Is it plausible to diy build a brick home?

In the future, I would love to build my own house. Of course, one must weigh the D.I.Y. route against the safety benefits of having a professional contractor build the home. That aside, is it plausible for an amateur to lay his own brick for a home? Leaving plumbing and electrical components to the experts, how must one consider the weight baring strength of brick when laying it?

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Are there any new building methods that can streamline the process?

When I was younger I felt the same as you about wanting to build my own home some day. For me it became almost an obsession and at age 30 I actually did it.

All through my 20's I studied everything I could get my hands on about building a home and taught myself to build, plumb, wire, etc etc. I mean I learned everything! All about construction and reading building plans and working with the local building permit office as well as learning all about financing such an undertaking.

I highly recommend you follow a similar path. Today you are lucky enough to have the internet. I just had books and a few television shows like This Old House but I was able to do it.

As for laying your own brick… That is a HUGE job! You'll need to take some classes at a local community college if possible or work some with a mason to learn the trade. I don't recommend taking on the block and/or brick laying though. It will be very time consuming and if you are bricking the entire home and working alone that one item could take you months. By months I mean 6 months to a year or more if you're working alone and doing it after work in the evenings and weekends.

The other factor you have to work around is the bank. If you are paying cash for your home then you can work at any pace you wish and if it takes years to complete that's just fine. But, if you're working with bank financing, you won't have the luxury of an unlimited timetable to finish the home. Construction loans typically run 9-12 months maximum before the contract requires the home to be complete and the loan converted to a conventional mortgage. So, it's better to focus on the jobs you can do and finish in the time allowed by the lender, and contract out the really big jobs. That's what I did.

I was able to get the bank to allow me to be my own contractor with a few stipulations. Primarily I had to have the house 100% complete within 12 months. I also had to hire a licensed contractor to oversee my work and make sure I wasn't screwing up lol.

I built most of my house with my own 2 hands but a few of the jobs that were going to push me beyond the time limit I contracted out so I would meet the banks deadline. I hired a man to do all the grading and dig the footings. Then I hired a couple of helpers to assist me with pouring the footings. Then I hired masons to lay the foundation but I worked with them some carrying block etc. Then I did all the framing and had a roofing company come in and roof the house in 1 day.

Then I had the masons come back and lay the brick. I have a large home and it took skilled masons a few weeks to do it all. I did ALL the wiring and plumbing and after those items passed inspection I hired a crew to hang and finish the sheet rock. Sheet rock and finishing it is another HUGE job for a self builder to tackle by-the-way. I don't recommend that you tackle sheet rock either.

Then I did all the painting and finish trim throughout the house as well as install all the cabinets and plumbing fixtures. I put in about 1700 square feet of hardwood floors and hired a helper to work with me to move that along. He came in the evenings when I got off work and we got it done in a couple of weeks. Then I hired a guy to stain the floors etc. I also hired a carpet crew lay the carpets.

Then there was the landscaping outside. I did that too.

I told you all of this to illustrate what a huge undertaking you are considering. I love the fact that I built my home but you MUST be prepared for what the long term commitment and go into it with your eyes open. If you have a game plan going in as to what you are going to do and what you are going to hire out you will probably have the best outcome.

To be more specific to your question though… yes an amateur can lay the brick but I don't recommend it. I do recommend you learn about the electrical and plumbing because that is something you can definitely do. But you'll need to be proficient at it and be very well self taught or go take some classes. It will have to pass code, so don't worry that it will be screwed up. Just know how to do it right the first time and what the local codes are and you won't have any problems. Teach yourself all you can about construction framing too as well as finish construction. Again, take classes if you need them for these areas too.

In the end you'll save a ton of cash and have the pride of living in a home you built yourself and you'll also know it inside out.

Good luck to you and I hope this is helpful!