Masonry involves the construction of structures using individual units, such as bricks, stones, or concrete blocks, that are commonly held together by a binding material called mortar. Potential binding materials include cement, lime, and soil. The durability and visual appeal of your masonry structures will depend on the type and quality of material you invest in, as well as the standard of workmanship involved. Read on for more about the different types of masonry walls that can be constructed in Newport Beach, CA, as well as the different materials that can be used.
Types of masonry walls
Load-bearing masonry walls are built to support loads, such as the overhead beams that constitute the roof of a shed or partially enclosed outdoor room. They are also good candidates for retaining walls upon which you plan to place heavy objects like planters. It is a good idea to reinforce these walls, as unreinforced masonry walls are prone to cracking under heavy compressive loads. Reinforced walls also have a greater ability to withstand lateral forces during heavy rain and wind.
Composite masonry walls consist of two layers of units, such as concrete block and brick, with the aim to achieve a better appearance. Veneers are constructed in this way, and the outer layers of brick or stone are typically not designed to be load-bearing structures but rather focal features of the landscape.
Constructing a masonry veneer wall entails the installation of a single layer of brick or stone on one or both sides of a structurally independent wall. There is usually a gap between the decorative layer and structural wall, and the wall will have to be fitted with a waterproof surface, like tar paper, to prevent water damage. Weep holes can also be created at the base of the veneer to drain any water that may accumulate in the gap.
Bricks can be laid in various patterns, or ‘bonds’, to ensure a personalized masonry wall. Bonds also differ in strength, with vertically staggered bonds offering enhanced durability and crack-resistance. Bricks can be acquired in a wide variety of styles that go a long way towards customizing the look of the finished product. Uniform bricks are excellent additions to a contemporary outdoor living design and can contribute to an industrial theme. More rugged varieties, like burnt bricks, have a timeworn look and can contribute towards creating a wonderfully rustic aesthetic.
Concrete units are generally much larger than bricks and are, therefore, far less time-consuming to install. They also tend to bear a greater resistance to water damage and are renowned for being one of the most reliable materials in construction. Concrete masonry is often the structural core for brick or stone veneers, but can also have a stunning appearance when standing alone. They can be covered with a fine coating of plaster, or stucco, which can be stained or painted, and imbued with various textures.
There are generally two types of stones utilized in masonry, namely: dressed and undressed stone. Dressed stone is acquired in precise sizes with regular edges and can easily be arranged into neat patterns. Undressed stone, on the other hand, has fewer clean edges and a vast variety of shapes that cannot be assembled into a very uniform pattern. Undressed stone tends to have a more natural, effortless appearance.