Masonry Materials: What You Need to Know Before Your Next Big Home Project

Your home is your castle, and that’s why it is important to choose high-quality brick, stone, tile, mortar, grout, and other products that will be sturdy and fit your style when building or renovating. There are so many types of masonry materials; however, it can be confusing to sort out exactly what you need for your project.

Types of Materials

Brick, thin brick, limestone, concrete, tile, clay pavers, grout, mortar, and even some tools used for building with these materials are all considered masonry materials. Brick comes in a variety of colors, styles, and thicknesses. Red, grey, and pale yellow colors are popular choices and many companies make and sell bricks that that mirror different time periods and places (like English Pubs or Victorian train stations). Thin brick often comes in the same range colors, but it is about a third less thick.
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Limestone and other stones (granite, prairie stone, flint) are examples of masonry materials that are found in nature. Clay pavers and tiles are man-made and they are available in hundreds of styles and colors. Most building stores will also sell concrete (for pouring applications and in slab form) and the necessary grout, mortar, and other tools.

Uses of Materials

Choosing the right masonry material is a function of what sort of project you are completing. If you want to build something that needs to withstand a lot of heat, like an outdoor oven, brick is unquestionably the best choice. If you want to re-surface a fireplace or the exterior of your home, a thin brick veneer or a stone veneer is the best choice. If you are putting in a hardscape, like a patio and retaining wall, then concrete, limestone, brick, or a combination of these materials will work very well.
Building a water-feature in your backyard is best done with a natural-looking material like stone, but using stone to build a walkway is not as good a choice as using a uniform and durable material like clay pavers. So, when it comes to choosing a masonry material for your project, it is best to talk to a professional and examine all your options.

Costs of Materials

Just as masonry materials vary, so too does the cost of each material. Because of the many variables involved in building, it is necessary to look at many different factors when estimating the cost of project. You cannot simply assume that building a brick retaining wall will cost only what the bricks cost. You need to factor in grout, masonry tools, leveling tools and labor time.

Self-Installation or Professional Installation

Although you can complete some building projects on your own, consulting a professional is always a good idea. You can visit a building store, contact a local mason, or search the web for how-to manuals and videos. Even for a simple project, like installing a concrete patio using four concrete slabs, asking for professional guidance will ensure that you do the project right the first time. Professionals are also very helpful in guiding your toward the right masonry material for your project.

So whatever you are building, take the time to research your options, consider your budget, and consult with a professional. You can find the right masonry material and make something beautiful- but be sure to do your homework before you buy!