Masonry is an ancient craft and art. It dates back thousands of years. The first written record of the term “Master Mason” is found in the Regis Manuscript of about 1390. The oldest stonemason tools and practices date back to prehistoric times. However, the exact origins of these tools and techniques are a mystery. Similarly, the origins of geometric symbols and the geometry used by stonemasons are lost in the mists of time.
Masonry is primarily used in non-structural applications such as infill for concrete and steel frames. The term masonry is often confused with concrete as a construction material. However, there are significant differences between the two. A concrete block is a good example of a masonry structure. In addition to its structural properties, a concrete block can be painted, ribbed, sandblasted, or striated.
Before hiring a masonry contractor, be sure to research the company. Find out what previous customers have to say about their experience with the contractor. Check whether they have completed a project similar to yours. Check out the company’s company page on online directories and read reviews. If the company has a testimonial page on these sites, it may be worth it to hire them for your project. This way, you can be sure that the company has the right skill set to complete your project and that they have satisfied clients.
You can use concrete blocks for landscaping purposes. You can use them to build steps, flowerbeds, and fire pits. Granite is also an excellent countertop material, as it can withstand spills better than many other materials. Granite tiles are especially popular in bathrooms. Another great use for natural stone is as a retaining wall. They can add character and draw attention to the landscaping. If you’re planning to use masonry, consult with a professional before starting any project.
Aside from the materials used for masonry, you’ll need a keen eye for symmetry. Because the natural materials used are non-uniform in size, masonry workers must be able to understand the building structure as well as building codes. Some of the masonry jobs require carpentry skills, as forms for openings may require structural steel. You’ll also need to learn how to install lintels, which support openings.
Brick masonry requires less skilled labor, as bricks are cheaper and easier to handle. Brick walls are thinner and lighter than stone walls, but bricks have a lower resistance to tension loads. Unlike stone, bricks are limited in size and color. Finishing bricks requires plasterwork, which increases the cost of construction. Nevertheless, the results can be stunning. If you’re looking for a masonry contractor to add value to your home, a brick masonry contractor can be your best option.
The choice of masonry materials has always been influenced by the geological formations of a given region. Ancient Egyptian temples, for example, were made of limestone, sandstone, granite, basalt, and porphyry. By contrast, prehistoric peoples in western Asia didn’t have easy access to stone outcrops and used clay deposits. Ancient Egypt used elaborate stonemasonry techniques, which culminated in pyramids.
Masonry construction uses mortar to keep various masonry materials together. This material contains lime that helps make it stick to the ends of masonry units. Mortars from the nineteenth century contained lime and worked well with soft bricks. Today, mortars are made with various additives and come in a variety of formulations. In addition to the basic cement, masonry materials may be bricks, concrete blocks, or glass blocks. The quality of materials used, their size, and the method in which they are laid all determine how long they will last and how strong they are.
Although masonry construction is durable, extreme weather conditions can degrade the surface. Concrete block and certain types of brick are susceptible to frost damage, which is why non-concrete brick should be used in climates with frost. Masonry buildings must also be built on a firm foundation that is reinforced with concrete. In areas with expansive soils, more elaborate foundations are required. Depending on the type of masonry, structural engineers may be needed.
Concrete block, bricks, and stone are some of the most common masonry materials. These masonry materials can be load-bearing or veneer-bearing. They all have different strengths, and the correct proportions can make a big difference. Adding too much water can weaken the concrete, so using volumetric mixers is necessary. And, as a bonus, concrete blocks are fire resistant, and can be applied to a wide range of building materials.