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Brickwork up to Damp Proof Course

With the long Bank Holiday the concrete foundations have had plenty of time to cure enough for the brick work to be started. Materials for this are already on site – bricks, blocks, the sand and cement and, of course, a mixer.

Mixer and sand Blocks stacked on drive

The external corners of the new extension are marked out and a chalk line struck to show the outer edge of the brick work.

Because of the stepped nature of the foundation where it bridges the drain run, the levels need to be carefully assessed. Working back down from the damp proof course on the existing building, it can be seen that the lower parts of the concrete footings can be brought up with a course of concrete blocks before reaching ground level. Because they are below ground, they won’t be on show. Otherwise, the lower levels would have had to be made up in brick.

Reclaimed bricks stored on pallet A fair number of bricks were reclaimed from the old extension, but nothing like enough for the whole job.

Dale from G L Smith and Sons tells me that they have an excellent supplier for reclaimed bricks and have sourced a good match. He explains that it would be possible to use new bricks and blend these with the others but they try to go the extra mile and find the best match they can. The result is always going to look better and that means a happy customer. The first pallet of these bricks arrived yesterday.

Mortar being mixed in mixerThe mixer is started and one of the team starts knocking up the mortar. If you’ve ever mixed mortar yourself, you’ll know how easy it is to get the consistency wrong – too runny or too dry. Before long the mortar for the first lot of brickwork is ready and, guess what – perfect consistency!

Bricks and blocks have been stacked at intervals so they are to hand as they are needed. Before starting the first full courses, a number of areas need to be brought up to level. What would seem to be an awkward job was no match for the bricklayer though. A few deftly split bricks later the levels were sorted and they were ready to start setting out the courses. The corners are built up first, and regularly checked for level and plumb as they go. With these in place, a builders line was pulled between the corners giving the level and outer edge of each course as they went.

Progress is pretty quick despite some other awkward details to deal with. There are two fairly heavy concrete lintels to span a drain run. You’d have thought laying these to exactly the right level would be rather difficult. But no ... laying the lintel on a decent bed of mortar, a few sharp taps was all it took to have it sitting spot on level.

Concrete lintel being positioned Concrete lintel laid

The walls are cavity construction so there is an inner and an outer skin to be laid. The outer skin is built in Flemish bond to match that of the main house. Flemish bond consists of alternate headers and stretchers and gives a very attractive finish. The inner skin – set 50mm in from the previous one – is built in blockwork. Each block is equivalent in height to three bricks and is therefore somewhat quicker to work with. As the inside walls will be finished in plaster, there would be little point in laying these with bricks.

Cavity wall showing Flemish bond Close up cavity construction

With the brick and block work up to damp proof course level the walls are complete for the moment. The exposed brick work was pointed up as they went along so there’s no further finishing off to be done. The next stage will be to bring the central floor area up to. Sand ready for blinding the hardcore is already on site and the other materials – celotex, damp membrane and steel reinforcement will arrive first thing in the morning

If you live in the Hertfordshire area and are looking for a professional building contractor, you can get in touch with G L Smith and Sons via their website: http://www.glsmithandsons.co.uk/

G L Smith and Sons