Masonry a Broad Profession with Several Sub-Specialties


At least some type of masonry is a necessary part of every home or business structure. From decorative brickwork to common concrete masonry, it is a craft that has several sub specialty contractors.

Homeowners who are screening a potential masonry contractor can evaluate the expertise of the contractor by asking pointed questions about the various types of masonry:

Masonry Professions

Concrete masonry is the most common type of masonry. It involves pouring concrete slabs, foundations, bridge pilings, and walkways. Some applications require a high level of expertise, such as pouring a large reinforced slab or foundation. Others are more simple, such as pouring a sidewalk.

One innovative new type of concrete masonry is a technique of energy efficient home building. Concrete walls are poured into high density foam forms; the forms remain in place and actually become part of the wall.

Block masonry is another common type of masonry. Concrete block is assembled with mortar (like brick) to build foundation or structural walls. The blocks have a void in the center. The reinforced design utilizes these voids, filling them with rebar and mortar to tie them together; producing a very durable structure.

This type reinforced concrete structure offers a high level of strength, even in earthquake situations.

Stone masonry is the assembly of structural walls or durable decorative surfaces with any of a variety of different types of stone; including river rock, granite, marble, travertine, or even stone tile or ceramic tile. Stone masonry includes structures with large stones, which are numbered and placed in sequence according to plan drawings. Metal brackets are sometimes attached to large stones or blocks; brackets are then bolted or welded to secure the stone in place.

One of the most common tasks homeowners contract a stonemason for is proper installation of shower tile.

Brick masonry involves the building of a structural brick wall using brick and mortar. A high level of precision is required to set up corners and plumb lines, to keep courses of brick level and plumb. The corners are set using either the corner pole method or corner lead method by a master brick mason. The courses of brick between corners that make the wall are frequently completed by less experienced workmen; under the guidance of the master, of course.

Brick masonry also includes all aspects of fireplace construction. Including properly installing a brick fireplace, chimney construction, and chimney repair. Fireplace chimney fires are commonplace; an improperly installed chimney can subject the entire structure to total fire loss.

Refractory masonry is a highly specialized type of brick masonry used for extreme high temperature applications. Including brick refractory beds to carry molten metal from blow furnaces to rolling machines. Refractory masonry is so precise that any construction flaws in refractory brick work could result in serious injury or fatality.

Establish a Masonry Contractor's Qualifications for a Project

Since any one of these specialty areas is often a profession in and of itself, homeowners seeking the services of a masonry contractor should establish the area of their training, certification and expertise.

For instance, a general concrete masonry contractor might be a poor choice for a fireplace and chimney construction project. Just as a brick mason might not be right for pouring a large slab or foundation.

New Innovations in Design Masonry

There are new innovations in concrete masonry which offer homeowners an affordable approach to design masonry and building an energy efficient home. A growing number of concrete masonry contractors now specialize in reinforced concrete homes. High density foam board is used for concrete forms to pour the walls. They remain “in place” after concrete is set, becoming part of the wall structure.

Rebar and plumbing pipe is coursed throughout the concrete walls and floors; rebar provides tensile strength in the concrete. Hot or cold water is pumped through the plumbing, providing auxiliary heating or cooling for the home. In areas where geothermally heated water is available, this provides for an extremely energy efficient home since water does not have to be mechanically heated with a boiler.

In areas where irrigation water is available, homeowners can pipe cool irrigation water through the plumbing before it reaches the cultivated crop or field, providing an energy efficient means of cooling the home during summer.

A growing number of homeowners are turning to another popular approach of design masonry; using a poured concrete slab for the finished floor surface. Specialty concrete masonry contractors offer decorative options to make a poured slab aesthetically appealing. Using decorative design stamps to put imprints in the concrete is one approach, with or without the use of acid staining to give the concrete a look of natural stone.

Yet another incredibly innovative approach is to use a concrete saw to cut a ¼-inch deep grid on a poured concrete floor, leaving uniform squares of 6 to 24-inches. Using acid stain, which makes the concrete look like natural stone; and then filling the saw cuts with grout, which makes the entire floor look like natural stone tile.

How to Locate a Local Masonry Contractor

At homeowners anywhere in Canada can locate a local reliable specialty masonry contractor for these or other construction masonry projects. Whether seeking the services of an Ontario brick mason, or an Alberta concrete masonry contractor for innovative design masonry features, project owners sign up without cost or obligation, and post their project online.

Project details are immediately visible to local contractors in their community 24/7, who receive e-mail notification of project information. They have the option to provide the project owner with competitive bids in just days, even hours after project posting.

Project owners can view company profile pages, references, insurance-licensing-certification credentials, and customer feedback online; and also view photos of recently completed projects. And then make an informed hiring decision; make contact with the contractor of choice, or contact no one at all. Remember, there is no obligation whatsoever.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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