Find a Masonry Contractor
23 October 2008
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On our site, you can:
- Get 4 quotes from local Masonry Companies.
- Talk with prospective Masons and make your decision.
- Save time by not calling contractors at random from your outdated phone book!
- Save money by getting multiple bids from several masonry service companies - you have the option to go with the best bid!
- Do all of this -- at no cost -- with ConstructionDeal.com
When you Brick or Stone Mason think of ConstructionDeal.com and submit your project today!
Naper Valley Masonry Brick Maintenance Tips!
19 October 2008
However, to make sure the bricks last as long as possible and looks good in the process, many homeowners want to know what they have to do to maintain them.
We asked our friends over at Naper Valley Masonry, Inc. to give us the scoop on what is required for proper brick maintenance. Naper Valley Masonry specializes in high-end residential construction work in the Chicago area - and if anyone knows how to maintain an exterior of a house in a nasty climate, it's these guys!
"Brick is one of the most common choices for basic masonry materials. It's made of fired clay and is available in various choices of color and texture. It can be one of the higher-priced exterior finishes; however, being water repellent, easy to maintain and less expensive in the long run, it is a preferred choice for many homeowners. Brick masonry should last 100 years, with the first 25 free of maintenance. The most common maintenance is repairing loose joints between bricks, commonly called tuck pointing.
Stone is an ancient form of masonry. In theory it will last a lifetime. Stone exteriors work best when installed with traditional techniques. Problems can occur when mixing stone masonry with new building techniques. For example, many homeowners want the look of stone without paying the cost to get a properly-built stone exterior. They choose to go with stone veneer over a modern stud frame. This will likely fail over time.
Water is stone masonry's worst enemy because freeze-thaw cycles can cause cracks. Properly sealed stone masonry prevents these problems. Routine checking of your building’s exterior should be practiced after heavy rains. Any dark patches on the wall indicate that water has soaked into the surface, occurrences such as these will likely lead to problems in the future.
Bricks which have absorbed water are susceptible to their outer surfaces to flake off. When this happens, the damaged bricks need to be replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, large areas of the walls of your house will be affected and it will become expensive to rectify.
Concrete block masonry is more common with industrial buildings. It should last 50 to 80 years, and the joints may need to be fixed after 25 years. Unlike brick, concrete blocks are not waterproof. You'll need to apply a water seal every 10 years. Some effective water seals are Silane and Siloxane, which can be applied by spray, after which they will soak into the surface of the wall like stain.
Signs of green algae growing on outside walls and black mold or wallpaper peeling off internal walls are a sign of dampness within the brickwork. Cracked bricks may indicate a serious problem with foundations. Ultimately the quality of the brickwork and masonry will determine how much and how soon repairs will be necessary, so choose wisely when getting masonry work done."
If you're in the Chicagoland area, give the guys at Naper Valley Masonry a call (630-978-7405) to get a quote on your brick masonry installation. Tell them you read about them on the ConstructionDeal.com website! And, if you're not in that area, you can always post your job on our site to find a quality brick or stone installer!
Brick and Mortar - Useful Information on Mortar
12 October 2008
Different mortar types and specifications are required for various applications and climates. The most common is called type S and is naturally gray in color. Mortar can be tinted to blend or to contrast with the brick color. It is important to keep mortar mixing and tooling practices uniform, especially when using colored mortar. A slight variation in mortar color can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of a finished wall. "
Talk with a masonry contractor to "discuss the mortar colors that look best with your brick color. Also, sand color will affect the finished look of your mortar color. Lighter color sands are generally recommended for lighter colored mortars. Inquire about the common sand colors in your area."
The mortar joint is also an important factor in the appearance and functionality of the wall. 'Tooling' the joints help seal the wall surface against moisture penetration. The concave, vee, and grapevine joints are best for exterior construction. These joint types compress the mortar at the surface and are the most weatherproof. Other joints are acceptable for interior use. "
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Masonry Facts and Myths
10 October 2008
"Masonry is often thought of as a facade or cladding material and not capable of supporting the entire structure. This is a myth. The fact is that structurally engineered masonry can bring great physical and economical strength to your buildings. When a masonry system approach is used, especially with a brick and concrete block cavity wall, you will find unequaled performance and satisfaction.
