In 1958, John Barley received the Silver Trowel after graduating as the top bricklaying apprentice of his year, which set the stage for a successful career in construction before he transitioned into the leisure industry. Experienced bricklayers are able to avoid some of the common mistakes that those new to the profession make, which include the below.
Choosing Incompatible Mortar
Mortar is not a one-size fits all material, so you need to ensure yours is compatible with the types of brick you are laying. This is particular true when rebuilding or renovating an old wall, as you may find that the wall was built using lime mortar, rather than the Portland cement commonly used today. Mortars expand and contract at different rates, so combining the two can lead to failures in the structural integrity of the wall.
Waterproof Coating Old Bricks
While it is common to apply waterproof coating to new bricks before using them, doing the same for old bricks can actually have a damaging effect. This is because the process of waterproofing the brick also locks in any moisture that is already inside the brick, sometimes leading to additional moisture damage. A water-repellant sealant is often the best choice in such cases.
While it is a good idea to maintain your brickwork, you also need to understand that many cleaning techniques are abrasive, which can lead to bricks being damaged. Ideally you should identify the scope of the cleaning job beforehand and find safe cleaners based on your specific needs.
John Barley is an experienced bricklayer who has enjoyed success in the construction industry.