Installing brick, stone or cement requires precision and a great deal of preparation. Most masonry projects need ground leveling or site preparation in addition to strict attention to ensuring the masonry is installed level and evenly. When planning a masonry project, it is best to hire a professional.
The following terminology can help with planning your masonry project:
Aggregate: Crushed stone, gravel, sand or other material added to cement to make concrete mortar.
Concrete: Concrete is very durable and strong and, since it starts as a liquid, concrete can be formed into almost any shape. Concrete is a mixture of portland cement, sand or fine aggregate, gravel or small stone, and water. Reinforcements such as rebar and steel can be added to liquid concrete to add strength. Wood forms are used to shape footings for buildings and other structures.
Brick: Brick is made from clay that is shaped and then fired in a kiln. The color of the clay determines the color of the brick. Bricks are typically bonded together using masonry mortar. Masonry mortar is like concrete, however it has no gravel. It is important to note that bricks are very porous. Spray bricks with water a day prior to installation, to ensure the bricks won’t absorb too much of the water in the mortar.
Concrete Blocks and Pavers: Concrete blocks are economical and can be used in a variety of applications. They are an excellent application for retaining walls or for patios and walkways. The blocks can be made of either crushed stone or coal cinders. The latter is lighter and easier to work with, but those made with crushed stone are able to bear heavy loads.
Footing: Concrete footings are used to support garden walls of brick, block or stone. Footings are also used for stairs, and are usually located below the frost line to prevent heave.
Frost Line: The maximum depth at which the ground freezes during the winter.
Rebar: Reinforcing bar. Rebar is used to support large areas of concrete such as, footings, foundation walls and columns.