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Latest News

Mailboxes, Chimneys, and More

A brick mailbox can add an air of rugged permanence and aesthetic sophistication to any home, and the same is true for a myriad of other masonry construction projects. From decorative chimneys to paver stone driveways, the possibilities to make a bold and beautiful statement are nearly endless.  

Clay Pavers

In the U.S., Americans have used clay brick pavers since the earliest colonial days. Some pavers are still in service after 200 years. Today, many architects, homeowners, builders, designers and city planners prefer clay brick pavers over other surfaces because of their superior color retention, unmatched durability, strength, design options and low maintenance. For homeowners, […]

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 […]

Ivy on Brickwork

Introduction Ivy growth on brickwork in some locales is common – especially on older brick masonry. Some would say that ivy and brickwork naturally go together. But while allowing ivy to grow on brickwork does impart some benefits, it can also be detrimental. This Brick Brief addresses the advantages and disadvantages of ivy growth and […]

Earth’s First Building Material

Dating back to about 4,000 BC, the first masonry arch of sun-baked brick was constructed in the ancient city of Ur, located in what was then Mesopotamia. One of the great engineering feats of all time was the stone masonry structure known as Stonehenge. Stretching the concept of “unit” masonry, Britain’s Stonehenge was constructed over […]

Hot Weather Masonry – Protection

General. Increased temperatures result in a decrease in relative humidity at the surface of the masonry and an increase in evaporation rates. These conditions can lead to dry-out of the mortar and grout, which adversely affects their properties. The use of wind screens has been shown to be effective in protecting against the drying effects […]

Hot Weather Masonry – Material Cooling

General. Masonry sand comprises approximately 75% of the mortar mix. Sprinkling of masonry sand stockpiles can increase the evaporative cooling of the sand and prevent rapid absorption of the mixing water by hot, dry sand and subsequent early stiffening of the mortar.   Cool water should be used to mix mortar and grout. Ideally, the water […]

Hot Weather Masonry – Material Storage

General. All masonry materials must be carefully stored. Masonry sand, when bulk delivered, should be shaded, sprinkled, or covered to prevent excessive water loss from evaporation.   Bagged materials and masonry units should be stored elevated to prevent moisture migration from the ground to the materials, and then protected against water penetration through the sides […]

Hot Weather Masonry – Planning Construction

General. As previously noted, hot weather influences the properties of mortars and units as individual materials and it affects the interaction between mortar and units that occur in the construction of masonry. The rates of stiffening and setting of mortar are increased, while hot, dry units exhibit high suction characteristics. Relative humidity, wind velocity, and […]

Hot Weather Masonry-Performance of Units

General. When considering the influence of masonry units on construction during hot weather, one should recognize that the absorption (suction) of units may vary dependent upon their exposure at the project. Units that have been heated and dried by the sun will absorb more water from the mortar than units kept shaded.   High absorption […]