An expert guide to building a braai

23 January 2017

It’s summertime, which means it’s the perfect time to get your friends together for a braai! A built in brick braai is a great asset to your outdoor entertainment area and is not too difficult to construct. With the right materials and tools (you may need to consider construction equipment rental for this once-off job – Talisman Plant & Tool Hire has a variety of power tools and equipment for hire) you can build a braai in just one weekend.


Items you will need:


cold chisel

tape measure




stiff brush



compacting rammer


Materials you will need:


metal braai grates





Lay the foundation

Use the braai grates to determine the size of your braai. Lay a grate on the ground where you want to build your braai and work out the size of the concrete slab you will need to pour by placing a course of bricks around the grate. Mark off and excavate the area to a depth of about 20 cm, and compact the ground. Fill the excavated area with gravel to a depth of 7 cm and compact again. Mix fast-drying cement according to the manufacturer’s directions, and pour over the gravel to fill the hole to ground level. You may need to hire construction equipment such as a compacter or cement mixer from Talisman Plant & Tool Hire. Smooth the cement using a trowel and allow to cure for 24 to 48 hours.


Lay the first few courses of bricks

Before you begin laying bricks with mortar, dry fit the bricks leaving a 1 cm gap between each brick to account for mortar and mark approximate placement of bricks. If your design requires bricks to be cut, tools for rental from Talisman Plant & Tool Hire include brick cutters. Use a trowel to lay a generous amount of mortar along the line where the first course of bricks will go, and gently press bricks into the mortar. Trowel mortar on the side of each brick before placing the next one, ensuring a consistent thickness of 1 cm. Wipe off excess mortar as you work. The first course of bricks should be on all sides of your concrete slab with successive courses on the sides and back only.


Create ledges for the braai grates

From the 4th or 5th course up, on alternate courses, begin turning some of the bricks as you lay them so that they jut out into the braai. These will create ledges where you can rest the braai grates. Having ledges at different levels allows extra cooking space and different heat intensities. Continue adding courses of bricks until the desired height is reached.


Finishing off

Before the mortar dries, use a jointer to clean up the mortar and create a tidy looking depression between each brick. Once the mortar is dried, use a stiff brush to scrape off any remaining mortar.


If you need to hire construction equipment or want to find out more about other tools for rental, contact Talisman Plant and Tool Hire today.