When to Hire a Masonry Contractor?

When should you hire a masonry contractor? This is perhaps one of the most common questions homeowners ask when it comes to masonry projects.  

Usually, you will have to hire a masonry contractor immediately if you’re experiencing emergencies. This includes indications of bricks moving out of place, stones starting to chip, and mortar erosion.  

You might think that masonry repairs can be a DIY project. However, that is not the case. Masonry repairs require a lot of attention to detail and time to properly finish the job. It’s vital to hire a professional masonry contractor for help if you’ve got no experience or skills. If you try to do it yourself, you might end up making the problem worse.  

Noticing the early indications of deteriorating masonry work can save you from experiencing more serious issues in the future.  

Today, we’re going to share with you a couple of common issues that will require the help of a professional masonry contractor

Chipping and Cracking Stone 

This is perhaps one of the most obvious indications that your house needs masonry repair. If you notice that your stonework and brick have structural damage such as chips and cracks, don’t hesitate to hire a professional masonry contractor.  

While brick and stone are extremely durable materials, they are not completely indestructible. Sudden and strong impacts and gradual wear and tear can cause chips and cracks to occur.  

Just like a crack in your windshield, the issues in your bricks can grow if left ignored. This leads to more structural damage. If you allow this type of issue to go ignored, it will worsen in the future.  

Shifting and Bulging Bricks 

Stonework and bricks can be prone to shifting, warping, and bulging as time passes by. Shifting temperatures, particularly in the northern and mid-west climates, and weather conditions expand/shrink masonry. This enables shifting stones and mortar deterioration to occur.  

Moisture can also seep into cracks in the stonework. The water inside it can freeze and thaw with the changing weather cycle. This expanding/shrinking can lead to displaced, shifting, and bulging bricks. This problem is also called “frost boil”. 

If you notice any early indications of fallen, bulging, or shifting bricks, make sure you hire a professional masonry contractor. Foundation issues, infrastructure damage, and other masonry issues can happen if this issue is left ignored.  

Deteriorating Mortar 

For those who don’t know, the sealant-like paste that the contractors use to fill the gaps between bricks is called the mortar. It’s almost the same as concrete. Mortar connects bricks. It also helps evenly distribute the weight of every brick.  

Unfortunately, mortars deteriorate over time. There are a couple of reasons why this happens. Time, friction, wind, rain, and more will slowly wear down mortar as time passes by. This signals you to consider hiring a masonry contractor.  

Fortunately, a professional mason can utilize methods such as tuckpointing and repointing to replace damaged mortar. They can help restore the look of your masonry structure to its original condition. Thus, you’ve got nothing to worry about.  

How to Prepare Your Chimney for Winter

With the cold months quickly making their way to our lives, it’s officially time to start the process of getting our chimneys ready for the winter season.  

However, what does preparing your chimney mean? For those who don’t know, preparing your fireplace for the cold months guarantees that it will prevent fires, save energy, and keep your house warmer.  

If you’re having a hard time preparing your chimney, we are here to help. Here are a couple of tips you can follow to help you prepare. If you think you can’t do these things, you can always ask a masonry contractor for help. 

Stock Up on Wood 

First of all, it’s crucial to stock up on wood for your chimney before the cold season arrives. With this, you can easily prepare for the cold weather. If you’re having a hard time selecting the best wood for your fireplace, try to pick dense hardwoods like oak.  

After you purchase wood, make sure you split them and store them in a dry and high place for at least 6 months. Try to avoid resinous softwoods and greed wood, such as pine. The reason for this is that these woods generate more flammable creosote. This particulate can often accumulate in the chimney.  

Check for Any Indications of Debris or Damage 

Then, make sure you inspect properly your chimney’s damper. This will help guarantee that it closes and opens properly. Also, check the chimney for pests, bird nests, and birds.  

Lastly, check the bricks and mortar of your fireplace. Try to look for signs of damage, such as cracks and chips. These issues can be a fire hazard if you don’t fix them. If you do find damages to your fireplace, make sure you hire a masonry contractor for help. 

Hire a Professional Masonry Contractor 

For those who don’t know, it’s important to clean your chimney regularly. Professionals typically recommend cleaning your chimney at least once a year. Usually, chimney cleaning is done during the fall season to better prepare for the upcoming winter months.  

Hiring a professional is the best way to guarantee that your chimney is cleaned properly. The reason for this is that these professionals have all the tools and skills needed to thoroughly clean your chimney.  

When hiring a professional chimney cleaning service, make sure they have the right tools and people for the job.  

You can do the job yourself. However, you need to commit a lot of effort and time to properly do it.  

Cleaning the Chimney 

As mentioned earlier, you need to clean your chimney at least once a year. However, if you’ve got the tools and skills needed to clean your chimney more than once a year, then you should go for it.  

There are a lot of reasons why you need to clean your chimney. First, it helps improve the air quality of your house since you’re getting rid of the accumulated soot. Furthermore, it also helps you prevent any fire hazards that might occur if you choose to ignore your chimney.  

Things to Consider When Installing a Fireplace

Do you want to improve your backyard? If so, you should consider adding an inviting and warm outdoor fireplace. This home improvement feature offers value to your property. It also provides a comfortable gathering spot and upgrades your outdoor space with visual appeal.  

Just like any home improvement project, you need to properly plan your outdoor fireplace. There are a lot of things you need to consider first. Doing your research is the key to making the correct decision and getting the results you desire.  

Today, we’re going to share with you some of the most important things to consider when installing a fireplace. Make sure you plan these things first before you hire masonry contractors.  

How Big Should Your Fireplace Be? 

Keep in mind that fireplaces come in a huge variety of sizes. When picking the correct size, you’ve got to think about the purpose of the fireplace and your existing home exterior.  

There are several questions you need to answer. For example, do you want your fireplace to accentuate the natural surroundings, or do you want it to be the primary attraction in your yard? 

Aside from that, you’ve got to choose a fireplace that’s proportional to your house. It might look a bit overwhelming if your fireplace is bigger than your home. If it’s also smaller, it might look out of place.  

The best approach is to scale the fireplace design to match the environment.  

How Does the Fireplace Match the Design of Your House? 

Homeowners need to think about the aesthetics of their house and outdoor area when planning an outdoor fireplace. There are several questions to ask yourself. This includes: 

  • Is it better to complement the current exterior of your house or do you want to have a contrast in the design? 
  • Is the current style of your house modern or traditional? 

Since there are tons of available designs for fireplaces, you will definitely find one that will fit your preferences.  

You can either go for a traditional brick-front design or copy the existing stonework of your house. Stucco is one common alternative. On the other hand, stacked stone is a contemporary design that is modern and versatile.  

What is the Purpose of Your Fireplace? 

An outdoor fireplace can be a huge asset to the landscape of your house. You might want to create an outdoor living space. You probably want to improve your entertainment area with a warm fireplace.  

Another popular reason why homeowners choose to add a fireplace is to offer a cozy and warm seating area that your guests and family can enjoy during winter.  

If you like to cook, you might appreciate an outdoor space for preparing meals.  

The purpose of your fireplace is a crucial thing to consider. For instance, a small fireplace might be the best option if you simply want an intimate seating area. On the other hand, a two-sided fireplace can offer more light and warmth for more individuals if your goal is to entertain a large group of people.