Top Tips for a Successful Masonry Project
A lot of good things can be said about masonry. Whether it comes in the form of brick or natural stone, this material never goes out of style and can complement a wide range of architectural designs and finishes. Its extreme durability allows it to withstand different elements, not to mention that it is also easy to care for.
All these and more are the reasons it has been the building material of choice since the ancient times. It should be noted, however, that tackling a masonry project is not easy at all. Sure, the result is something that you would appreciate for years, but the process of constructing even a simple retaining wall, fireplace or chimney can cause frustrations because you can encounter snags, delays, and inconveniences. However, you will be able to minimize a headache and make the process easier by following these tips.
Whether you are looking to replace the existing material of your fireplace with cobblestone or you want to add a brick siding to the exterior of your home, you need to plan well in advance to prevent delays and other problems that could add up to your bills. Proper planning will allow you to map out your vision, figure out your needs and identify which and how much materials will be used for your project. This is will also help you keep your budget in check.
Learn the Rules
Know that some masonry projects must be built following specific building codes to ensure their safety and usability. For instance, when building a retaining wall, some areas limit the height of the structure to three or four feet to maintain sightlines for vehicles at intersections, while still allowing for privacy. Before you start building, visit your city or county planning department to better understand the local rules and ordinances. The last thing you want is to demolish the masonry project you have spent a lot of cash on.
Hire Good Help When Needed
There are easy masonry projects you can tackle on your own, such as adding a fieldstone path or an edging to an existing driveway. However, there are complicated masonry projects that are best left to the hands of professional masons, such as adding masonry cladding to the exterior of the house or building a brick fireplace or chimney from scratch among others. If the project you have in mind falls into the latter category, your best bet is to employ the help of people who have years of experience working on masonry projects that are like yours.
Be sure to find someone with a membership in a national association, has a good business record, and can provide you with positive customer references. More importantly, hire someone you trust, and you are comfortable working with.
Insist on A Detailed Contract
No matter how simple your masonry project is, never start work without a detailed contract in place. If you dived into a project with an ambiguous or no contract at all, it is possible that you will end up with poor quality masonry work. As a rule of thumb, the contract should provide all the details about the project, including the materials that will be used, start and completion date, a detail of what work will be carried out, who will be involved in the project and how much the job would cost.
Prep Up Your Home
Masonry projects could get messy and hazardous, too. As such, you need to prepare your home in advance to minimize the inconvenience and prevent accidents from happening. If the project is a major one that involves ripping important portions of your house, such as the kitchen, living area or bedroom, be sure to set up a temporary camp away from the construction area and keep necessities within easy reach.
If the project is a simple one, though, do not forget that masonry materials could produce dirt and dust when they are being cut or installed and their heavyweight could cause damage to your stuff when they are accidentally dropped. In such case, pack away valuables that might get affected by the project before work gets underway. While at it, cover up immovable fixtures, including cabinets, heavy seats and tables and chandeliers with a cloth so they will not collect dirt and dust. Protect your flooring with cardboard sheets to prevent them from getting nicked or scratched when masonry units are accidentally dropped.
Also, do not forget to map out the work-crew path to your house so they will easily find their way to the work site. It is also wise to assign a bathroom they can use and provide them space where they can set and store their tools.
If you have employed the help of professionals to finish your masonry project, the best way to ensure its success is to keep the communication lines open between you and the workers. Let them know if you find anything unsatisfactory so they can properly deal with the issue. By effectively communicating with the crew, your expectations will be met, and problems will be prevented from cropping up or getting worse.