The following are the commonest stone masonry construction problems:
- Use of wrong materials: picking the right materials for stonemasonry is a skill in itself as this can either make or mar the project
- Poor structuring of the foundation and cracks: normally people opt for stone masonry due to its durability. However, if the foundation is not well structured, the possibility of cracks happening is high. If cracks occur, they must be repaired immediately to prevent moisture infiltration and damage.
- Careless installation: this can make the construction less durable and the final structure unsafe for occupants
- Health hazards during the job: if the hired stonemason is not properly trained on how to safely handle the materials used for the job, such a person may be at the risk of silicosis and other related diseases.
Unlike other construction types, a stonemasonry construction cannot be easily altered, repaired, or relocated if an error occurs during the job. Hence, it is important to employ an experienced professional near you who is also safety cautious.
Other problems associated with stonemasonry include:
- Frost Attack: It is caused by continuous exposure to frost and can easily displace stones in exposed areas, such as at the top of a wall.
- Salt crystallisation - It appears as white powder on the surface of stone as the stone dries out. It increases pressure on the stone, leading to cracks and corrosion.
- Metal expansion: It happens when iron or steel cramps used to fix stonework begins to rust, causing them to expand and this fractures the stone.
- Incorrect Mortar: It happens when the mortar used to bed the stones is too strong and does not allow sufficient evaporation, causing moisture to evaporate through the stone, which leaves it at risk of salt defects.
- Improper Bedding: Normally, stones are supposed to be laid horizontally in the pattern that it was originally formed to maximise strength, but this is often not the case as some masons bed the stones vertically for aesthetic value. This makes the stones more vulnerable to damage and at risk of salt defects and frost attack.
How Much Does Stonemasonry Cost?
Generally, the cost of hiring a stonemason is determined by the size of the project, the type of materials to be used (natural-cut or artificial), and the method of stonemasonry employed. Other factors such as the location of the job also determine the total cost. The total cost includes the cost of stone, stone cutting, sand and lime, and any scaffolding. Stonemasons may charge per hour or by area or volume. Typically, a stone wall costs between $2,143 and $7,553.
Listed below are some of the average costs associated with stonemasonry:
The average costs of the materials used are as follows:
Other estimated costs are as follows:
Note that the appearance and general structure, weight, hardness and toughness, workability, durability, and fire resistance of the stone may also influence the price of a stone and consequently the overall cost of the project.
What are the Factors that Affect the Cost of Stonemasonry?
The cost of stone masonry is not fixed, as it is influenced by some factors. A stonemason can charge as low as $40 per hour and as high as $110 per hour. Generally, the cost of stonemasonry in urban cities is higher than in suburbs and local areas. The total cost is also influenced by the cost of the materials to be used and the construction technique. Some materials are pretty easy to handle and don't cost so much, but other materials may cost a lot more. For instance, the labor cost to build a wall with natural stone ranges from $15 to $30 per square foot, but the cost to build a stone veneer wall ranges from $10 to $15 per square foot.
In addition, the size of the project and the number of stonemasons hired is also important. Ensure to be clear on the number of persons that will work with the contractor you hired. Note that hiring contractors near you will help reduce your cost. If it is a major project, a permit may be required and this will definitely also affect the total cost.
What Qualifications Should a Stonemason Have?
As of 2019, there are 16,800 stonemasons working in the United States. Most of these stone craftsmen started out in the industry with a high school diploma or a similar degree and learned the trade either through an apprenticeship or during practice. Some workers choose to begin their training by taking pre-apprenticeship courses at the Home Builders Institute or the International Masonry Institute.
Apprenticeship programs are mostly initiated by unions and contractor associations. Here, apprentices learn construction basics, including building code requirements, blueprint reading, mathematics for measurement, and safety and first-aid practices. Upon the completion of an apprenticeship program, the trainee is considered a journey worker and can begin to single-handedly handle projects. In some cases, stonemasons start as construction laborers and helpers before becoming masons.
Do I need a Handyman or a Stonemasonry?
Stonemasonry is a delicate job that requires expertise and construction experience because it cannot be easily altered, repaired, or relocated. The belief that hiring a professional stonemason near you is expensive and overrated because of the perceived simplicity of the job is a wrong and uninformed choice. Many handymen handle mason tasks without regards to local building code requirements and with limited skills to complete the job perfectly. In the process, these untrained workmen expose you and themselves to potential health hazards, penalties of contravening the building code, expenses of covering construction errors, and further financial liabilities. While hiring a professional stonemason will save you from all these heartaches, it also comes with the confidence of dealing with an insured and bonded craftsman, and the assurance your work is being completed in accordance with industry standards.
What are Common Post Stonemasonry Expenses?
Stonemasons typically tidy up the work site after a construction project or a repair, leaving a flawless finish. However, certain stonemasonry projects may require the repair of any damages that occurred during the course of work, such as plumbing and electrical damages, where applicable. The service of a painter may also be required if the client wants the stonewall to be painted. It should be noted that any extra expenses that may arise from hiring an additional professional will be covered by the client, except if otherwise agreed upon before the project commences.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Stonemasonry Problems?
Homeowner insurance refers to the type of insurance that provides you indemnity in a case of a home accident or unintentional damage or loss to your property. Typically, homeowner insurance does not cover damage caused by natural disasters like earthquakes, storms, and floods. Hence, a stonemasonry loss that arises from a natural cause may not be compensated. However, a homeowner insurance policy will cover any structural damage caused by explosions, theft, vandalism, riots, vehicle or aircraft clash, etc. The extent of cover a homeowner insurance provides depends on the homeowner's insurance policy and the age of the house.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay For Stonemasonry Services?
Digital payment is gaining a wide acceptance among small businesses across the US today, including stonemasons near you. Many stonemasons accept payments via e-wallets or credit cards. It is even a preferred option compared to cash for receipt and record-keeping purposes. Regardless of this, note that not all stonemasons accept digital payment services. If you would rather use a digital payment method, ensure to inform the stonemason before hiring them.