Design/Build Contractor Peter Q Brown of Bozeman, Montana takes you behind the scenes for a look at what really goes on inside his current residential remodeling and new construction projects. Brick laying will be the focus here in Part 6 of the new workshop series. For this new workshop we are matching an architectural wainscoting detail that exists on the main house. Wes Herd of Maverick Masonry is our Brick laying contractor. Brick laying is an art and in this program we are fortunate to be looking over the shoulder of a true artisan.
The first step is to determine the exact type of brick on the main house. Wes will be using Robinson / Georgetown brick. Wes’s second preparation detail was to install steel angle iron lintels. This angle iron supports the weight of the brick. The lintels are attached with steel pins drilled and driven into the side of the concrete slab. In areas where the wainscoting sits above the concrete driveway or patio, he doesn’t place the brick directly onto these surfaces. Even though these exterior slabs have been pinned to the foundation and will never move, it is standard practice to keep the wainscoting independent of these slabs with the steel angle iron. The lintels in these areas are attached with lag screws into the wall plates.
Wes will be using a “running Bond” pattern for this veneer wainscoting. This veneer wall will be topped with a soldier course. This soldier course is a row of bricks layed on edge and sloped for drainage. On the existing house the brick and siding come in contact, which is not the best situation. On the new work shop this soldier course detail fits under flashing.
After the steel lintels were in and the brick and other necessary materials were on site, Brick laying was started by establishing the leads. Leads are essentially partially finished corners. Plumb, level, and square are the operative words here. Accurate work at this early stage sets the tone for the rest of the wall.
It is late fall here in Montana, and we are getting our first freezing storms. It is critical that the fresh mortar not be allowed to freeze. We tent and heat the new brick for a minimum of 48 hours
Ventilation and structural connection
With the leads in, Wes will work to the center and fill in between. This brick veneer wall will require a 1 Inch ventilation cavity between the framed wall and the brick wall. 15 lb felt covers the framed wall and galvanized corrugated wall ties spaced at 16″ O.C. will bridge the gap and anchor the brick. This would be about one corrugated wall tie for every two square feet of wall space to be brick veneered. The ties are nailed to the wall at the framing. The ties are then bent down to be sandwiched between courses. The corrugations are what lock the tie into the mortar for a secure connection.
Finishing the joints
After a number of courses are layed, and the mortar starts to set up, the joints need to be finished. Concave joints are best for both strength and waterproofing.
The soldier course cap
As the fields are filled in at the center, each course is layed in an exacting fashion in relation to a string line. When the field is filled in and finished, the last step is cutting and setting the soldier course bricks on top of the wall and up under the pre Installed flashing. The leading edge of this course is set in exact relation to a string line as well.
This finished wainscoting matches well with the existing house, and provides an attractive and durable finish to the building, Wes Herd did a great job on the Brick laying, and the owner is really pleased with the finished product