On a nice, warm summer's afternoon, there are few things in life better than cooking up a storm in the garden with family and friends. Hot weather is the perfect excuse to show off your barbecuing skills and eat some delicious food with a few beers or a bottle or two of crisp white wine.
But before you get to the actual cooking, eating and drinking part, you'll need a barbecue. For many people, this means heading out shopping to pick up one of a suitable size, but for the semi-adventurous, there's another way.
Building your own brick barbecue is a great project for someone who wants to make something for themselves but doesn't have extensive DIY or bricklaying experience. It's relatively straightforward and doesn't take up too much time. The important part is to get the right materials for the job.
The choice of bricks for your barbecue is largely down to how they look, as you won't find a type of brick that isn't suitable for this purpose. Although fire bricks are specifically designed to withstand high temperatures, they're more important in the extended heat of a fireplace than they are for a barbecue.
Faced bricks sometimes have rough sides that can snag clothing and cause injury when you're working at the barbecue, and engineering bricks aren't always the most attractive despite their high strength. Your best bet is usually to choose a nice-looking, smooth red brick that will give you a result you're happy with.
For simplicity's sake, you might want to choose a ready-made mortar that will save you a lot of time and potential mistakes. Go for one that specifically mentions bricklaying and that it's suitable for use outdoors, and check the mixing instructions are clear and easy to follow.
If you can't find anything suitable or you prefer to mix your own mortar, blend one part cement with four parts sand. You may find adding a bit of lime makes the mortar easier to work with, which is particularly useful if you don't have much experience working with it.
If you're building your barbecue on a hard surface, you shouldn't need concrete. On grass or mud, however, you'll need it in order to prepare a solid, flat surface. Any concrete mix that's suitable for patios is ideal. You don't need anything fancy or expensive, but a quick-drying mix can be useful if you're eager to get on with your project without long delays.
For more information on building supplies, contact a local supplier.