Masonry is one of the oldest forms of construction. Thousands of years ago, masonry was the skill the Greeks used on their temples, the Romans used it to build the coliseum, and the Egyptians used masonry to build the pyramids. Throughout history, the art of masonry has been a foundation for all modern buildings.
Today, masonry is used in the foundations of structures as well as retaining walls for holding back dirt, creating walls for structures, and for exterior finishes with brick or stone.
Not only is masonry a structural craft, but it is also used in creating decorative and functional stone fireplaces, stone decorative walls, or other artistic features on a structure. For example, in Paris, the famous gothic cathedral Notre Dame is a good example of decorative stone masonry work.
Keys to Masonry
The main key to any type of masonry is mortar. No matter what kind of masonry you use- most brick, stone, or block needs mortar to hold the pieces of the structure together. Mortar is a mixture of sand, a type of cement, and water. That said, some of the ancient techniques didn’t use mortar, such as techniques used in building Hawaiian style rock walls or the pyramids in Egypt.
The use of string lines is an important way to keep everything lined up so the project stays plumb and level as you move forward in progress. This is extremely integral to any project, as even the slightest inconsistency can require you to tear down and rebuild to keep the structural integrity. Also, extra care must be taken to be detailed and precise, because you are installing individual small pieces that need to be kept in perfect alignment.
The type of material or choice of stone to work with depends on your location and what is available to you where you are located. You will have to choose something that is available locally, or it will cost a lot to have it shipped in. You can order pretty much anything you want these days and have it delivered without a problem. The dilemma with using stone as your material is that is extremely heavy and expensive to ship.
Another important key is to be aware of the types of stone or material you are installing. Be aware of the demands of the location where material is being installed. For example, it would be a grand error to build a fireplace out of concrete, as it cannot withstand the extreme heat, and in some cases may explode from the internal pressure.
Why Use a Professional Mason
Nothing should be built without a proper foundation, as the integrity of a structure is dependent on the foundation it sets upon. Masonry is extremely important and a valuable part of any building project, regardless of how extensive of a project it is. It is important to have a skilled craftsman that knows what they are doing to give you the best installation possible. It is a skill that takes years of training, experience and knowledge to be prepared for any project.
It is vital for any project that there is proper alignment, with accurate measurements, and the project is kept perfectly square as it is being built. As you are working in a 3 dimensional frame of reference, it can be complicated to stay plumb, level, and square without experience. A licensed craftsman has the experience, knowledge, training, tools and manpower to build your project in a way that is cost efficient and expedient.
When you are choosing a contractor it is important to choose one that has access to many different kinds of masons. There are different specialties for masons. For example, some specialize in brick, other in stone or block. Some projects will require more than one type of mason. A licensed contractor will help you determine the best specialist for your project, make sure all of the building codes are followed, permits are acquired, and applicable inspections are completed. They are also licensed, bonded and insured to protect the investment of your home.
Here in Albemarle, Augusta, and Nelson counties, the best choice for your masonry project is Hatter and Sons, Incorporated. For all types of renovations, new home construction, commercial projects and service, call Philip Hatter today @ (540) 569-6351 for a consultation.