Masonry - Concrete, Brick, Stone & Stucco

Masonry - Concrete, Brick, Stone & Stucco Considerations

Masonry of any kind lends a home a solid, secure look and feel. August brick walls or flagstone fireplaces give a sense of strength as well as beauty. If properly installed and cared for, such surfaces can remain attractive and intact for the life of your home.

Concrete isn't just for driveways anymore - though it's certainly for that. Concrete floors have found their way out of the garage and into the living area. And concrete is an increasingly popular material for custom made showers, baths, countertops and even furniture.

Concrete can be stained any number of hues or inlaid with decorative tile. Its surface can be smooth, textured or patterned to resemble stone or tile. It's as durable as it is versatile, but it should always be well sealed to insure its integrity. Though it is inexpensive to buy, customizing it can lead to more costly installation.

Brick is stately, rigid and beautiful as an outer wall finishing. It can also make for a unique and attractive flooring option, or even be used to construct outdoor grills and ovens. If you will be using brick on your outer walls, make sure you factor in its size and whether you'll be using solid bricks or veneers - it will have an effect on wall placement. As a wall covering, brick is low maintenance, noise damping and fire resistant. However, it is a poor insulator, so care should be taken to include proper insulation behind it.

Stone can offer a rustic or modern feel to a home, depending on what type is used and how it is applied. Cut stone can be laid like brick to cover the outside of a home, providing an elegant and solid appearance. It can also be used to create flooring, or, in the case of field stones, an attractive fire place or decorative indoor wall. Stone is one of the most expensive options for masonry, but it will last a long time with very little maintenance.

Stucco is a durable and versatile wall covering that can be applied to a new home or over existing masonry. Like concrete, it can be finished in a variety of decorative patterns, and it can be colored with pigment or paint. To preserve your wood framing and insulation on a new house, stucco wrap can act as a protective layer to handle any moisture your stucco walls may absorb.

Any cracking or flaking of a home's masonry should be addressed as soon as possible. A crack that goes untended through weather changes can lead to greater damage and more costly repairs down the line. Check with your contractor about what sort of protective measures should be taken up front, to avoid unwanted repairs and maintenance down the line.