Brick Work: If You Build It, They Will Come

Houses constructed with brick veneer have an appealing low-maintenance look. The resale value of a brick home can bring a selling price six percent higher than non-brick homes. Brick gives the appearance of a sturdy structure. Available in many colors, red is a favorite traditional color. Other colors consist of brown, tan, cream, buff, orange, pink, and burgundy. Though brick may be painted, most people favor the natural brick color as originally created and constructed. Mortar comes in colors of white, cream, brown, black, and gray which is the most common and least expensive. Brick veneer is the exterior decorative layer on a stick built, or wood construction, house. Metal strips are used to tie the brick and mortar. The mortar is a mixture of cement, sand, water and usually lime. The mortar mixture adheres to the brick, blocks, or stone and binds them together. The mortar should be mixed using a temperature range between 40 and 120 degrees. Between the building’s wall and the brick veneer is an air gap, usually one to two inches but can be up to 4 inches. This air gap is very important because it helps to alleviate moisture content. Brick or masonry is durable and a natural insulator and resistant to mold and moisture. Masonry has been used to construct buildings for more than 5,000 years. It stands the test of time. Brick masons are highly trained and skilled. They must understand building codes and blueprints. Depending upon seasonal temperatures and regional climate, brick masons work nearly year-round.

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Masonry typically involves building the structure of brick and block or stone using mortar to hold the units together. Other materials such as marble, granite, limestone, concrete block, glass block, or adobe may be used. Buildings constructed using masonry are usually reinforced with rebar (steel reinforcement rods or bars) making it a very sturdy structure. People residing in geographic areas prone to hurricanes and tornadoes prefer the protection provided by this type of building construction. Quality of materials and workmanship is important in masonry projects because it affects the durability of the finished product. Skilled trade workers called masons, or bricklayers, work on many types of construction projects.

The projects may consist of new buildings or repair work on existing structures. In addition, common projects may include working on brick walls, chimneys, fireplaces, or patios. Such projects are not limited to brickwork but may include concrete block, stone, marble, or other materials. Economical, masonry work may include floors and walls. Concrete masonry consists of the concrete block or breeze block. The blocks are referred to as concrete masonry units (CMU). Concrete material is made up of water, cement, aggregates which include sand and stone. Cement is an ingredient of concrete. Masonry construction is resistant to fire, wind, and hail and it keeps buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. A benefit is a reduction of high electric bills. For the aforementioned reasons, many government buildings, for example, schools, are constructed of masonry units.