Have you ever thought of stonework and masonry for your home? We have decided to gather all the basic rules to build correctly, or as well as possible, even without a masonry diploma, even without any knowledge of DIY, and even when you are starting for the first time. Practice is the best way to learn for the rest, as long as you start small! So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things everyone should know about stonework and masonry.
1. Choosing your masonry project
Let’s make it clear right away; you won’t build a house with your bare hands if you’ve never touched a brick in your life. Masonry, or the art of building by assembling elements, encompasses the renovation of existing structures, the construction or repair of walls, the construction or modification of a building with an extension or enlargements, and the landscaping.
Building a brick barbecue or constructing an exterior wall is also masonry… and it’s best to start there! For the construction of a real building, which requires foundations, a land survey, or is subject to strict regulations, it is better to call on a professional with the appropriate know-how and guarantees.
2. Choose the right materials for masonry
Masonry consists of building by stacking elements on top of each other. Which elements? Be careful; things get complicated. The oldest and most delicate material is natural stone, rough or cut, decorative but difficult to lay. Clay brick is the most common material for walls, fireplaces, and barbecues. Plaster tiles are reserved for interior partitions.
As for the famous cinder blocks, concrete blocks of various types are easy to install, strong, cheap, and durable, but more coarse and reserved for thick walls. For example, a garage, an exterior wall, etc. Each masonry material involves the use of a suitable binder, the glue that allows the elements to hold together: mortar, cement, plaster.
3. Provide the right masonry tools
Needless to say, you can’t build a wall with everyday DIY tools… To build a wall properly, you need professional tools or at least something to work with properly! At the very least, you need a plumb line and a level to check the walls’ alignment, horizontality, and verticality. A set of good trowels is essential for applying the binder to obtain clean joints: one round, one flat, and one cat’s tongue.
A plasterer’s trowel simplifies the application of the binding plaster; a float is useful if a coating has to be applied… The mason’s chisel is used to cut bricks. And stakes with ropes allow you to mark out the wall to be built without forgetting the measuring tape, the pencil, and even a concrete mixer if necessary!
4. Aligning horizontal rows in masonry
In masonry, the elements are aligned horizontally next to each other. A first row is built starting from one end, usually along the ropes stretched on stakes to delimit the construction. At each row laid, the horizontality is immediately checked with a spirit level or laser: each row serves as a base for the next; it only takes one misaligned element to unbalance the entire masonry construction!
5. Crossing the blocks, the base of the masonry
From the second row on, the basic rule of masonry is to stagger the elements so that the joints of the second row are located in the middle of the blocks of the first row. In other words, the joints between the blocks should not be aligned vertically from one row to the next since this way of crossing the elements guarantees the work’s stability. And the same principle applies to the corners or connections between walls, interlocked by alternating rows.
6. Erecting walls vertically in masonry
By superimposing rows of blocks, we obtain walls; this is the principle of masonry. In the same way that we check the horizontality with each block laid, so we check the verticality from the second row to ensure a perfect alignment! This, with the help of the level or the plumb line, as long, as a result, is perfectly straight.
Looking for help?
With over 3 decades of experience in the stone industry, Xinda Stone is critically acclaimed as the most dedicated and professional stonemason team in Australia. This is why they are the place to go for all your custom marble benchtops, and they cut the marble with high-tech machines, and the employees are there to help you and will give you the countertop of your dreams.
You should also consider the aesthetics you are going for when choosing your benchtop, which is why Xinda Stone has a wide variety of marble for you to choose from. So, what are you waiting for? Make your dreams become a reality with their help!