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 for this once-off job – has a variety of power tools and equipment for hire) you can build a braai in just one weekend.
Items you will need:
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.
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.