Masonry Guide 2022

Would you like to make your home look beautiful to neighbors and guests? Add masonry accents for aesthetic and practical reasons.

There are many things to consider when you own a home or are thinking of buying or building one. Obviously, the inside must meet your needs in terms of layout, safety, and appearance. Whether you are planning to live in or sell the home, it must have the right level of functionality for you or a buyer. However, the internal design of the home is not the only focus. You also need to focus on the curb appeal of the property. Designing the outside of the home is important for the sake of appearance, but it is also a safety issue. Additionally, you may want to add elements to your yard or the outside of the structure of your home that are designed to last. Doing so can help you save money in the long run.

One of the top ways to make improvements to the outside of your home for practical and visually pleasing reasons is to incorporate masonry into your design plan. It may make the property more eye-catching and appealing to potential buyers. It can also make your neighbors or visitors envious. However, you must choose masonry types that work well with the design, layout, and general feel of the property. Here is how to select the best masonry.

What Does “Masonry” Mean?

The term “masonry” refers to projects completed using certain types of materials. In the United States, masonry is a large industry. Data collected in 2021 estimates 280,600 individuals are employed in various aspects of that industry throughout the country. Some masonry specialists are contractors who oversee projects. Others are crew members supervised by such specialists.

Masonry comes in many forms. Sometimes it is performed on residential properties. However, it is also utilized regularly in the commercial construction industry. Masons may work alone or in teams. They may also have to work with other workers in the construction industry, such as general contractors. Common reasons for hiring masonry contractors for residential projects include installation of one or more of the following:

  • Patios

  • Fire Pits

  • Chimneys

  • Walkways 

  • Driveways

  • Building Columns or Supports

  • Decorative Walls

  • Structural or Practical Walls 

What Are the Types of Masonry from Which You Can Choose?

Masonry comes in many forms. One of those is stone. Stone is among the most popular options today, and it has long been popular throughout history as well. In fact, it has been used to construct many ancient temples around the world, including Gobekli Tepe. A primary reason constructing structures out of stone has remained popular for centuries is likely its versatility. It comes in a range of types and colors, and it can stand up to harsh weather conditions. Stone is often used to create outdoor accents for those reasons. Yet, stone is not the only masonry option. Here are some others:

  • Concrete is one of the strongest types of masonry on the planet, which also makes it one of the most popular. When water and cement are mixed with certain abrasive materials, it creates concrete. Such materials include gravel and sand.

  • Brick is also popular for masonry work. Various types of clay bricks are available. Typical bricks are rectangular and usually laid with a glue-like mortar in between them. The popularity of brick comes primarily from its resistance to fire. That is why it is commonly used in chimney construction.

  • Composite masonry is another option. It is quite versatile because it involves the combination of materials. Brick backing is often combined with stone facing, for instance. Composite masonry is often a good option when a certain appearance is desired but structural safety is also a concern.

Why is it Popular to Add Stone to Accent Properties?

A main benefit of accenting a residential property with stone is longevity. One example is the installation of stone pathways in yards. Foot traffic typically takes a long time to damage such pathways, so frequent replacement or repair is not necessary. Stone is also popular because it looks beautiful. It is perfect for attracting buyers or increasing the value of a property. That is particularly true in certain areas where stone is attainable for free. Only labor costs are required in those areas, meaning property value is increased with little investment.

If limiting property maintenance is a concern, stone is also a great option. It may need some light cleaning, but it usually does not need frequent repairs. The long-lasting nature of stone makes it a wonderful financial investment. It also means the stone structures built can continue to enhance the property's appearance and value for years to come. 

What Does Masonry Usually Cost?

When considering adding masonry to your property, cost is a valid concern. There are two aspects of the project that come with charges. The first is purchasing the materials, and the second is paying for labor needed for the construction process. In some cases, you can avoid both. For example, if you have access to free stone and the knowledge necessary, you can potentially build a stone wall yourself. However, professionally installed masonry structures are more likely to last longer and are also safer. 

If you are hiring a mason to lay brick or stone, expect to pay different amounts based on the structures needed. For example, the average hourly cost to construct a solid wall is $70 to $110. However, more intricate structures often come with higher build costs. Materials costs also vary widely in various parts of the country. They are often based on how prevalent materials are in certain areas. Costs are usually calculated by square foot. According to 2021 data, national average costs for various masonry materials per square foot are:

  • Stone Veneer – $10 to $25

  • Stone – $25 to $80 (Free in Some Areas)

  • Brick Veneer – $10 to $30

  • Brick  – $27 to $45

How Do You Choose a Masonry Contractor to Install Your Masonry?

It is important to select an experienced mason for your project. An experienced mason may have Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) certification. Alternatively, he or she may have proof of passing state licensing or certification exams. Check the requirements in your state to see which certifications masons must have. Experience is also vital. Therefore, you must request references and check work histories when searching for the best mason. Also, it is important to ask questions. Make sure the mason you choose has the skills, tools, and team members necessary to complete the project successfully.