Bricks have been used primarily for making buildings for a long time now. Clay bricks are the most common, but we also have concrete bricks. So, you can always pick the best type of brick based on applications and preferences.
There have been advances in technology that have made brick-making faster. However, the overall process has not changed in many years, and it remains simple. You can make brick from anywhere provided you have the right tools and raw materials.
Making Clay Bricks
Clay or mud bricks are still common in modern construction. Others are altered to make them more appealing, for example, the redbrick.
Something important that people often forget is determining whether the mud is good enough for brick making. You can do this by doing a simple test. The best sources of soil are at the tops or hillsides. This is because such soil has already stood up to erosion elements. Roll it in a ball, and if it stays in its shape, then it is okay.
What is needed
- Mesh screen
- 3 pieces ( 2 by 4 wood) 2 pieces with a length of 5 feet and a single piece of length 7 feet
- Measuring tape
You have to check if the weather is favorable for brick making. If it might rain, you will need a dry and shaded area for drying the bricks. If it is clear weather, then it will allow you to sundry your bricks enough before taking them to the kiln.
Step 1: Start by collecting the needed soil and then sift the soil through the mesh screen. This will help you remove all the small stones which may cause your brick to crack or weaken. Also, consider sifting the sand to remain with smaller particles.
Step 2: This step involves coming up with the brick mold. The two 5-foot length planks of wood will be used for making the sides. The other piece of wood is then cut into 6 pieces each measuring 14 inches. Nail the small pieces of wood between the two 5-foot length pieces of wood. The mold will look like a ladder which would hold up five bricks, each measuring 10 by 14 inches individually.
Step 3: A wheelbarrow will be enough to make mud to handle a small project. Larger projects will require you to dig a big hole on the ground that will serve as the mixing pit. It should be about 3 feet in depth. Pour water into the pit then you should let the water drain over time. This is for making sure the walls do not come down as you make your bricks.
Step 4: You can then fill the pit halfway with soil. Take a bucket of water then proceed to add the water to the soil as you mix with a shovel or a hoe. Add the straw, which is the binding material. The composition of the straw should not be more than 60% or lower than 40% for the bricks to keep together. Sandy soil can be used for making the binding capability stronger by reducing the clay properties. The water should be added slowly to avoid making the brick mud too watery.
Step 5: Proceed to lay the brick mold on the earlier prepared flat area clear of vegetation and stones. Add the brick mud in the five sections of the mold using a shovel. Ensure to trim the excess brick mud on top of the sections. You can use the shovel back to pat the bricks to remove excess air and water first.
Step 6: Give the bricks some time to settle then remove the brick model. Move to other clear areas to make the other brick batches. Repeat this same process until you have enough bricks for your project as required.
Step 7: The bricks should sundry for a minimum of 4 days. You can then stand the bricks up vertically in stacks for them to harden and dry completely. It is advisable for the bricks to be dried for at least 4 weeks then you can use them. These sun-dried bricks should last a long time even sometimes 30 years. It is possible to extend their durability. This is done through firing the bricks in a kiln.
Advantages of Clay Bricks
There are reasons why such ‘primitive’ building material has been used for centuries. The several benefits include;
- They are fireproof
- Low cost of production
- They are biodegradable
- Made by using simple tools
- Features good insulation properties
- They have good water resistance
- It is easy to train people on how to use them compared to other alternatives like concrete bricks
- They possess fair soundproofing properties
Making Concrete Bricks
Yes, you can make bricks from concrete, and they are very sturdy.
- 3 pieces of 2 by 4 wood; 2 pieces 5 feet long and 1 piece 7 feet long
- Release oil spray can
- Bags of concrete mixtures
- Measuring tape
Step 1: This step involves making the brick mold. The process is well explained in the clay brick-making process. You only need some carpentry knowledge to get it done. The only difference with the concrete bricks making, you are required to spray release oil on the brick mold. This will help in stripping the brick forms after pouring the concrete into the mold.
Step 2: A physically challenging step as it involves mixing of concrete. Sak-Crete, a commercially dry mix of concrete materials, is the easiest method. Pour a bag in the wheelbarrow and make a small hole in the middle using a shovel.
Add small water amounts at a time as you mix to get control of water in concrete. Do this until you get a concrete mix that you can work with comfortably. A measuring device for water would be handy to ensure consistency in all the batches.
When too wet, the concrete will run on the sides of the mold. On the other hand, a too dry mixture will not consolidate and leave air spaces. A small cement mixer from the nearest hardware can help you get accurate results.
Step 3: Scoop concrete with a shovel into the brick mold. You can then tap on the sides of the molds to settle the concrete. Tapping on the top will help get rid of any air beneath. Use a trowel to smoothen out the tops of the bricks. Allow them to dry for 24 hours without removing the brick molds.
Step 4: Remove the molds and stack your bricks in a cool area to cure for about two weeks. Cover them with a mover’s blanket and keep it wet. This will help avoid the bricks cracking during the curing process. Once they are cured, you can move to the site and start your project.
The concrete bricks edge out on the clay bricks by being stronger and will last longer. They are used to construct buildings that rise to great heights because of their properties.
From the guide above, you are now conversant with the two common options as bricks. Just make sure that you always follow the steps to get things done right. The last thing you want is poor workmanship or bricks that can easily fall apart. You could still look at some YouTube videos with detailed information on how to make bricks to ensure your bricks are strong and right for the job.