Masonry, which includes bricks, blocks, and stone, is a building material that combines strength, durability, and flexibility with aesthetic appeal. It is a versatile material that can be used to build everything from walls to fireplaces and patios.
A career in masonry requires a high level of physical labor and a strong understanding of math and blueprint reading. This is why masons often undergo an apprenticeship program lasting three to four years before they can work independently.
During their training, apprentices learn how to use masonry tools and how to lay a variety of materials. In addition, they attend classes on a nightly basis to learn more about the trade.
As a mason, your job is to create sturdy, structurally sound structures that can withstand the elements and support the weight of occupants. Besides building new structures, masons also repair existing ones.
One of the most important skills a mason can master is laying bricks and stones. This involves determining the proper size of each unit and then applying mortar to bind them together. This is an essential skill because it helps prevent cracks in the masonry and can even help improve the overall look of the wall.
To be successful, masons must practice a lot and learn from their mistakes. This can be challenging, but it’s essential to the quality of their work.
Bricks are a type of masonry that’s made from a combination of clay and sand. They’re usually red or brown and have a rectangular shape. These bricks are often stacked on top of each other to create a wall, fireplace, or other structure.
Concrete slabs are another type of masonry that’s used to create walkways, sidewalks, and driveways. Like brick and stone, concrete slabs need a solid foundation, which is typically made from crushed stone. Crushed stone provides a more stable base than dirt, and helps distribute the weight of the concrete to the ground below.
Masonry can be damaged by several things, including temperature changes and salt crystals that form on the surface of the bricks. To protect masonry, skilled masons install caulk and flashing.
Unlike concrete, which needs an airtight and waterproof surface to hold it together, bricks are porous and can expand and contract with the weather. This is why they must be protected with caulking, which helps to keep moisture out of the masonry.
In addition to repairing masonry, masons can build custom homes and commercial buildings. Masons are responsible for constructing the roofs and exteriors of these structures, as well as the interior layout.
A skilled mason can also construct stone walls and other structures that can make a space more rustic and less commercial. These kinds of structures are a great way to showcase the natural beauty of a property and add character to a home or business.
As a mason, you can earn an excellent living and make a difference in your community. The construction of new masonry structures and repairs to existing ones will continue to increase, so there is plenty of opportunity for masons to build careers.