Mark McCullough shares his favorite homeowner-friendly masonry tools with Kevin O’Connor and explains how to use them for entry-level projects.
Every project starts with measurement tools. Mark suggests that every homeowner have a tape measure, mason’s string, and a level to ensure the best outcome of their projects. When it comes to a level, Mark says a torpedo level works for a homeowner, as they’re small, affordable, and easy to use.
A homeowner should add some striking tools to their kit. This includes a brick hammer which can be used for cutting brick to size, chipping stones, or striking chisels. Rubber mallets are also a good choice, as these tools can be used to safely pound blocks and bricks into place without damaging them.
Masons use a lot of chisels, and a homeowner assembling their own masonry kit will need them too. Grab a variety of cold chisels or masonry chisels. Large chisels with plastic handles are helpful for cutting blocks and bricks and demolishing concrete, and they protect the user’s hand from errant hammer strikes.
Masons use towels to smooth cement, apply mortar, and dress joints. Homeowners should consider adding a finish trowel to help smooth any concrete repairs. Also, a brick trowel makes applying mortar to brick joints easier. Other trowels a homeowner might consider might include a margin trowel and a joint trowel. MArgin towels are smaller but allow DIYers to fill larger joints. A jointing trowel has an edge known as a slicker, and it’s designed to protect the mortar from water damage.
Clean Up Tools
DIYers could use several cleanup tools as well. A large, stiff-bristled brush makes floor cleanup easier. A softer bristle brush is helpful for removing little bits of debris and mortar from the brick surface. A large mason’s sponge is also a big help, as it can be used to smooth joints and remove dust for a clean finished look.
There are a few other tools that a homeowner might want to add to their kit. A masonry grout bag, which resembles a baker’s pastry bag, can make filling brick joints very fast, easy, and controllable. Also, a large mixing tub for combining water and mortar mix is invaluable for brick and block work.
Homeowners should add The last three items to their DIY masonry kit: gloves, safety glasses, and dust masks. Gloves protect the skin from rough masonry surfaces and tools. Safety glasses protect eyes from stone chips and chunks that may become airborne when struck with a chisel and hammer. Finally, the dust mask cuts down the amount of cement mix and dust making its way into airways.
Mark starts off with a measuring tape, mason’s line to assist in creating a straight line from one point to another, and a torpedo level. Next, he includes a brick hammer for cutting bricks, multiple chisel sizes for different-sized masonry joints. Mark recommends a rubber mallet for brick walkways laid on sand to secure them in place without damaging the brick. A masonry grout bag can be used to easily apply mortar into joints.
For application, Mark suggests using a finishing trowel for repairs to concrete patios or walkways. He recommends using a brick trowel for step or stone wall repairs. To take out and repair stone joints, Mark recommends a margin trowel. A jointer/slicker is used to fill and smooth masonry joints while also sealing them from any moisture.
For cleanup, Mark recommends using a hard bristle brush to clean up any dust or debris on the floor. A soft bristle brush is recommended for finished brickwork to clean off any imperfections after repairs. He also recommends large grouting sponges to clean up any dust or grout pilling on the brickwork.