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Knowing The Walls Around You: Masonry Walls and Exterior Stone Facades

Most of us take the walls around us for granted. We might notice a stunning polished concrete floor or a dynamic vaulted ceiling with wooden beams, but we usually don’t give the walls between the two a second thought. Of course if we step outside, we’re bound to notice a beautiful exterior stone facade, but what we see is only part of the story. Let’s take an up close look at the walls around us.

There are two types of Masonry walls; solid and hollow. The wall type is chosen for issues relating to strength, cost, energy conservation, and climate. An exterior façade is attached to a masonry wall.

A Solid masonry wall is made up of masonry units laid tightly together with every joint bonded with mortar. They can be either load or non-load bearing and constructed from a variety of construction materials. Brick and concrete brick are commonly used as well as hollow units, concrete blocks, and structural clay tile. Composite brick with header blocks can also be used.

Hollow Masonry Walls are also known as cavity walls because they are built in such a way so a continuous internal air space exists. They can be built with Solid or hollow masonry units, it’s the arrangement of the blocks that creates the air passage. Hollow masonry walls offer two major advantages. They act as a barrier to moisture and provide natural insulation with air or can be filled with insulation material. Of course the hollow spaces must remain empty during construction, so care must be taken to keep mortal out of the spaces.

The choice of masonry walls are based on various conditions. Hollow masonry bounded walls are a smart economical choice for exterior load-bearing walls but are not recommended for high moisture climates. Since ‘curb appeal’ is a major selling point for many buyers, stone and brick facades are often included in the original design or added later.

An exterior façade is similar in one way to paint or wallpaper you apply to interior walls. The bricks, tiles, or stone does not hold up the roof, but it dresses up the house. Since these materials are more expensive and may not provide the strength or benefits of their less expensive counterparts, a stone façade is often the best choice. It can also transform an older house by adding a fresh, upscale face, giving it a new and exciting appearance.

If you are adding a stone veneer to an existing property, try to find a look that blends nearby property. Stone masons are experts in exterior facades and will recommend treatments that work best with the walls behind the stone.

A stone veneer usually outlasts almost all types of siding and creates a sophisticated, expensive look. They are also low maintenance, you won’t need to paint. Stone exterior facades are listed by many real estate experts as one of the best home improvement investments when preparing your home for resale. Take a look at home remodeling magazines or ask your stone mason for design ideas.

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