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What is Masonry & Types of Masonry Construction?

By December 28, 2023No Comments

Introduction

Masonry, a time-tested construction technique, has been used for centuries to create durable and aesthetically pleasing structures. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fundamentals of masonry and explore various types of masonry construction.

young-craftsman-building-house

What is Masonry?

Masonry is a construction method that involves the use of individual units (like bricks, stones, or concrete blocks) bonded together with mortar to form a solid structure. This technique offers strength, durability, and versatility, making it a popular choice for various architectural applications.

Key Points:

  1. Masonry involves the arrangement of individual units to create a cohesive structure.
  2. Mortar, a mixture of cement, sand, and water, acts as the binding agent.

Types of Masonry Construction

Brick masonry

woman-contactor-laying-bricks-outside-home

Brick masonry is a widely used masonry practice in today’s world because of the easy availability of clay bricks. These bricks are found all over the world, which makes them a cheap source of construction. Brick masonry can be used in walls, foundations, ornamental work, chimney lining, cavity walls, steps, etc. Brick masonry construction makes use of first-class burnt clay bricks. For less important construction, third class bricks are used in masonry. Second class bricks are best for masonry construction that is plastered as it lacks finish compared with first class bricks.

Stone Masonry Construction

The use of natural stones in construction imparts a timeless and elegant appeal. Stone masonry not only offers strength but also a profound connection with the earth’s raw beauty, showcasing the enduring legacy of this age-old craft. Stone Masonry Construction Involves the use of stones such as marble, granite, sandstone, and limestone. Mortar of cement and limestone-sand serves as an ideal bonding material. While stones offer high durability, considerations like weight, especially in multi-story buildings, impact their suitability.

Solid Concrete Units

Solid concrete units, often termed concrete bricks, are laid with mortar or bonding chemicals. Categorized based on density into normal weight, medium weight, and lightweight units, concrete bricks offer versatility. The lightweight units, in particular, are favored for their weight, thermal resistance, and ease of construction. These bricks, made of Portland cement, aggregates, water, and admixtures, provide benefits such as quick construction, low maintenance, and an appealing appearance.

Concrete Bags Masonry

An easy and less time-consuming method where bags filled with concrete material are stacked and water is poured over them to prevent quick drying. On hardening, the concrete from all bags forms a unified structure. Solid concrete units, often termed concrete bricks, are laid with mortar or bonding chemicals. Categorized based on density into normal weight, medium weight, and lightweight units, concrete bricks offer versatility. The lightweight units, in particular, are favored for their weight, thermal resistance, and ease of construction.

Hollow Masonry

Hollow masonry involves concrete units with a net surface area of less than 75% of the gross cross-sectional bearing surface. Hollow bricks find application in structural walls and as veneer units. The first application utilizes hollow bricks as structural components, providing a brick finish with additional material. The second application involves using hollow bricks as veneer units for applications like noise barrier walls.

Reinforced Masonry

Reinforced masonry addresses the shortcomings of brick masonry by introducing reinforcement for additional tensile and shear strength. This reinforcement minimizes cracks due to differential settlement, earthquakes, or lateral wind forces. Horizontal and vertical reinforcement spacing and size depend on the loads and structural conditions.

Composite Masonry

Composite masonry is a combination of various masonry types, offering a blend of their advantages. It could involve stone and brick, clay brick and concrete brick, or a combination of stones or bricks with hollow blocks. This approach enhances performance by leveraging the strengths of each component, providing an economical and durable construction solution.

Gabion Masonry Construction

Gabions, steel baskets filled with fractured stones, serve as versatile units acting as revetments or retaining walls. Their flexibility and drainage properties make them resistant to horizontal pressures like water flows, soil movement, frost damage, and floods.

Veneer Masonry Construction

Veneer masonry, designed for remodeling and interior finish, mimics the appearance of stone or brick walls economically. These units can enhance the aesthetics of existing concrete walls, providing a visually appealing alternative.

Types Based on Bonding Material

Masonry in Cement Mortar

Construction units bonded with cement mortar fall under this category. The cost depends on the type of cement used, such as Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC), or Sulfate Resisting Cement (SRP), chosen based on environmental conditions.

Masonry in Lime Mortar

Involves lime mortar, made from lime (quick lime, slaked lime, fat lime, or hydraulic lime), mixed with sand and water. Lime mortar is often used in the restoration of old buildings.

Masonry in Mud Mortar

The most economical method, using mud mixed with straw as reinforcement. Applied on dry bricks, stones, or blocks, mud mortar is particularly successful with bricks rather than stones.

Advantages of Masonry Construction

  • Non-Combustible: Enhances fire protection for buildings and occupants.
  • High Resistance: Resistant to rot, pests, weather, and natural disasters.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Provides an attractive rustic or elegant look.
  • Compressive Strength: Withstands large compressive weight loads.
  • Thermal Mass: Increases the thermal mass of a building.
  • Long Lifespan: Masonry buildings have longer lifespans.
  • Increased Resale Value: Enhances the resale value of a property.

Disadvantages of Masonry Construction

  • Transportation Challenges: Heavy materials may require special catalog orders.
  • Foundation Dependency: Stability relies on a solid foundation.
  • Weather Constraints: Weather-sensitive, impacting construction during rain or freezing conditions.
  • Time and Planning: Requires adequate project planning and time, with specialized manpower in some cases.

Conclusion

In the realm of construction methods, masonry stands out for its reliability and durability. While each type has its pros and cons, the timeless appeal and structural integrity make masonry a preferred choice. It’s crucial to engage a professional team committed to proper planning and execution for successful masonry projects.

As the construction industry evolves, masonry remains a steadfast choice, offering a blend of tradition and resilience. For reliable masonry work, enlist a professional team dedicated to realizing your plans and navigating the intricacies of this enduring construction method.

For further assistance with your construction projects, reach out to Rual Engineering, boasting a track record of 1,000+ MEP design projectsContact them via email at amalmg@rualengg.com or phone at +1 205 383 1118 to ensure your building systems meet codes and standards.

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