Masonry
is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together
by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common
materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine,
limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco and tile. Masonry is generally a
highly durable form of construction. However, the materials used, the equality
of the mortar and workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled
can significantly affect the durability of the overall masonry construction.
Applications

Masonry is commonly used for the walls of buildings, retaining walls and
monuments. Brick and concrete block are the most common types of masonry in use
in industrialized nations and may be either weight-bearing or a veneer. Concrete
blocks, especially those with hollow cores, offer various possibilities in
masonry construction. They generally provide great compressive strength and are
best suited structures with light transverse loading when the cores remain
unfilled. Filling some or all of the cores with concrete or concrete with steel
reinforcement (typically rebar) offers much greater tensile and lateral strength
to structures.

Advantages:

  • The use of materials such as brick and stone can increase the thermal mass of
    building.
  • Brick typically will not require painting and so can provide as structure
    with reduce life-cycle costs.
  • Masonry is very heat resistant and thus provides good fire protection.
  • Masonry walls are more resistant to projectiles like debris from hurricanes
    or tornadoes.
  • Masonry structures built in compression preferably with lime mortar can have
    a useful life of more than 5oo years as compared to 30 to 100 for structures
    of steel or reinforced concrete.

Disadvantages:

  • Extreme weather causes degradation of masonry wall surfaces due to frost
    damage.
  • This type of damage is common with certain types of brick, though rare with
    concrete blocks.
  • Masonry tends to be heavy and must be built upon a strong foundation, such as
    reinforced concrete to avoid settling and cracking.

Structural limitations:

Masonry boasts an impressive compressive strength (vertical loads) but is much
lower in tensile strength (twisting or stretching) unless reinforced. The
tensile strength of masonry walls can be strengthened by thickening the wall, or
building masonry piers (vertical columns or ribs) at intervals where practical,
steel reinforcements can be added.