How to Lay a Brick Border (Lay a Brick Roll lock)

installed brick border roll lock diy home improvement project

Our patio porch has been an ongoing project for several years. In this post, we will share how we laid a brick border (brick roll lock) around the edge of our patio porch. A brick roll lock is a series of bricks laid on their face with their ends visible.

Purpose of laying a brick border (roll lock)

We wanted the brick to frame what would become our porch tile floor and knew it was best to install the brick edging (roll lock) prior to installing the tile.

This was a challenging project for us because we had not done much brickwork until this project. However, we wanted to save money and knew we could do this if we took our time. We purchased brick that was already installed over our basement windows.

Here are the steps we took: 

We laid out the bricks to get a feel for how many we would need.

Mixing Mortar

We mixed sand and mortar.

And then added water and stirred with a hoe.

We made a mortar base using a trowel. This was Neal’s job.

man making a mortar bed for porch floor

Laying Brick

We “buttered” each brick allowing some of the mortar to seep into each hole in the brick. This was my job.

mortar on red brick

Neal placed the brick adjacent to the previous brick.

hands laying next red brick on mortar bed as porch floor border

Checking Levelness

We checked to be sure they were level as we laid each brick.

level on row of red bricks

We also used a string as our guide – – to be sure the row of brick was level as we went.

mortar bed, row of bricks, and string level

Our sweet Daisy decided to eat some of the sand.

Double Checking our Height

After laying the brick, we planned to install the tile. Hence, we used one of the actual tiles over a thin board (to compensate for the thin set to adhere to the tile) to account for the thickness. This allowed us to double-check the accuracy of our brick roll lock height.

dark gray tile laid by brick border on porch floor

Cutting Bricks

Because the porch floor gradually sloped (to allow rainwater to run off), we had to cut some of the bricks on the two sides of the porch to make them the right height.

row of red brick with arrow and note saying we cut some of the brick to be the right height

We rented a brick saw from Home Depot.

cutting brick with brick cutter

Daisy was inspecting our progress.

brick border with string as level and a dog

Cutting Bricks for Corners

Here is how we did the corners. We cut the end and side out of one brick.

Then we cut the flat side off of another brick.

We mortared in the first corner piece.

After it dried, we mortared in the flat piece.

Cutting Bricks Around Columns

We also had to cut the ends off of a few bricks around some of the columns.

cut bricks around white column under construction

Here is the front side.

brick border with string as level


After about an hour or two (when the mortar started drying), we brushed each joint to give it a smoother finish.

man brushing excess mortar off of bricks on porch edging

And then we rested.

dog with head on red brick

The Final Result!

Here is the final result.

porch with arrows pointing to newly installed simulated stone

Now that our brick edging (roll lock) has been installed, our next step was installing tile on our porch floor.

To see more posts about our porch transformation, check out some of these links:

To see how we TOTALLY transformed our porch, click HERE.

Porch transformation

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Thanks for reading our blog! Tell us what you think or if you have any questions about how to lay a brick roll lock (brick border) by commenting below.


  1. Barbara on 07/30/2019 at 8:49 PM

    You guys are good!

  2. Caroline on 07/31/2019 at 10:16 AM

    Your puppy is cute!

  3. Kelly on 07/31/2019 at 12:48 PM

    How thick is the mortar base? How long did this project take?

    • Suzanne on 07/31/2019 at 4:10 PM

      Hey Kelly,
      Our mortar base was about a half-inch thick. This project took a full weekend. We added a brick border to three sides of our porch and had to cut several bricks on two of the sides due to the slope on the concrete.
      Thanks for reading our blog!

  4. LeeAnn on 07/31/2019 at 3:52 PM

    This is amazing! I am so impressed with all the planning that had to go into this project. I never would have thought about cutting the sides of the bricks to have a finished edge. How did you and Neal figure out how to even begin this project? You SERIOUSLY need to have your own show! I would TOTALLY watch! I can’t wait to see what else you do to your beautiful house! Thanks for sharing!

    • Suzanne on 07/31/2019 at 4:12 PM

      Hey LeeAnn,

      You are too kind! Your comment made me laugh! We watched a lot of YouTube videos and just took it slow (sort of figured it out as we went). Next week, we will share the total porch transformation!

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  5. How We Built Our Porch Columns on 08/13/2019 at 8:10 PM

    […] How to Create a Brick Border (Lay a Brick Roll lock) July 25, 2019 […]

  6. Loretta on 02/24/2021 at 8:02 AM

    I love your helper Daisy your dog, the porch, tile, and the brickwork it looks great. I’m sure you and your family will enjoy it.

    • Suzanne on 02/24/2021 at 12:00 PM

      You are so sweet to comment. We love our Daisy. She thinks she is our supervisor. Thanks also for your affirming words about our porch. We really enjoy it.
      Thanks for visiting my blog!

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