Within the mason’s craft there are many service offerings pertaining to the subject of brick work. Each category of work in relationship to brick masonry has its’s own unique, but sometimes similar skill set requirements.
The categories of brick masonry include new build brick construction, restorative brick work, heritage brick work, chimney construction, repair and rebuilding, and brick paver installation.
As a result some brick masons choose to specialize in a few genres of such work, while some will engage and have expertise in all aspects of brick masonry.
For example; new construction house building requires the mason to lay high volumes of bricks daily. As the work involves massive scaffold setups, and having apprentices transport bricks to the scaffold and supply high volumes of mortar to keep the brick layers moving. Mass production is the objective in this type of brick masonry.
Restorative brick masonry deals with such work as tuck-pointing deficient areas in existing brick wall structures, rebuilding support columns and brick piers, replacing concrete sills at window and door openings, and steel lintel replacements.
Having the ability to tint mortars to match existing mortar colours, identify, source, and or harvest styles of bricks to create close matching, are skill sets particular to this form of brick masonry.
Dove-tailing on restorative masonry, is dealing with heritage homes and buildings that present their own unique requirements. For example; buildings which hold a heritage designation are typically governed by committees of the Preservation Board. Such boards supply and approve the standards which are required to return a building as closely as possible to it’s original configuration.
As a result; the mason involved with such work must have the ability to work closely with engineers and specifiers to re-create their visions of a final product. Such work presents challenges due to working access, property and public protection, dealing with hidden and unforeseen conditions, structural elements and adaptation when unknown problems present themselves.
The skills required to complete such work must be supplied by masters in the trade, with skilled apprentices providing the support work to carry such project forward to completion.
Brick masters involved in this type of work typically have the experience to replicate complex brick designs, complete corbelling work, and have the ability to deal with elements such as stone work in association with such projects.
Chimney repairs and rebuilding is another highly demanded service for brick masonry. Such projects typically involve one to three days at a given site, and so it also reflects a high volume model of delivery.
This specialized work requires an expert understanding of fireplace and chimney function in order that the finished chimney project is able to draw correctly, and is compliant with building code standards for height and fire compliance, and safety.
Rebuilding a chimney often involves complex setups of scaffold, working on steep roof pitches, and working at considerable heights. The master chimney builder must have the ability to dismantle an old chimney safely and transport the debris to the ground, and then get required materials up to a precarious working area at height.
This work requires considerable experience to replicate the styles of older complex chimney designs, and involves the installation of new flu tiles, and cement caps on top of the chimney; often involving form work in order to pour a new cement cap.
Teams of two (for simple projects) to six masons on larger chimney builds are typically required to complete such work.
Interestingly, in Canada; the most skilled masons are an average of fifty-five years old. Younger generations of people over the past thirty years have been less attracted to this type of trade work. Likely this is due to the fact that the work is physically demanding and one must have the ability to work at considerable heights.
As a result; qualified brick masons are in high demand as majour Canadian and U.S. cities continue to experience a construction boom. Canadians also compete with U.S. wages, where trades people earning even a similar wage , can gain an advantage with the exchange rate of present days.
A less dangerous, but still very physically demanding type of brick masonry ; is landscape masonry work where brick masons that complete ground walkways, patios, pool decks and the like, use paver bricks or stones.
Such work can be dry laid or laid in beds of mortar, and jointed using cement. This genre of brick masonry enjoys great popularity because its finished result is aesthetically pleasing to the consumer, and provides added value as a popular remodelling choice.
Within the realm of brick work for the outdoor living environment, a trend has developed involving transforming outdoor spaces into living environments that include features like outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, and pizza ovens, as examples.
In all instances, the expert brick mason is the catalyst necessary to provide a superior result, that homeowners feel highly satisfied in making such an investment.
Brick masons working on exterior landscapes must be familiar with concepts of drainage, dealing with frost and settlement considerations, must have the ability and mathematics skills to calculate complex designs and elevations. Having an artistic eye is also key to being able to deliver an exceptional finished result for the client.
AVENUE ROAD MASONRY is fortunate to have two generations of masonry expertise supported by teams of brick masons, technicians and apprentices, who possess some or all of the brick masonry services discussed in this article. As demand continues to increase based on having a solid reputation for quality, and demand due to the aging housing stock in the GTA, there is no shortage of opportunity for young people who would like to learn a noble trade that can provide them with a career for a lifetime.
To learn more about masonry apprenticeship, employment opportunities, or about any type of masonry or related services; visit us at www.avenueroadmasonry.com or view us on Youtube™. AVENUE ROAD MASONRY is an equal opportunity employer whose values include honesty, respect, and value of hard work.