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Build a terracotta skylight

For the construction of cloisters, the manufacturers propose terracotta elements of various shapes, offering a large number of possibilities in exterior decoration and design. The independent elements make it easy to build decorative partitions, without major work. A claustria mounted on a terrace, against a wall, cuts the wind and protects from prying eyes.

Necessary material

  • Wooden ruler
  • Pencil
  • Trowel
  • Bubble level
  • Hammer
  • Auge
  • Cat tongue trowel
  • Cleats (1 cm2 section)
  • Bastard mortar

Draw the partition on the floor with a long wooden ruler

Draw the partition on the floor with a long wooden ruler

1. Since the wall of the wall is mounted on the solid, level surface of a brick terrace, it is not necessary to use other foundations. First make the outline of the partition on the floor, using a long wooden ruler. Place two elements along this line, then draw another parallel line to the ruler: this materializes the thickness of the wall and its footprint on the ground. Do not expect a wall too high, its strength would feel.

Apply a layer of mortar on the ground between the two cleats delimiting the soleplate

Apply a layer of mortar on the ground between the two cleats delimiting the soleplate

2. Start the construction by laying the first element against the wall. Using a trowel, apply a layer of mortar, called "bastard", to the ground with lime and cement. Two wooden battens define the width of the sole. Place the claustria element in its place, aligning it with the lines drawn previously. Check its horizontality with a bubble level adjust its position, if necessary, by giving small strokes of the handle of the trowel.

Put a second element at the other end and check its horizontality

Put a second element at the other end and check its horizontality

3. Place a second element, at the other end, about 1.50 m from the first. Check its horizontality using the bubble level. To find the exact position of the elements, perform a provisional installation (without mortar) using wooden blocks of the same section to maintain a regular spacing between them.

Check the level of the first two elements with a wooden board

Check the level of the first two elements with a wooden board

4. Place a wooden board with the edges well set on both end pieces, and check with the bubble level that they are level. If necessary, press one of the elements more or less into the mortar base so that it is at the desired height. Put in place elements between the first two using the shims to maintain a constant spacing. Always check the horizontality of the pose.

Arrange the cleats on the edges of the elements of the first row

Arrange the cleats on the edges of the elements of the first row

5. Conceal the mortar joints so that the trellis looks good. Use long, thin and straight wooden battens (10 x 10 mm section) and arrange them on the edges of the elements in the first row. In this construction, there are no joints between adjacent elements of the same row: they are independent of each other.

The cleats, removed at the end of work, ensure a constant space between the elements

The cleats, removed at the end of work, ensure a constant space between the elements

6. To mount the wall, place mortar between the cleats and install the upper element. The cleats ensure a constant space between the elements. Place a sufficient amount of mortar for the elements to adhere well: immediately remove the excess by trowel cat tongue. Remove the wooden cleats before the mortar is fully set.

(photos / visuals: © DIY-Prod, except special mention)

On the same topic

  • DIY tips
    • Masonry: materials, products and proportions
    • To put a fence in roasting panels
    • To build a brick cloister
    • Realize a masonry wall made of rough stones for the garden
    • Dry stone wall
    • How to create a decorative wall?
    • How to mess bastard mortar in trough?

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