Types of Masonry


Masonry offers several benefits to building design and construction. It carries and transmits loads, resists fire, and provides a sound barrier. Masonry consists of basic building units like bricks, stones, concrete blocks, and pre-cast hollow blocks that are combined in a systematic fashion to construct buildings. Most modern masonry units at https://concretecontractorcoloradosprings.com/ are concrete. They may be load-bearing or non-load bearing.


Brick is a common material used in masonry and has long been a favorite for home builders due to its versatile look, durability, and ease of installation. It can be found in both historic and modern homes, and there are a wide variety of designs that use this material. Brick masonry is also a great choice for commercial buildings because it offers superior fire resistance, protecting expensive equipment and files from destruction.

Bricks are usually made from clay mixed with sand and water and molded into a rectangular shape, then fired in a kiln to harden it. The resulting blocks are then used to pave, line, wall or build structures with. Depending on the type of brick, different ingredients are added to alter its color, strength or performance. Some examples of additives include plasticizers (like cellulose derivatives or starch) to increase moisture retention, binders to hold the material together and reduce shrinkage during firing, and fluxes to lower the melting point of the clay minerals. Coloring agents, like dyes, are also used to add a desired hue.

Today, brick can be manufactured using one of three methods: soft mud, dry press, and extrusion (wire cut). In the soft mud process, clay is mixed with water to create a thick, mud-like consistency then pressed into steel molds. This method tends to be the cheapest. In the dry press method, clay is mixed with sand and lime to a thick paste then pushed through a die to form specific brick shapes. This process is typically the most efficient and produces the highest quality bricks. The wire cut method, which is also called extrusion, is the most common because it produces the lowest cost of all three processes.

Upon completion of the manufacturing process, bricks are allowed to cool before they are packaged and shipped. Cooling is critical because it has a major effect on color and texture. After cooling, the bricks are sorted, graded and bundled into self-contained, strapped cubes for shipping. Some bricks are reinforced with glass fibers to provide additional tensile and shear strength to combat the natural weaknesses of the material, such as cracking caused by differential settlement or earthquake, or the lateral force of wind.


Stone is one of the most versatile materials available for masonry. It can be used for wall cladding and flooring, as well as for exterior features like pillars and fire pits. It is often combined with other materials like wood or concrete for a unique look that blends both traditional and modern design elements. Its versatility also makes it an ideal material for interior walls, countertops, and fireplaces.

Stone masonry is typically constructed from natural stones. The stones can be cut into different sizes and shapes and are usually assembled using mortar or cement. The construction process is labor intensive, but it produces strong and durable structures that are also visually appealing. It is commonly used in commercial buildings and private homes.

Masonry can be built using many types of stones, including sandstone, limestone, and marble. It is also common to use granite and slate as building materials. Choosing the right type of stone for a project depends on a person’s preference and what kind of aesthetic they want to achieve. It is also important to consider how much weight the structure will support.

Typical features of stone masonry include arches, cornices, and dentils. A cornice is a molded projection at the top of an entablature that may be decorative or functional. Dentils are block projections at the bottom of a classical cornice, resembling teeth.

Another feature of stone masonry is the use of joints and a system of interlocking stone units. These features help to distribute and transfer the force exerted on a stone wall evenly across its surface. The joints should be properly designed to ensure that they do not overlap with each other, which can cause the structure to fail.

A person should always choose a professional contractor when constructing a stone masonry project. A licensed and insured contractor will be able to provide an accurate estimate and complete the work on time and within budget. The contractor will also be able to answer any questions or concerns the client may have about the project. They will be able to explain the different steps involved in the process and provide recommendations on how to maintain the structure after completion.


Concrete is used to create a variety of different types of building structures including foundations, walls, retaining walls and paving. It can be poured or cast on site, but is often precast at a manufacturing plant. This allows for tight control over quality and a wide range of shapes, sizes and finishes. Concrete is an affordable building material that is highly durable, fire resistant and offers good acoustic qualities. Concrete masonry is also highly resistant to weather and pests, making it an excellent choice for buildings in coastal areas.

A concrete masonry unit (CMU) is a rectangular block made of brick, stone or concrete. They are often stacked on top of each other to create an exterior wall, or in some cases placed next to each other to form a retaining wall. Masonry blocks are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors to meet the needs of any project. There are also specialized types of CMUs like Besser blocks, Hebel blocks and concrete blocks with integrated rebar.

CMUs can be used to build interior walls and they provide thermal mass, which helps regulate the temperature of a building. This can help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building, saving money on utility bills. Additionally, CMUs are less prone to water damage and mold, making them an ideal construction material for homes and commercial buildings in damp climates.

While masonry is typically considered a non-combustible material, it can be reinforced with steel to make it more fireproof. This can save lives in the event of a fire and reduce damage to a building by stopping the spread of fires. Concrete masonry is also less susceptible to fire caused by natural disasters such as lightning strikes and wildfires.

Concrete masonry is more affordable than wood and has long been less expensive than lumber. In fact, concrete masonry became more cost efficient than wood even before the pandemic caused the shutdown of lumber production and transportation services. And during the shutdown, masonry continued to become more affordable because wood prices didn’t spike the same way that CMU prices did.


Mortar is a cement-like paste that’s used to bind together masonry units. The mortar helps to hold the bricks in place, and it also fills in any gaps or craters that might be present on a wall, chimney or other structure. A well-made mortar that’s mixed properly can add to the strength and longevity of the structure for years to come.

Masons use a variety of tools to apply, spread and shape the mortar, including trowels, buckets, and trays. In addition, a mason uses a variety of additives to create different mortar colors and mixes. It’s important to note that the quality of the mortar can be impacted by the amount of water used. The right ratio of cement to water is key in ensuring the best results.

Cement and lime mortars are commonly used in masonry projects. They are designed to be strong and long-lasting, but they do have their limitations. For example, they may have delayed curing times or be prone to shrinkage when drying. Fortunately, these shortcomings can be overcome with the use of additives.

For example, chemical resistant mortars are available to reduce the risk of damage by certain chemicals. These types of additives can be added to the mortar mix before applying it to a construction site.

The term “mortar” generally refers to a mixture of binding material like concrete or cement and fine aggregate like sand. It is utilized to bind masonry and other essential units. The mortar is also used to carry out pointing and plasterwork on the uncovered surfaces of stonework. It is additionally used to prepare molds for coping, corbels and molding.

The mortar also serves as a protective layer, preventing the bricks from touching and damaging each other. This allows the brick to last longer and maintain its appearance over time. Additionally, the mortar can help to level the bricks so that walls are straight and consistent. Finally, it provides cohesion or force to distribute pressure uniformly throughout the structure. For these reasons, it is important to use high-quality masonry units and mortar for any project.