What Are the Different Types of Brick Tools?

Robert Ferguson

Installing brick requires various types of specialized tools. The most common types of brick tools are trowels, levels and hammers. Other types consist of bolsters, cold chisels and hawks. Proper maintenance of brick tools ensures tool longevity, enhances job safety and reduces the chance they will fail on the job.

A brick trowel and bricks.
A brick trowel and bricks.

Trowels are essential when laying brick or block. There are two main types required for any brick job: the brick trowel and the pointing trowel. The brick trowel comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The smaller pointing trowel is used for different types of pointing and finishing work on the brick.

A measuring tape.
A measuring tape.

The next group of brick tools is the levels, which are used to plumb, or vertically align, and level, or horizontally align, the bricks as they are laid. Two types of levels are necessary when laying brick, the spirit level and the boat level. The larger spirit level is used for larger areas of the wall while the much smaller boat level is used to level individual bricks. Corner blocks, tingle plates, lines and pins act as guides during brick wall construction.

A wheelbarrow is often used to help mix the mortar by hand.
A wheelbarrow is often used to help mix the mortar by hand.

Hammers are a part of most construction projects and laying brick is no different. The club or lump hammer is used in conjunction with the bolster and/or cold chisel. The brick hammer and comb hammer are similar tools used to clean up the edges of cut bricks or letting cables during stucco work.The bolster is used primarily for cutting bricks while the smaller cold chisel is more efficient at cutting into brickwork after installation.

Brickbat gauges, hawks and steel measuring tapes are also necessary components when installing brick. A brickbat gauge maintains a regular size when cutting, and the hawk is an efficient way to hold the mortar during pointing. Finally, after a section of wall is complete, jointing tools are used to apply the final changes to the brick joints.

Other types of brick tools to consider during brick laying are shovels, wheelbarrows and scaffolding. The wheelbarrow and shovel are used to mix the mortar by hand. Larger jobs require a more efficient means of mortar mixing, such as a motorized cement or mortar mixer. Depending on wall height, scaffolding may be required to allow workers to reach the top of the brick wall. As with any aspect of construction, safety rules and regulations should be followed and workers should always wear safety glasses and hard hats to help prevent injury.

Trowels are essential when laying brick.
Trowels are essential when laying brick.

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Discussion Comments


@talentryto- I think that a plastic trowel will work fine as long as you are careful not to break it. Though you definitely will have to be more gentle with it than you would a metal trowel, it will still get the job done.

However, if you have a project to do that requires a lot of mortar and bricks, you might just want to invest in a metal trowel. Plastic trowels do have the tendency to break after a lot of wear and tear. In the long run, you could possibly save money if you get a trowel that will hold up after using it to do a lot of work.


Has anyone every used a plastic trowel for doing brick work? I have a project planned for my patio this year, and I am trying to save money. I noticed that plastic trowels are much less expensive than those that are made of metal. I'm concerned that they may not hold up very well though for doing a big project.

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