Another myth is that mason contractors and skilled craftworkers are undergoing a manpower crisis and that they are hard to line up for your projects. The fact is that the masonry industry is rebuilding its manpower strength through comprehensive apprenticeship schools throughout the country. Not only are new craftsworkers learning to construct new buildings, they are also learning the skills needed to retain the beauty of your historical structures.
Masonry has been the material of choice for shelter for thousands of years for a number of reasons including availability, thermal mass, fire resistance, durability and sustainability.
Ancient masonry buildings were load-bearing in the sense that masonry resisted all of the imposed loads.
Savings on Insurance Costs. Masonry provides the best fire resistance of any building material because it cannot burn, melt or bend. This fact is acknowledged by insurance companies and is reflected in the premiums for insurance on the building and its contents. The use of fire resistive building materials throughout provides maximum security for future business performance. Many businesses cannot survive the devastation of a fire and the interruption to their normal flow of goods and services.
Savings on Maintenance Costs. A masonry building requires a minimum of maintenance primarily because masonry does not rust, shatter, warp, dent, buckle or rot, and there is no need for cleaning or repainting. Consideration of the vulnerability to damage of building walls is also important. Whether a careless fork lift operator or strong winds with hail hits the wall, or a heavy object is propped against the wall, masonry can handle the abuse.
Contrary to a belief entertained by some, masonry construction is not slow. In fact, in almost every case, using a masonry system is a faster process. If the owner decides today to start that new warehouse construction can literally begin tomorrow. If footings take a day, brick and block from local sources can be on site and be laid down the next day. There is no lag time for shop drawings and off-site fabrication.
While discussing myths, let's not overlook the usual: 'hot and cold weather delays masonry too much.' As an industry, updated all-weather practices such as the All-Weather Council's 'Recommended Practices and Guide Specifications for Cold Weather Masonry Construction' have resulted in a much greater construction season without fear of weather damage or delay. The old practice of closing down during January and February becomes obsolete."Need to Find a Masonry Contractor?
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Eco-Friendly? Green Building with Masonry
08 October 2008
It's important to consider what materials you're going to use when you build a new home or remodel your existing home. The Mason Contractors Association of America has some excellent advice when it comes to choosing brick and concrete masonry products.
Whether you're just interested in finding out how you can make a difference or you're a diehard conservationist, this is valuable information on masonry construction to keep and to pass along to friends and family if they're considering a new construction or renovation project. Both now and, in our hopefully healthy, future:
- "'The ingredients of masonry and mortar are inert, non-toxic, and promote excellent indoor air quality,' states the Portland Cement Association. Masonry's natural textures and colors also eliminate the need for painting, drywall, or other finishes that could result in undesirable chemicals in the air. The reduced potential for mold growth (masonry does not provide a food source, does not rot, and can be easily cleaned) also supports indoor air quality.
- Daylighting, outdoor views, and masonry's flexibility to comply with such demands also make it a natural choice for any project. Since walls are constructed on site, design considerations are easily accommodated. And, occupants reap the benefits: employees' health and productivity are enhanced by better work spaces, chemically sensitive patients are inhaling clean air, shoppers are staying longer and buying more, and children are learning and playing carefree.
- Local material supplies are satisfied on the LEED checklist because masonry products are commonly extracted from and manufactured within the building site region supporting the local economy, minimizing fuel requirements for handling and transport, and reducing traffic congestion and resultant emissions. Local material use also helps to keep building costs down.
- Masonry's thermal mass characteristics provide optimal heating and cooling efficiency. Masonry walls remain warm or cool long after the heat or air-conditioner has shut off. This attribute not only reduces heating and cooling loads but stabilizes indoor temperature shifts and exchanges typical peak heating and cooling loads to off-peak hours. Daylighting also comes into play with energy conservation as natural light can reduce the need for artificial lighting fixtures and the energy needed to run them. Masonry's color and texture options can also create reflective surfaces which lend themselves to further energy efficiency and reduced building operation costs.
