This article is about brick house construction. Building a brick house is an ancient technique used with great success in Europe and improved during the past years. The higher cost and poor insulation used to be two of the main drawbacks of this construction system, but in the last 20 years the engineers have come with innovations as to mitigate these aspects. Consequently, the bricks have become bigger and more efficient from a thermic point of view, the polystyrene sheets would enhance the insulation of a brick house and the costs were decreased by automation of the raw materials plants. Therefore, we think that brick house construction is an attractive option when deciding to build a new dwelling.
A brick house needs a proper concrete foundation. Therefore, the foundation will be more expensive as compared to other construction systems, as it needs to support more weight (the brick walls, the concrete ceiling, the pillars). In addition, you need to install more reinforcing bars in the foundation, pillars and in the ceiling, as to bond together the walls in one rigid structure.
The construction of a brick house will take a longer period of time, as there are certain steps which cannot be postponed or done faster. Therefore, a two-story house with an average surface, will take about 3 months to be completed and about 3-6 months to apply the finishes and utilities. This is one of the main drawbacks when speaking about brick house constructions, but this will pay off eventually, as its lifespan is close to 100 years.
A brick house will be the most resistant against floods, winds and earthquakes, if it is built properly. We recommend you to hire an architect specialized in building brick houses and to contract a team of builders, with great expertise in this field. From our experience, we can assert that even if hiring the best team would cost 15% more, it worths the money up to the last penny.
A brick house is easy to maintain, as the bricks are very durable. In addition, you will never have issues with termites or with rotten studs. If the brick house is properly constructed, you will enjoy its comfort for many years, without being bothered by any issues. Just look at houses built hundreds of years ago and you will understand the benefits of this constriction system. The only thing you have to do is to freshen up the exterior paint every 5-10 years.
- Fine sand and gravel
- Wooden boards (2×4 and 2×10) – to build the forms
- Nails and screws
- Reinforcing bars – to build the reinforcing structure
- Safety gloves, glasses
- Measuring tape, carpentry pencil, l-square, spirit level
- Concrete mixer – to mix the concrete
- Hammer and circular saw – to build the formwork
- Float – to finish the concrete
- Install a rigid net of rebars
- Use a concrete pomp to pour the concrete
- 3-6 months, one team of qualified builders
Brick house construction
In order to build a brick house, you need to order bricks. As you probably know, there are many types of bricks with different shapes and dimensions. Several types of bricks are designed for exterior walls, while others are designed for interior walls. In addition, there are efficient bricks (which are better insulators) and regular bricks.
We recommend you to study these aspects thoroughly, before purchasing the bricks, as to satisfy your needs.
In order to lay the bricks when constructing the walls, you have to glue them by using a brick mortar. Therefore, you have to buy or rent a concrete mixer and prepare the brick mortar. In addition, you also need cement and sharp sand.
In most of the cases, in order to prepare the brick mortar, you have to mix thoroughly 3 parts cement with 5 parts sharp sand, but it is always better to read the instructions labeled on the bags.
The first step of constructing a brick house is to build the foundation. Therefore, you have to lay it on the construction site and dig the trenches, by using an excavator or shovels.
Next, you have to build the wooden forms and the reinforcing structure. These procedures are very important for the durability of your house, therefore we recommend you to hire a qualified contractor to supervise the workers.
Building brick walls
First of all, you have to move the bricks on the foundation, as to be easier to construct the walls (they will be very close to the walls and you will save time). Next, you have to set the layout of the walls, by using a string. In this way, you will make sure the walls will be perfectly straight.
In order to lay the bricks, you have to set one at the beginning of the row and another at the end of the row. Then, use a string on the exterior side of the wall, as to guide you when laying the rest of the bricks.
When constructing the next rows of bricks, you have to proceed in the same manner, moving the string up each time.
Use a spirit level to make sure the brick rows are perfectly plumb. Work with patience and make sure you fill with mortar the gaps between the bricks (not larger than 1/3”). Use a margin trowel and spread the mortar bed over the previous layers of bricks.
