Laying Concrete Block

This project builds on the basics of working with concrete block and shows you how to begin laying a concrete block wall.

Step 1

Start the first course by laying a mortar bed on the footing. Make it 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick and about three blocks long.

Step 2

Carefully push the corner block into the mortar bed, lining it up with the ends of the chalk lines on the footing.

Step 3

Check the height of the block with your story pole, and push the block down until the top is even with the mark. If the block is low, pull it out, place more mortar on the bed, and replace the block. Then place a level on top of the block and level it along its length and width.

Step 4

To prepare the second block, set it on end and butter its ears with a downward swiping motion of the trowel. Then press down on the mortar on the inside edge of the ear. This will keep the mortar from falling off when you set the block. If the mortar does fall off, start over with fresh mortar.

Step 5

Set the second block in place, pushing it against the first block, making sure you leave a 3/8-inch joint space. Using the same techniques, butter the third block and set it. Don't remove the excess mortar on the footing until it has set up a bit.

Step 6

With three blocks laid, set a level on top and tap the blocks into place with the end of the trowel handle. Repeat the process on the width of the block. Check for plumb by holding the level against the side of each block. Then build the other corner and the leads.


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