Benefits of Masonry
Masonry has been mankind’s number one building material ever since cave dwellers built a crude stone wall 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 products. 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 can do.
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 leaking.
Aesthetically, 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 energy savings.
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 elderly.
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 decade.