Stone and Brick Masonry Work Monitor
Masonry work is a fundamental aspect of construction that involves the use of stones, bricks, and other building blocks. The durability and quality of masonry structures depend on proper material selection and construction techniques.
In this article, we will explore the supervision practices for stone and brick masonry work, as well as discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
Stone Masonry Supervision:
Stone masonry, although less popular today, still holds its significance in certain applications. Proper supervision is crucial to ensure the integrity and longevity of stone masonry structures. Here are some key points to consider when monitoring stone masonry work:
- Use resilient and flawless stones: Select stones without cracks, cavities, or veins to ensure durability.
- Dress stones appropriately: Stones should be shaped and dressed according to the specific requirements of the construction.
- Moistening stones: Prior to use, moisten the stones to prevent excessive water absorption during construction.
- Lay stones following their natural bed: Place stones in the direction that aligns with their natural grain or bedding planes.
- Neatly lay facing and backing faces: The facing and backing surfaces of stones should meet the requirements of the wooden template.
- Fill the heart of masonry: Utilize stone chips and mortar to fill the central part of the masonry structure.
- Avoid thick mortar joints: Ensure proper mortar-to-stone ratio and avoid excessive mortar thickness in joints.
- Check verticality with a plumb-bob: Regularly use a plumb-bob to verify the vertical alignment of the wall.
- Use suitable mortar: Utilize mortar with an appropriate mix of sand and cement to ensure strong bonding.
- Prevent continuous vertical joints: Avoid long vertical joints in masonry for stability and aesthetic reasons.
- Utilize through-stones: Incorporate through-stones within 1.5 meters of vertical distance to enhance structural stability.
- Ensure even masonry height: Proper planning should be done to achieve an even height distribution in the masonry.
- Use flat stones under load-bearing elements: Place large flat stones beneath beams, trusses, and sills to provide adequate support.
- Clean previous day’s work: Before continuing construction, ensure that the masonry constructed on the previous day is clean and free from loose particles.
- Curing for strength: Perform continuous curing for two to three weeks to achieve strong and durable masonry.
Brick Masonry Supervision:
Brick masonry offers versatility and ease of construction. To ensure the quality of brick masonry work, consider the following supervision guidelines:
- Use high-quality bricks: Select bricks with uniform color, proper burning, and consistent size and shape.
- Pre-soak bricks: Before use, immerse bricks in water for at least two hours to prevent excessive water absorption from the mortar.
- Orient bricks correctly: Lay bricks with the frog (the indentation) facing upwards for proper alignment.
- Start from the end or corner: Begin constructing the brick wall from the end or corner of the structure for better stability.
- Verify vertical alignment: Regularly use a plumb-bob to ensure the verticality of the wall.
- Use appropriate mortar: Utilize mortar according to the specified mix proportions for optimal bonding.
- Ensure toothed end: Finish the brick masonry with a toothed end to facilitate plastering or pointing in the future.
- Minimize the use of brickbats: Avoid excessive use of brickbats (broken bricks) for a neater and stronger masonry structure.
- Raise walls evenly: Avoid raising walls by more than 1.5 meters in a single day to maintain uniformity and prevent instability.
- Establish suitable face joints: Raise face joints to a depth of 12 to 20 mm to allow for proper pointing or plastering, or strike them flush and finish neatly if no further treatment is required.
- Embed holdfasts during construction: Install holdfasts for windows and doors using cement mortar or concrete while constructing the wall.
- Curing for strength: Perform curing for at least two weeks to enhance the strength and durability of the brick masonry.
- Use scaffolding for higher work: When working at greater heights, employ single scaffolding to ensure safety and convenience.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Brick Masonry:
To provide a comprehensive understanding, let’s explore the benefits and drawbacks of brick masonry compared to stone masonry:
Benefits of Brick Masonry:
- Ease of construction: With consistent sizes and shapes, brick masonry does not require highly skilled labor.
- Lightweight: Bricks are lighter than stones, making them easier to handle during construction.
- Cost-effective transportation: Bricks are widely available and their lightweight nature reduces transportation costs, unlike heavy stones that require long-distance transportation from quarries.
- Versatile mortar options: Brick masonry allows the use of various types of mortar depending on the project requirements.
- Suitable for thinner walls: Bricks enable the construction of thinner walls, which may not be feasible with stones.
- Easy openings for windows and doors: Brick masonry simplifies the process of creating openings for windows and doors, streamlining construction.
- Reduced dead load: Compared to stone masonry, brick masonry has a lower dead load, benefiting the overall structural design.
- Thin mortar joints: Brick masonry requires thin mortar joints, resulting in cost savings during construction.
- Better fire and weather resistance: Brick masonry exhibits superior fire and weather resistance compared to stone masonry.
Drawbacks of Brick Masonry:
- Reduced strength: Brick masonry has lower strength compared to stone masonry, which may limit its application in certain structural requirements.
- Lower durability: The durability of brick masonry is generally lower than that of stone masonry, necessitating maintenance and repairs.
- Additional plastering and maintenance: Brick masonry often requires plastering and painting, leading to increased maintenance costs. Stone masonry, on the other hand, does not require plastering or painting.
- Moisture absorption: Brick masonry absorbs water, potentially leading to moisture penetration issues. Stone masonry does not face the same challenge.
- Design limitations: Stone masonry offers more design flexibility for architects compared to brick masonry.
- Aesthetic considerations: Stone masonry is often preferred for monumental buildings due to its superior aesthetic appeal.
Proper supervision of stone and brick masonry work is essential to ensure the durability and quality of construction. By following the outlined guidelines, field supervisors can monitor the various aspects of masonry construction, from material selection to construction techniques. While brick masonry offers advantages such as ease of construction and cost-effectiveness, it is important to consider the drawbacks related to strength, durability, and maintenance. Stone masonry, although less popular, provides unique benefits in terms of strength and aesthetic appeal. Ultimately, the choice between stone and brick masonry depends on the specific requirements and constraints of each construction project.