Essential Masonry Tools

A trowel resting on top of a cinder block wall with mortar.

For DIY enthusiasts, the first step before starting any project is having the right tools on hand. If your next improvement project involves masonry, the following list provides a comprehensive toolkit designed to make the job easier. The project will determine the type and size of tools needed for the job. The tools on this list each have specific uses. Some are best suited for small DIY projects, while others may be necessary for larger and more involved masonry projects.

Bucket and sponge - A bucket can be used to carry water to mix mortar and as a place to clean tools with a sponge.

Mashing hammer - A mashing hammer, or mash hammer, is a durable tool with two sturdy ends both used for striking. Once a blocking chisel is in place, the hammer is used to strike the tool, resulting in a cleanly cut piece of masonry.

Blocking chisel - When struck with a mashing hammer, the heavy steel chisel provides a clean cut that usually requires only one quick strike of the hammer.

A man using a blocking chisel and mash hammer on a masonry site.

Brushes - Soft bristle brushes are used to remove powder residue from blocks, while a stiff bristle brush can be used along with a cleaning solution to remove stains from masonry.

Chalk line - If your project involves laying block on a concrete foundation, such as a porch or patio, a chalk line is used to leave a chalk (either red or blue) marking between points to ensure the alignment of the blocks or bricks.

Stonemason's hammer - A stonemason's hammer features a small chisel on one end and a hammer on the other. The chisel portion is used to cut around masonry, such as brick or block. The hammer portion is then applied with a quick striking motion to provide a clean cut.

A stonemason's hammer on a pile of bricks

Large hoe - Make mixing more thorough by manually using a large hoe with a blade containing two holes. The blade can move more freely through the mixture, which allows any lumps that may have formed to brake down into small pieces.

Level - Whether you're pouring a patio, building a barbecue pit, or constructing a brick wall around the garden, a level ensures the block, brick, or slab is even both vertically and horizontally.

Mason's line - An alternative to the level when creating a wall, a mason's line makes straight lines of block or brick more accurate.

A mason's line going across a brick wall as it's being built

Mixing paddle - This tool is used to thoroughly mix the mortar and may have a single or dual-head electric motor.

Power saw - A handheld power saw provides the same result as a cutting block with a chisel and hammer, only it's much faster and provides a cleaner cut.

Power angle grinder - The grinder is designed to cut stone and can also be used to smooth out rough areas on masonry.

A power angle grinder on brick

Safety goggles - Any time you're working with materials that can chip or break and strike you in the eye, it's always important to wear safety glasses.

Steel square - Whether you're creating a rectangle or square wall for the home, pool area, patio, porch, or garden, aligning corners is important. A steel square tool is designed to keep corners at the right angle or degree.

Wheelbarrow - This is the perfect mobile container to mix and move mortar.

A wheelbarrow with mortar mixed in it

Square edged shovel - A useful tool for many projects requiring scooping or shifting loose material. In masonry projects, a square edge shovel can be used to move the necessary materials.

Trowel - Trowels are available in different size blade widths from 4-7 inches to 9-12 inches with a blade shape that's long and triangular. Small trowels are used for scraping off mortar when too much has been applied and applying mortar to areas in need of repair. Large trowels are generally used to spread the mortar mixture.