What Is Masonry?

We provide thousands of tools, products, and materials for use in masonry. Whether you’re working with a general contractor or an architect, “masonry” may come into conversation. This can confuse the uninitiated. We decided to break down this trade and explain more about our work and the work of our clients, for anyone out there unfamiliar with or new to it.

rubble masonry
An example of “rubble masonry.”

Almost by definition, masonry is stonework.

A mason performs this job. They take individual units — usually some kind of stone or concrete, but also other natural and man-made materials — and lay them in a specific pattern, binding them together with mortar. Mortar is basically a cement paste. There are other types of mortar, but this is the most common. It “cures” and hardens, sealing together the laid design.

As long as it is built well, masonry is among the most durable forms of construction.

In general, the work’s quality depends on two factors: the quality of the materials, and the talent of the masons. Secondary — but no less important — is the chosen design of the masonry work. We also have to depend on the integrity of the rest of the structure. As with any building, we have to be confident in the foundation, the architecture, and the whole plan. Everything must come together in order to build a completely sound structure.

Many trades rely on one another like this. Brickwork and masonry are some of the most important and ancient “traditional trades.” You might think of these as the “hands-on” skills, and they also include painting, roofing, and carpentry. All components need to be perfect — and performed by an experienced individual — to create a long-lasting result that looks and functions just as it should.

We like concrete block because it’s even more secure.

These can be called “Concrete Masonry Units.” They’re bigger than your typical bricks. They can be laid faster too, because they take up more space. They are less porous. Heavy and sturdy, they work well in “veneered brick” work (when there’s an external facade outside the core concrete or stone) and for industrial projects. Most importantly, then, is that we can reinforce them with rebar (short for “reinforced bar,” it’s a type of reinforced steel) or additional poured concrete. This maintains the tension and toughness of the overall build.

Cassie Vu