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I'm an experienced DIY'er here in the upper midwest of the United States and was planning on building my own stick built 16x24 foot detached garage this fall 2021 or spring 2022. As we all know, the price of wood has skyrocketed and I'm intrigued by the thought of building my own garage from brick and block. When I look for information on the internet about how this is done, all I find are examples in the UK or Europe. My internet searches suggest this is an unheard of notion here in the United States for a DIY'er to build their own garage from brick and my local library has no books on hand about building brick structures. My guess is this mostly comes down to economics since wood here has always been less money, but my rough math now suggests otherwise.

So anybody have experience or advice building with brick stateside? Or any resources such as websites or books? I would sub out the foundation, but do the rest myself. Please don't say "this is best for a pro" unless you have experience why. Again, I have experience building stick built but admittedly no brick laying experience and I'd like to change that. Thanks!

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    Do a search on CMU (concrete masonry unit) wall construction, the old common brick is a rarity these days in the US. Laying brick isn't that difficult, but watch out for how the roof is to be attached, you need to know and prepare the connections. Another concern is the building permit. I think you shall visit the local building department to get the required information. If you are lucky, they might point out where to get the standard plan for the garage.
    – r13
    Apr 30 at 2:52
  • There could quite possibly be legal requirement for an engineer or mason to do necessary planning and calculations as what you build would be load bearing.
    – K H
    Apr 30 at 3:00
  • @KH -- IRC R606 provides prescriptive details for masonry construction with CMUs Apr 30 at 3:35
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    This is an excellent question, and I encourage you to pursue it. Unfortunately, it's far to broad for this forum. Edit it down to something more particular (how do I set the starter course, how do I finish the top course for setting rafters, etc) and I'm sure you'll get good answers.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 30 at 11:58
  • There certainly are books. Some may be elderly books, but they are out there. CMU (concrete block) with a brick veneer if you really want the look of brick is more common than straight up brick, mostly due to relative costs. "Blockbond" should at least be looked into (drystack blocks and bind with a reinforced stucco on both sides.) Upper midwest you may also need to consider insulation, which can be very simple (if you choose an exterior foam insulation and stucco finish for the outside) or involved on up to dual walls with a cavity.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 30 at 14:30
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Concrete block garages (and homes!) are quite common in the Southwest. You can go smooth, or get a facing to provide any look you desire. Your foundation is absolute key here. If you haven't done any masonry work at all, I would suggest that you find a contractor to do the work, and get yourself a discount by working as a journeyman/laborer alongside him/her, and get that "sweat equity education" at the same time.

You need to learn your mixing, leveling, siting (running your strings and keeping it all squared at each level, in 3 dimensions) curing times, lintels, doorways, and how to plan for framing them all to mate up with the block. If you really don't want to work with anyone, then I'd recommend you start small and build a concrete block fire pit and/or oven. You can learn how to set your foundation, build your corners, as well as get a feeling for working with the materials.

My go-to guide has always been the "Reader's Digest Complete Do-it-yourself Manual." It not only walks you through how to set everything up, but also has helpful hints on the little extras you need to do when building with masonry. Lots of info crammed into 40 pages.

Good luck with your project!

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