Masonry Myths & Facts
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 unequalled 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 loadbearing 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.
Resource: Mason Contractors Association of America – www.masoncontractors.org