Do you ever see a gorgeous stone or brick building and wonder what went in to constructing it? How someone had the know how to have it all come together or how long and tedious the task was? Masonry is the building of structures like retaining walls, buildings, patios and chimneys, using individual units like brick and stone. They bricks and stones are laid and the sealed together using mortar. There can be a multitude of materials that make up masonry structures:
People have been using masonry as a building technique for hundreds of years. It is common in historical homes and buildings because stones were readily available in these times. There are so many advantages to choosing masonry as a means to build:
- Masonry is very fire retardant. This provides extra protection for your loved ones and your valued possessions when building a home using masonry.
- Materials used in masonry do not require being painted. They have a classic look that will not need to be changed every few years like other options.
- With dangers of flying debris in natural disasters, masonry stands strong.
- The longevity and professional build of masonry will provide you with a home or structure for centuries to come, whereas a building made of newer and cheaper materials have shelf lives of 30 to 100 years. This is why there are so many historical homes and buildings made using masonry that still exist. Across the world, there are medieval cathedrals and buildings that have lasted the test of time for centuries.
Masonry does not just involve the art of building structures using stones, it entails the science of formulating the perfect mortar. Throughout history, many different ingredients have been used to mix mortar. From sand, clay, animal hair and brick dust to lime and Portland cement, getting the precise recipe for mortar right is pertinent to an excellent masonry job. Mortar plays an important part in the life of the structure that is built. Not only does the mortar hold the stones in place, it also allows for movement of stones as the structure moves and fluctuates. In order to achieve this balance between mortar and stone, the mortar must be lighter than the stones. It also must accommodate the flow of water. When water gets trapped in the bricks or stones during freezing temperatures, the water expands and cause cracks and crumbling.
Types of Structures
- Commercial or residential buildings can be built using masonry techniques. With proper maintenance, this buildings can last for centuries.
- Chimneys can be beautifully crafted from stones to create a stunning focal point on your home.
- Patios can be designed to suit the needs of your home or business.
- Retaining walls can add the finishing touch to your property.
The stones and bricks used in masonry are very environmentally friendly. They are slow to absorb and lose heat making them more energy efficient. Because of this, commercial buildings and homes built using masonry require less insulation. Since masonry does not burn in a fire, it does not emit toxic gases. The structures, when done properly, can last for hundreds of years. The materials used in masonry are recyclable.
Because there is such a large variety of materials that can be used in masonry, there is thus a large variety of colors and patterns that can be achieved in the design of a structure. Because each stone is laid by hand, extra care can be taken to create stunning visual effects by staggering stones of different colors and styles.
Masonry is impervious to bad weather. Tested to endure 120 mph winds, some tests show it can even survive 170 mph winds. The stones used in masonry do not mold or provide a source of nutrition for mold spores.
Masonry has been around for over 6,000 years because it has been proven to stand the test of time. It holds up well to the elements and makes a lasting impression in the community. Masons are skilled craftsman and artists who can create beautiful structures that will last a lifetime.