This article will discuss a number of the more commonly used tools in the construction business, with specific reference to those tools required when working with bricks and concrete. Building work requires general-purpose tools as well as some specialized ones that are used only with specific materials, namely, concrete, brick, stone, block or tile. Most are widely available at hardware shops and builders merchants, and some rarely used ones, such as a cartridge hammer or a quarry tile cutter can be hired.
The most important general tools to buy are a metre-long spirit level, a steel square, a 10 or 20 metre measuring tape, a cold chisel for chipping mortar and concrete, and a club or lump hammer. Special tools needed for concrete work include a small wood float for levelling, a steel float for smoother finishing, a darby or screed for smoothing large areas and an edging tool, for rounding the sides of a slab. Other tools for laying and finishing a brick or block wall are a brick-layers hammer and a broad-laded chisel. For cutting and laying, a small mortar board called a hawk, to hold mortar close to the job, can be used.
A bricklayers trowel for spreading the mortar is alos required. A number of other items also required include:
- A joint filler, sometimes called a finger or window trowel for filling extra long joints with mortar
- A pointing trowel to fill joints and to form weather, struck, flush and extruded joints
- A rounded jointing tool for concave joints
- A carbide tipped masonry bit in an electric drill is useful for putting small holes in concrete blocks. For holes larger than 20mm, you can use a star drill, a kind of chisel meant to be struck with a hammer.
When laying bricks on a horizontal surface, like a patio for example, use a V-notched square trowel to score the bed joint. For tile work, you will need a square trowel with rectangular notches to score the bed joint. A pincer like tile nipper can be used to shape the tiles.
Although you require most of these tools to complete any job that requires working with bricks and concrete, it is not necessary to have purchased every single tool before commencement of the job. It is also important to ensure that you understand the size of any job involving concrete, and analyse the amount of cement required by using a cement calculator to measure quantity of materials used.