joints are unfilled.

              Up close those joints look a bit messy and it does not look like they have been racked with a striking tool.
              Last edited by blue_can; 09-30-2012, 12:50 PM.