Explore photos of various new masonry styles to inspire your next renovation
Brick is one of the most popular material because it is available most anywhere and lasts upwards of 100 years. Brick is made out of fired clay with a variety of different colors available. One other advantage to brick is that it will not catch on fire or be eaten by termites. Brick may be more expensive than other exterior finishes; however, the cost savings and lack of maintenance is worth the price in the long run.
Next, stone is another option that is durable, attractive and a more expensive product. Although it is a product that will last a lifetime, stone is not as readily available as brick. Plus there are some stones that just will not work as effectively as brick - as some stone may be too soft or porous. Specifically, water is a stones worst enemy and because it is porous it can freeze and thaw, thus creating cracks.
One way to preserve stone is to have it properly preserved. Where brick needs maintenance after 25 years, stone must be checked each year, particularly after a heavy rainstorm.Â When you do check the stone, ensure that it is at least four hours after the rainstorm. If you find any dark patches in the stone, that will indicate that water soaked into the stone which will need fixing in the future.
The third alternative is to purchase manufactured brick and stone. The advantage is that the products are offered at a lower price. Specifically, what appears to be stone or brick may very well be concrete-manufactured stone veneer or cultured stone and is lightweight.
The materials contained in the manufactured brick and stone is Portland cement, natural aggregates and iron oxide pigments. They are then poured into molds to create the look of real stone. The end result is different styles and colored stones that look like the real thing.
Concrete blocks, or what is referred to as architectural blocks, are another option that is attractive and virtually indestructible. The look resembles granite, hand-hewn stone or tile with decorative finishes. This type of material is more common with industrial buildings and it should last from 50 to 80 years. All the maintenance required for this product would be to fix the joints after 25 years.
However, concrete blocks will need to have a water seal applied every 10 years as they are not waterproof like bricks. The types of water seals that should be applied, which are the best are silane and siloxane. These can be applied by spraying them - the sealant soaks into the concrete just as rain does.
One option that is not mentioned above is to use, used bricks. This is becoming a more and more popular with homeowners who want an antique look. Since brick is so durable, the worn-look will add character or charm to a home, archway or patio.
If you are thinking about a project such as this, hiring a professional to ensure that the job is done right would be prudent. Working with masonry can be tricky if you are a novice. This material is much too expensive to make mistakes with; plus think of all the time and frustration you will save from having a professional do the work?