Masonry work done by experts

Are you building a new home or looking to update the appearance of the home you have now? Learn how masonry can make your home more attractive.

Constructing a new home or adding to an existing property is an exciting process, but it can also come with some stress. One stressful aspect is determining how to make the property as safe as possible. Another is coming up with ways to improve its curb appeal. The latter is most important if you intend to sell the property, but you also might want it to look its best to impress neighbors or visitors.

There are several ways to make adjustments to the appearance or safety level of a property. For example, you might opt to construct a fence around the property line or a particular area, such as a swimming pool. One of the top ways to augment a home with curb appeal in mind is by having some type of masonry work done on the property. Masonry has several potential safety benefits. It is also eye-catching and often beautifully accents other features around it. If you want to explore your masonry options, begin with an understanding of masonry types, costs, and contractor requirements.

What is Masonry?

Masonry is the practice of working with various mediums to construct structures. According to 2021 statistics, there are approximately 280,600 masonry workers in the United States. They sometimes work alone. However, they are more apt to work on multi-person crews. Such crews are usually supervised by licensed masonry contractors. Together, masonry crews work on projects of all sizes. Some specialize in commercial masonry. Others work solely on residential projects. Although some masonry companies handle projects of all types, they often have different crew members designated for either residential or commercial projects. Such projects can include:

  • Structural Supports or Facades of Buildings

  • Retaining Walls

  • Decorative Walls

  • Pathways

  • Patios

  • Swimming Pool Decks

  • Chimneys

  • Fire Pits

What Are Common Types of Masonry?

Stone is one of the most common types of masonry. It is also one of the oldest. It was used to construct such ancient structures as the Parthenon. One of the major advantages of stone masonry is its longevity. That longevity is attributed to several factors. It is weather-resistant and strong. It is also durable and capable of handling constant wear, such as from foot traffic or outdoor elements. Stone is also water-resistant and typically is not easy to damage. Here are some other common types of masonry:

  • Brick or clay is one of the most popular building materials on the planet. Bricks are typically rectangular. They are strong, durable, and resistant to heat and fire. Often, bricks have a reddish appearance, but they also come in other colors.

  • Concrete is a mixture of cement, water, and aggregate. Aggregate refers to some type of added abrasive material. Common aggregates for concrete include sand and gravel. Concrete is sometimes difficult to work with because it becomes quite hard when it dries. However, it is that hardness that makes it one of the strongest and most desirable masonry products in the world.

  • Composite masonry combines two or more masonry materials. For example, stone facing with brick backing is composite masonry. Often, it is used to create a desired visual appearance in an area while also maintaining the best possible structural quality.

Why Are Stone Accents on Houses Popular?

Stone accents are among the most popular additions to yards and home facades throughout the United States. One of the top reasons for that popularity is curb appeal. Stone comes in so many colors and styles that pillars, walls and other stone structures can easily stand out and attract attention. Also, in many areas certain types of stone are available for free. Therefore, homeowners can sometimes have such structures built solely for the costs of labor.

Stone and other types of masonry are also popular for their durability. No homeowners want to have work redone that has recently been completed. Nor do any homeowners want to perform constant property maintenance that isn't necessary. Stone and other masonry work is long-lasting and low-maintenance. Therefore, homeowners can save time and money in the long run by adding such accents to their properties. 

How Are Masonry Costs Calculated and What Are Typical Masonry Costs?

Masonry typically has two costs. Those costs are materials and labor. Materials costs are calculated per square foot. Labor costs are typically calculated based on hourly fees. Sometimes a mason requires a minimum number of billable hours to accept a project. Costs vary widely based on specific materials used, types of structures built, and experience levels of the masons performing the work. Here are some rough figures based on the construction of a wall. The following figures are approximate and may vary based on geographic location and other factors:

  • Brick costs $27 to $45 per square foot.

  • Brick veneer costs $10 to $30 per square foot.

  • Natural stone costs $25 to $80 per square foot.

  • Stone Veneer costs $10 to $25 per square foot.

  • Labor costs for stone or brick average $70 to $110 per hour.

What Should You Look for When Selecting a Masonry Contractor?

When selecting a masonry contractor, you must be careful. Not all masons are experienced or properly certified. Also, each state has slightly different standards and requirements for contractors. Most states require masons to pass specific certification exams. Check the legal requirements in your state and make sure any contractor you consider can provide proof of licensing or certification based on those requirements. Also, check to see if any contractor you are considering has been certified by the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA).

Proper masonry contractor certification is only one half of the equation when selecting your contractor. Certification does not guarantee experience or expertise in the field. Check online reviews or request recommendations from local loved ones who have successfully had masonry work performed on their properties to find possible contractors. A newly certified mason may not have the practical skills needed for your project, so such recommendations are helpful. It is also important to thoroughly check each contractor's references and work history. Make sure any contractor you are considering has the right experience level, as well as a large enough masonry team to get your desired project done on schedule.