Paving - Grouting - Finishing Up

Ingredients for successful brickwork.

The recipe for brick-laying mortar is two-and-a-half parts masonry sand to one part Type-S masonry cement plus water. After combining the sand and the water together in a mixing tub, the author mixes in the masonry cement, stirring the mortar with a mixing paddle on a heavy-duty drill. When it’s thoroughly mixed, he slowly adds water until the consistency of the mortar is right.

Staggering the layout.

To ensure that the basket-weave pattern will stay perfectly straight as it goes in, the author stretches masonry twine between the edges and staggers the first bricks in each course, as he did with the border bricks.

The mud layer

A layer of mortar goes down for each brick.

Add the brick.

The author presses a brick into the fresh mortar.

Setting the height

Using a mallet and a short heavy-duty level, the author taps the brick into plane with the bricks on either side.

Filling the joints.

A narrow tuck-pointing tool delivers and presses narrow strips of mortar into the joints between the bricks, filling them completely.

Finishing the joints.

When the joints are full, a concave jointing tool creates the finished surface of the mortar joints.

Scrape off the excess.

Once the mortar has set up over night, the excess is scraped off the surface. The author takes care not to disturb the mortar joints.

Blow dry.

A leaf blower blows the dried mortar off the walkway. The author avoids using a broom to sweep off the excess, which can smear the mortar into the surface of the bricks.

Final cleanup.

After the mortar has cured overnight, a coarse scrub pad cleans any residual mortar from the bricks.

The control joint.

The final step is filling the brick joints over the control joints in the concrete slab. The author tapes the edges of the bricks, and pushes foam backer rod into the joint.

Caulking the joint.

The author fills the control joint on top of the backer rod with a polyurethane-based caulk made specifically for use with concrete and masonry. The caulk remains flexible to let the bricks move without cracking.

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