Use a rubber hammer to set the bricks into the right position and use a spirit level to check their alignment. Make sure the brick rows are straight, by using a string attached at the both eds of the row.
Continue laying the next rows of bricks, in the same manner as described above. You should notice the brick pattern (the stretcher bond), which is used to build a rigid and durable wall.
It is essential to use a spirit level, to make sure the wall is perfectly plumb, otherwise you will spend more money when applying plaster. We recommend you to mix small quantities of mortar, preferably in a wheelbarrow, otherwise it might dry out until you are able to use it.
In this image you can see how you should build a brick wall around a window. Therefore, you have to read carefully the house plans, measure the wall and build the window opening properly. With the risk of repeating ourselves, we recommend you to use a spirit level, as to make sure the window openings are perfectly plumb.
In addition, when constructing a brick house, you need to build a lintel beam above the door and window openings. This is again an ancient technique, used for centuries, as to reinforce the top of a window or door opening. In order to pour a concrete lintel, you should build formwork install a reinforcing beam and use concrete.
After you have built the walls, you have to set the forms, as to pour the concrete pillars. This step is essential for your projects, as the pillars will reinforce the whole structure. You can either build the forms by yourself, by using wooden boards, or to rent professional ones. Most obviously, renting professional forms would be more expensive, but you will get higher quality concrete pillars.
If you choose to build the form by yourself, you have to use construction wire to lock it into position, as you can see in the image. In addition, you have to use a spirit level, as to make sure the pillar forms are perfectly plumb on all sides. If you don’t tie the form properly, when pouring the concrete, it will push the form from position and the pillars won’t be level and plumb.
In this image, you can see a detail of the wooden form. Consequently, as we have already said, you have to tie the form together tightly, by using thick wire and a construction hammer. In order to lock together the interior and the exterior parts of the formwork, you have to drill a couple of pilot holes, by using an electric screwdriver.
The wire will hold the whole form locked tightly, as to prevent the concrete from moving the wooden boards off their position. We recommend you to make these ties every 3′ (1 m).
Larger pillars need to be reinforced even tighter, therefore we recommend you to secure them by using large kickers. Work with patience as the preparation stage is the most important of the whole process.
Make sure the wooden boards are in good shape, without cracks or holes. Work with patience and check everything once more, before pouring the concrete pillars. After you have poured the concrete, make sure you vibrate it with a vibrator, as to remove the air pockets.
After a week, you can remove the wooden forms, as to start installing the formwork for the concrete ceiling. After you remove the forms, you should check attentively the pillars, as to make sure there are no cracks or pockets of air, which could affect the house structure.
As you can see the, construction of a brick house is not as difficult as it might look, provided you use the right techniques and materials. If you afford to use the best materials, you can get the job done quicker and get a higher insulation coefficient.
Next, you have to build the concrete ceiling. This procedure is complex and you have to put a lot of work and effort to make sure things will go smoothly. First of all, you have to install the ceiling form and support it properly.
Afterwards, you should install the reinforcing structure (according to your house plans) and pour concrete in the form. From our experience, we think it is better to order the needed amount of concrete from your local concrete company rather than mixing it by yourself. They will deliver it to the site and pomp it in the ceiling from, with hoses.
Last but not least, you have to build the rest of the walls and pour the concrete pillars. Constructing a concrete house is not difficult, but you have to use quality materials and have a qualified team of builders, with expertise in this field.
After you have lain the bricks, you should seal the construction by building the roof. In most of the cases, the roof is built by using wooden joists and boards (or OSB). Nevertheless, the hard part of your projects is still to come, as the finises will cost more and can be time-consuming.
After you have finished constructing the foundation, the brick walls and the roof, you have to install the exterior insulation (polystyrene sheets) and to cement render the interior walls.
Check out the rest of our projects related to constructing a brick house and you will find all the information necessary to complete your home, starting with foundation tips up to applying plaster or paint.
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