Benefits of Masonry Construction
Masonry has been mankind’s number one building material ever since cave dwellers built a crude stonewall in front of their caves to keep out the
weather and provide security.
The Egyptians built masonry pyramids; the Greeks created cities and beautiful temples out of
masonry. The Romans used masonry almost exclusively to build their empire, with
Aqueducts, forums, roads, and living spaces…all of brick and stone. The Chinese built an
incredible masonry wall to keep out invaders. Even throughout the Dark Ages, masonry
continued to flourish with castles and cathedrals.
Locally, great architectural structures such as Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, The Custom
House Tower and the Old State House stand as testimony to the age old use of masonry
The fact that many of the ancient structures survive today stands in silent testimony to the
durability of masonry systems. Well over half of the structures now existing in the world are
all or in part built with masonry construction. This is because masonry materials are reliable,
durable, and economical.
Masonry is a proven structural system. There are a number of engineered load bearing
projects in excess of twenty stories now in existence. No other material can do what masonry
Masonry is a compatible material. Structurally, masonry load bearing systems and masonry
exterior backup systems spread the structural load as well as offer stiffness when resistance
to lateral loads is required.
Concrete masonry backup systems are rigid and can carry the entire lateral load of a
facing system while, in contrast, the flexible steel stud system forces the veneer facing to
share most of the lateral load thereby increasing the veneer’s vulnerability to cracking and
Esthetically, masonry offers a very large range of colors, textures, styles, and finishes.
These range from rough stone to brick to structural glazed tile to architectural block…each
with its own unique appeal. No other system can offer so much variety and compatibility.
Masonry is extremely cost effective. Not only are there cost advantages during the initial
construction phase, but masonry also helps keep costs down over the life of a building by
providing a low maintenance structure. The exterior is easy and inexpensive to maintain; and
since masonry is much more durable than drywall, interior walls are practically maintenance
free…no holes in the walls. Doors will open and close properly over the life of the building due
to the uniform nature of the construction. Masonry buildings offer additional cost savings with
lower fire insurance costs, and lower energy costs. This is possible because masonry is a
long-term performance material.
Masonry is energy efficient. A National Bureau of Standards study reveals that masonry
outperforms other systems in dynamic heating and cooling conditions more effectively than
lightweight backup and wall systems. Masonry’s mass delivers vital energy economy by
reducing heat loss in cold weather and heat gain in warm weather. Its inherent thermal
storage qualities assist in reducing heating and cooling loads thus providing long-term
Masonry is a noise barrier. Masonry walls keep the noise outside a building or
outside an area within a building. Masonry walls create a quieter environment in contrast to
lightweight systems with their lack of density and their tendency to have “acoustical holes”.
The mass and monolithic properties of masonry make the system far superior in its ability to
reduce sound transmission. In addition, special masonry units, designed to absorb sound, are
available for high noise areas.
Masonry is a fire barrier. Masonry walls provide a permanent structural fire barrier
that is totally non-combustible and will not fail in a structure due to lack of maintenance. Fire
safety is another inherent attribute of masonry wall construction which has long been
recognized and which other materials can only claim to meet. Masonry walls are tested under
load bearing conditions up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and then blasted with a fire hose. No
other fire barrier is tested in this fashion because they will fail. This feature makes masonry an
ideal choice for schools, hospitals, nursing homes, college dormitories and housing for the
Masonry is a “green” material. The manufacturing process of masonry materials is a low
energy consumption process compared to the manufacturing process of many other
materials. Masonry doesn’t deplete the forests, pollute the land, or drain natural resources.
Masonry offers unlimited possibilities. Whether it is exterior cladding, structural
applications, interior partitions, decorative applications, or paving–masonry is the one
and only system that can do it all and keep on doing it decade, after decade, after