- Masonry is renewable and reusable. Rock and sand are in no short supply and are easily accessible, thus renewable. A building's life speaks to its re-usability. The goal being to extend its usable existence. Masonry is a durable material whose life cycle exceeds that of many other building envelope products. It is resistant to fire, water, and insects. As a result, it presents the opportunity to refurbish an existing building's structure and shell as opposed to tearing down and starting anew. And, once again, cost savings are realized due to masonry's resiliency and low maintenance nature."
If you're looking to find a masonry company or local brick contractor to help with your remodeling, home addition, siding, paving, or home building project - submit it to ConstructionDeal.com.
It's free, for one, and it's fast. You'll be able to receive several bids from brick contractors in your area who will help get the job done and help you save and protect the environment!
Home Renovation Trends - Brick Pavers
05 October 2008
What Are Brick Pavers?
If you're planning to install bricks as a walkway or your patio, you'll need what are called brick pavers.
Keep in mind, a brick paver is not the same as the standard brick. The type of brick used in a fireplace chimney or on brick veneer is very porous and more soft than brick pavers.
These brick pavers are stronger than ordinary bricks and can withstand the elements better. They are more exposed when the bricks are layed out in a patio or driveway to water, temperature changes, and sunlight. If you install a brick sidewalk using regular bricks they will crack, chip, and crumble in no time.
You can buy brick pavers at a local home improvement or hardware store, but you'll get a better quality of brick pavers from a brick supplier or wholesale manufacturer. Because these bricks are very hard, they can be very hard to cut.
If you're doing it yourself, you'll need to make sure you either plan a paving path that has few or no curves or you'll need to make sure you've got cutting tools with masonry blades. And the more curves you have, the more wasted brick you'll have because you'll be cutting and leaving a lot of brick pieces behind. The more curves, in other words, the higher your budget.
Brick pavers look really good and they can last for a hundred years or more so I'll just let you in on some of the problems with brick:
Disadvantages to Brick Pavers
- Bricks can be more expensive that cheaper concrete blocks
- Pavers can collect moss easily - maintenance may be required to keep the slippery moss to a minimum
- Due to the firing process, bricks can really vary in size so a perfect fit will require playing around with multiple bricks to find the right one
- If you're working with multiple pallets of bricks, they could be from different batches. Make sure you or your brick installer takes bricks from both pallets as the pavers are being laid done to keep from having a giant color mark on the path or patio
If you're not doing the work yourself and would like to have brick pavers installed, you can submit your project to ConstructionDeal.com - at no cost.
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Advantages of a Masonry Built Home
04 October 2008
Why the turnaround? More and more, there has been great interest in energy conservation, low maintenance materials, and the concept of "building green" to conserve our environment.
Masonry home construction meets all those demands and more. According to the Arizona Masonry Guild's website, a masonry house can offer tremendous advantages over a house built with a wood frame.
Here are some of the masonry advantages:
- Lower Energy Bills - the thermal mass of a concrete masonry house can keep a home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
- Soundproofing - the thicker walls help deaden the noise outside and around a house.
- Fire Resistance - masonry walls help prevent the spread of fire.
- Termite Resistance - without wood, there is no food source for termites.
- Mold Resistance - no exterior rot from wood means that the mold and fungus cannot get into a house and spread throughout.
- Weather Resistance - masonry can hold up to wind, water, sunlight, and low temperatures.
- Lower Insurance Bills - since masonry construction has the resistances listed above, insurance companies will discount premiums paid because of lower costs associated with a house like this.
- Environmentally Friendly - masonry products don't use up our timber and tree resources like a wood frame house.
If you're looking to build a home addition or construct a new home, consider the advantages and benefits of a masonry house. To find a masonry company or a masonry contractor in your area - we can help!
Simply submit your masonry project to ConstructionDeal.com - at no cost - and we'll match you to quality brick masons as little as 24 hours (sometimes in a matter of minutes!) It will save you time and money.