How to lay brick pillars for porches

Written by steven douglas
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How to lay brick pillars for porches
Brick pillars add class. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Brick pillars on a porch are very majestic-looking, and solve a variety of issues for homeowners when properly installed. Ugly metal poles can be easily hidden from view, and new brick pillars can be designed to complement the existing exterior fascia of the home. Landscaping can be redesigned to scale, giving the porch a more "appealing" or "permanent" look. Brick pillars are also very strong, and will outlast metal or wooden support structures. Best of all, laying brick pillars is easy.

Things you need

  • Pad of paper
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Mortar mix
  • Hand trowel
  • Bricks
  • Wheel barrow
  • Mason's level
  • Mason's rake
  • Plumb bob
  • Mason's brush
  • Water
  • Gravel

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  1. 1

    Measure your existing porch with a tape measure, and draw a scale replica on paper with a pen. Determine the quantity, height and width of the brick pillars you wish to construct, and add these to the drawing. The three most common brick pillar sizes are 30 cm (12 inches) square, 40 cm (16 inches) square and 80 cm (32 inches) square.

  2. 2

    Prepare the ground surface where the pillars will be installed. It should be clean, dry and free of any loose debris. Because brick pillars are extremely heavy, it is best to lay the pillars on a concrete foundation or slab.

  3. 3

    Mix a bag of mortar in a wheelbarrow. Apply mortar, using a trowel, onto the first "course" (layer) of bricks, placing 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) of mortar on one side and edge of the brick, then placing it down. After completing your first course in the pillar, gently tap the bricks with the palm of your hand to seat them. Make sure they are level and square in all dimensions, using the mason's level.

  4. 4

    Lay your next course of bricks, but stagger the bricks so that no two courses have bricks aligned together. After laying three courses of bricks, put loose gravel and mortar inside the pillar to strengthen it. After every three courses of bricks, carefully measure and adjust the bricks, using a mason's level. The pillar must be completely vertical on all sides, and flat and level on the top course.

  5. 5

    Lay the next three courses of bricks, continuing the staggered placement. After laying six courses of bricks, again put loose gravel and mortar inside the pillar to strengthen it. Carefully measure and adjust the bricks again, using a mason's level, then a plumb bob. Adjust the brick courses as necessary.

  6. 6

    Rake the brick mortar joints with a mason's rake after every six courses are complete. Try to be consistent with the raking so that all mortar joints look the same. Continue to lay courses of bricks in staggered fashion until you reach the desired height of your pillar. Fill the pillar with gravel and mortar as you progress, and rake all the mortar joints consistently.

  7. 7

    Brush the finished pillar with water and a mason's brush to remove any dried mortar compound from the face of the bricks after six hours. Allow the pillar to dry overnight before applying any force to it from any direction.

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