Masonry is a broad term that can be used to describe many different types of construction. There’s brick and stone masonry, concrete block masonry, and even glass block installation. All of these require various tools for successful completion, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before diving in headfirst.

Masonry is also one of the oldest trades in human history. It has been used to build castles, cathedrals, and other historic structures to modern-day homes. Masonry is an integral part of our everyday lives. This blog post will give you a comprehensive guide on all aspects of masonry so that you can learn more about this craft and how it impacts your life every day.

What is Masonry?

Masonry is the art of building structures from stone or brick. The earliest use of masonry was in Ancient Egypt, where builders would build pyramids with stone blocks by stacking them on top of one another.  One architectural feature that uses this principle is columns found at many different historical sites worldwide.  Masons use mortar to bind together concrete blocks while using stone as their building material.

What are the Types of Masonry?

Brick Masonry

Brick masonry is a classic and timeless building material to use in your home. It’s also one of the most durable, long-lasting materials for any project you may be considering. Bricks are made from clay or shale that have been baked in an oven at high temperatures until they’re hard enough to withstand the weight of buildings on top of them. Bricks can be used as part-time or full-time construction material depending on what you need to do with your house or building and whether you want something temporary or permanent. 

Stone Masonry

Stonemasonry is a type of material where the blocks are made from natural stones, such as granite or limestone. These blocks can be used for building houses and other structures. Blocks can also be cut and polished, so they have an even surface and design on all sides. The most common types of stones used for these purposes are sandstone, marble, travertine, slate, and granite. 

Concrete Masonry

Concrete masonry is a way of building that uses concrete as its primary material. It’s often used to build foundations or exterior walls. This construction technique has been on the rise over the last few years because it provides many benefits, including low maintenance, energy-efficient, durable against natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, fireproofing properties for insulation from heat sources such as radiators or space heaters. Concrete Masonry is most often used in condos and commercial buildings, but it has recently become popular among homeowners.

Read More: Concrete vs. Brick Pavers: Pros and Cons

Techniques in Stone Masonry

Traditional Dry-Stack

Dry-stack is a technique in stone masonry that the Romans first popularized. It involves stacking stones without mortar, and as such, has been used for centuries to create buildings or walls from stones found naturally on-site. Although this technique can be challenging to execute, it offers many benefits, including durability, weather resistance, and versatility. 

Traditional Mortared Stone Technique

The traditional mortared stone technique is a simple building technique that has been used for centuries to create sturdy, durable structures. The process involves laying stones on top of one another and filling the spaces with mortar. 

Modern Veneered Stone Technique

The modern veneered stone technique is a modern take on the classic stone wall.  It typically involves a 3-inch wide strip of veneer being applied to the front of an existing wall with adhesive or cement mortar, and it can be used both inside and outside homes. 

Slipform Stone Technique

The slipform stone technique builds up a wall by creating a form in which stones are placed. Next, the material is poured in, and the next layer of stone is added on top when it hardens. This process continues until there are no more layers to add. It’s often used for retaining walls or other structures that are not load-bearing. 

Framed-One Side Stone Technique

Framed-one side stone technique is a traditional way to build brick walls using exterior stone on one side of the structure with interior framing. The formwork for this type of masonry has been completed before construction begins. This technique creates an intense visual impact while also protecting the movement of the walls due to natural forces like earthquakes  and storms since no part will move outwards unsupported by another portion within its thicknesses.

Tilt-up Stone Technique

The tilt-up stone technique is a construction technique that allows for the quick and easy construction of residential or commercial buildings. Tilt-ups are typically made from reinforced concrete or brick panels erected on top of each other using cranes until the desired height is reached. This method can be used to quickly construct any type of building without pouring concrete footings, which saves time and money. 

Essential Masonry Tools

Margin Trowel

A margin trowel is a tool used for applying stucco, plaster, or concrete. It has a flat blade with an edge that can be scraped to produce the proper thickness of the material. The trowel is usually made of metal, and it typically has one or more handles on each side so that it can be held by two hands when needed. A margin trowel is also referred to as a “plasterer’s trowel.” A margin trowel comes in handy for professionals working with these materials because they often need to apply them then scrape away any excess material. They may also use this tool to finish up patches on walls where there are holes or cracks in the surface.

