Have you ever… laid bricks?

Over the past 6 months, my partner and I have been spending a large part of our spare time laying bricks. We are in the process of owner-building a house, which generally means that we organise a range of tradespeople to come and do the various tasks associated with constructing a house.

But having done all the bricklaying for one of our previous homes, we decided that this would be a good activity to do ourselves this time too. We started towards the end of August last year and were keen to get the bulk of the north facing walls completed before the summer got seriously hot.

In terms of progress, it would also have made a difference if we had not had to limit most of our bricklaying to weekends! However the Christmas break has helped immensely in this regard as we both managed to get few weeks of leave at the same time.

Building the 'bells' was a new experience.

Building the ‘bells’ was a new experience.

As neither of us are bricklayers by trade, our rate of progress has been a lot slower than is normally the case when a skilled bricklayer is on the job. Doing these sorts of tasks yourself is not the norm in Australia, but we are both from families of builders and we have learnt many of the skills from skilled siblings and parents.

The ‘type’ of brick we selected was rumbled and also a mix from three different sorts. So we had added challenges in that the bricks varied enormously in size, weight, shape, length and character! Some were simply too ‘character filled’ to be able to be used! These we set aside to build into a ‘feature’ wall near the front door of the house! That wall will be done last and will be a real challenge as we fit the more twisted and unusually fired stones into place! But I really do like the result and I think the ‘rumbled-cottagy’ look is lovely.

Only 6 pallets of bricks left!

Only 6 pallets of bricks left! The three different types of bricks are obvious in this photo.

The seriously hot weather did finally catch up with us (as anyone who has been following the weather and fire information from Australia will know). We have just come through a week of blistering hot days and the rate of progress slowed a bit more! But now we are within just a few days of completing all the brickwork on the house.

The northern side of the house - all finished. The 'bells' were something we had not done before.

The northern side of the house – all finished.

Ailsa, from Where’s my backpack has set a challenge this week to find things that represent “Multiple”. Given that in Australia, we are quite a few hours ahead of the US, I am hoping this post will get in, just in time before the challenge closes ๐Ÿ™‚ My reply to her challenge is….. Multiple bricks! About 7200 (so far!) of them. With about 1000 to go!

If I don’t make it on time…. well, we all know where I have been in the past week – laying bricks! I really do enjoy bricklaying and am toying with plans for the leftover bricks….. a super potting shed in the new garden perhaps? I will have to get organised while my legs, arms and wrists are still ‘bricklaying fit’!

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16 Responses to Have you ever… laid bricks?

  1. scrapydo says:

    I think you are still on time! This place you are building looks marvelous. My father also built our house during weekends only. We, three girls helped him with all of it! It is real hard work. You must feel very proud of your work! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Madoqua says:

      Thanks Scrapydo! It has been a lot of work, but it is very satisfying I must admit! I am going to make a time capsule and seal it into the house wall at some stage! Maybe I should put up a post for everyone to have say about what I should include!


  2. fgassette says:

    Looks like a beautiful home. Laying the bricks yourselves must be very rewarding.



  3. Colline says:

    Quite an experience! And one I have not had.


    • Madoqua says:

      Unlike those jobs that require endless repetition (eg cleaning), bricklaying is great because it only has to be done once! I now have a legacy of two houses to my name!


  4. mudlips says:

    I come from a long line of brick masons…well, that line ended with my great grandfather but I still like to think that I have a bit of brick-layer in me. I have done quite a bit of tile setting and found that very enjoyable so I can see how you’ve had fun with this project. And, imagine your gratification when the job is done and you are living in a house you made – wonderful.


    • Madoqua says:

      Mudlips, you are so right! It’s interesting that you have a family history similar to mine – another thing we have in common!
      I must admit I will be pleased when the job is done, so that I can have my weekends back; but it has been very satisfying, so I will probably miss it too! But with a new house comes a new garden and lots of other projects!


  5. Am very impressed! Know a couple of people locally who did an owner build and so know how much work it is.

    Hopefully you will post more photos of your lovely house once it’s all done.


    • Madoqua says:

      Thanks Lisa, yes, I will put up some more photos as we get things done. There are a lot of things to do when building a house, so we will be going for a good while yet ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. pommepal says:

    What a great job you are doing in the good old DIY Australian tradition. Boy you must’ve been dripping with sweat this past week. Hope you drank LOTS of water…


    • Madoqua says:

      ๐Ÿ˜† yes, it has been pretty hot! But we get up early and work in the cool hours, then hibernate with everyone else when it gets too hot! We also try to move around different walls depending on where the sun is, so that we work in the shade whenever possible.
      Nearly there now!


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