Masonry & Stone

The weight of these structures stabilized them against lateral loads from wind and earthquakes. Masonry construction has progressed through several stages of development. Fired clay brick became the principal building material in the United States during the middle 1800s. Concrete masonry was introduced to construction during the early 1900s and, along with clay masonry, expanded in use to all types of structures. Historically, “rules of thumb” (now termed “empirical design”) were the only available methods of masonry design. Only in recent times have masonry structures been engineered using structural calculations. In the last 45 years, the introduction of engineered reinforced masonry has resulted in structures that are stronger and more stable against lateral loads, such as wind and seismic. Masonry consists of a variety of materials. Raw materials are made into masonry units of different sizes and shapes, each having specific physical and mechanical properties. Both the raw materials and the method of manufacture affect masonry unit properties. The word “masonry” is a general term that applies to construction using hand-placed units of clay, concrete, structural clay tile, glass block, natural stones and the like. One or more types of masonry units are bonded together with mortar, metal ties, reinforcement and accessories to form walls and other structural elements. Proper masonry construction depends on correct design, materials, handling, installation and workmanship. With a fundamental understanding of the functions and properties of the materials that comprise masonry construction and with proper design and construction, quality masonry structures are not difficult to obtain.