V- or Square-Notch Trowel

The V- or Square-Notch Trowel is a multipurpose tool that can be used for various purposes. This trowel has a pointed, flat blade with either V-shaped indentations or square notches on edge. The blade is typically made from metal and the handle from wood. When using this trowel to smooth mortar, it should be applied in small amounts at a time evenly over the surface. As you apply more mortar, make sure to rake it well so that there are no lumps left behind when smoothing out the surface of your brickwork. 

Cold Chisel

A cold chisel is a tool that can be used to remove material from metal, wood, or stone. They come in different sizes and shapes, depending on their intended use.  The most common type of cold chisel is a flat-edged blade with a sharp point at one end for prying loose material and cutting grooves and a curved edge on the other side to allow more control when shaping objects. A cold chisel has many purposes, including cutting away mortar around brickwork, forming joints between stones, removing old stonework without damaging newer work nearby.

Brick Hammer or Masons’ Hammer

A brick hammer is a tool used by masons to break bricks. It has a long handle and an oblong head typically made of steel or aluminum, with one flat side for striking the brick. The flat face can be either at right angles to the handle (hammer-headed) or parallel (claw-headed). A brick hammer may also have a curved claw on its back end that can be used for pulling out nails from old bricks. Brick hammers are usually sold in hardware stores, and they vary in price according to their size and weight. 

Wire Brush

A wire brush is a hand tool with bristles on one side. Wire brushes are often used to scrub the paint off of brick, metal, and other surfaces. The bristles allow the user to scrub hard-to-reach places without scratching or damaging the surface. Wire brushes come in different shapes and sizes to be used for various purposes; some wire brushes have long handles that make them easier to use when standing upright, while others are designed to be held like a traditional hand brush. 

Advantages of Masonry Construction

Fire Resistant

If you live in an area prone to fires, or if your home has experienced a previous fire, then adding masonry construction should be considered for your new project. Masonry walls are made of brick, stone, or other similar materials that provide additional insulation from the heat generated by a fire. The thickness of the masonry wall can also act as an insulator against higher temperatures because it slows down how quickly the heat can penetrate through the wall. 

Durable

The durability of masonry stonework cannot be overstated. Masonry has been sheltering people throughout history, most notably when other materials were scarce or nonexistent. Today it continues to provide a reliable form of protection through its strength and longevity. 

Sound Proof

Concrete masonry is an ideal sound barrier for homeowners who want to block out a neighboring residence or business noise. It can also be used in commercial settings where customers need to be separated from noisy machinery and equipment, such as retail stores. 

Energy-Efficient

The main benefit of masonry construction is its high thermal efficiency. Meaning, it keeps your house warmer in winter and cooler in summer than other types of homes. This positively affects our environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels like natural gas or oil heating systems. Masonry homes also have less exterior wall surface area exposed to the sun, an essential factor when considering solar heat gain into your living space during warmer months.

Cost-Effective

Masonry construction is the most cost-effective way to build your home. This type of construction has been in use for centuries, and it comes with a long list of benefits. It’s affordable, durable, and easy to maintain than other building methods. 

Disadvantages of Masonry Construction

Requires Strong Foundation

One of the cons of masonry construction is that it requires a stronger foundation than other types of homes. This is because masonry weighs more than traditional wood-frame houses, so the foundation needs to support its weight over time. In addition, the foundations for these buildings must also account for any load-bearing walls to hold up against seismic activity or heavy winds.

Absorbs Moisture

Masonry construction absorbs moisture when it rains. This is sometimes called “wet in wet” and can lead to cracks, spalling, and deterioration of surfaces over time. In addition, masonry construction does not dry out uniformly. Instead, water will penetrate the surface layer and then move down into the core, where it can cause mortar or grout joints to deteriorate.

Color Deterioration

The color of masonry materials can be affected by extreme weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy rainfall that cause the moisture to penetrate deep into the material.  This will lead to discoloration that is most visible at joints between different colored masonry units.

Read Next: Masonry Repairs and Restorations: When Do You Need It?