Laying a Simple Brick-on-Edge Coping

As with all brickwork, the principle of setting up at each end and running-in in between applies equally to brick-on-edge copings.

Start with a minimum of three bricks at each end – any fewer than three will not have sufficient mass (back weight) or stability to withstand the tension of a string-line – make sure that the first brick is plumb, and level across the width of the wall. It should have a 10mm bed joint under it and sit square on top of the wall. This can be checked using a small wooden square.

When laying the second and third bricks, the first brick must be held in place with one hand while the other bricks are squeezed or ‘wiggled’ into position with the other hand. This is one of the rare occasions when the trowel is put down! Adjusting the bricks into position in this way rather than tapping them with the trowel reduces the chance of disturbing the first brick or bricks, maintains adhesion between the bricks and mortar, and eliminates any damage to the bricks that could be caused with the trowel blade. Cross-joints must be full and solid for the coping to be effective against rain penetration, but excessive mortar should be avoided when applying cross-joints as it makes the bricks difficult to ‘wiggle’ into position! A measuring tape or a gauge lath held horizontally will help maintain correct and consistent cross-joint thickness.

Once the second and third bricks have been laid, it is important to make sure that they are level across the width of the wall and sit square on top of the wall, and that all three bricks together are level and in line along the length of the wall. Using a spirit level and straight-edge, check that the blocks of three bricks-on-edge at each end are level with each other, then attach a string-line (see Fig 210). The dry brick stood on end assists with the attaching of the corner block. On short walls, of course, line and level in between the two ends can be achieved with a spirit level provided the level is long enough

Laying a Simple Brick-on-Edge Coping

Fig. 210 Three bricks are laid at each end and a string line attached.