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Masonry is the craft of building with stone, brick, clay, or concrete. It’s usually more challenging to master than other home DIY projects, but even beginners can get started with the right tools and techniques. There are intricate and detailed masonry projects designed for experts, but there are just as many simple jobs that any novice can perform.

Tools and materials

There are only a few standard masonry tools. The Margin Trowel is used for spreading small amounts of mortar on the project surface. The V or Square Notch Trowel is used to distribute mortar across a flat surface evenly. The Brick Hammer and Cold Chisel can be used together or separately. They each offer various ways to chip, break, smash, or shape masonry work. Generally speaking, trowels are used for wet shaping, and the hammer/chisel combo is used for dry shaping. Finally, a good wire brush will help to remove debris and keep things tidy.

When it comes to masonry materials and accessories, there are almost countless options, so we’ll stick with the basics. Mortar is the mixture that gets masonry to stick together. These mixtures can significantly vary, and each blend has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, Veneer Mortar is relatively expensive and is primarily used to attach pieces of stone to vertical surfaces. Cement, aggregate, and grout fill cracks, seams, or bulk voids. Ready-mix concrete is simple to use and will probably be sufficient for most beginner projects. Additionally, Rebar reinforcing bars can add significant strength to masonry work if embedded in the structure.

Technique and Application

The two main branches of masonry are solid masonry and veneer masonry. Solid masonry is what most people think of when it comes to stone/brickwork. Solid masonry must be able to stand on its own, bear weight, and withstand the elements. This includes walls, chimneys, foundations, etc. Veneer masonry is more about aesthetic design than functionality. It includes ornamental indoor pieces that only contribute a visual effect.

Regardless of your experience, you can enjoy masonry work as long as you start from the beginning and then build your skills up from there. With a little practice, you can easily add value and charm to your property.