Masonry Tool Kit

Why Masonry?

Masonry construction goes as far back as 6,000 years ago. Some of the world's most significant architectural achievements have been made with masonry. Masonry in years past has been chosen for its beauty, versatility, and durability. Its past is still with us, preserved in the great wonders of the world. Its presence is all around us, the buildings we admire as we travel around America and the world. Its future is limited only by the designer or contractors inability to consider a masonry perspective on a challenging assignment.

If you desire a new or renovated structure that will bring lasting beauty, solid economic savings, and an enhancement to your company's reputation and character in your community, then using a masonry system for your next project is imperative. Bringing logic and value back to the planning table is crucial to creating structures that will not only be timeless but will withhold the test of time.

Masonry Features

Masonry's adaptability to design forms, richness in texture, its modern adaptation for structural requirements, minimum maintenance, and cost competitiveness with other materials make it the preferred material for today's buildings. The innovative features of masonry will help meet and exceed your needs of function and aesthetics.

Specifically, here are some of the features that using a masonry system can bring to your current or planned building project:

  • Fire Resistance:
    Building codes require institutional buildings to meet stringent fire codes. By itself, load-bearing masonry provides a high level of resistance. Other systems need multiple subassemblies to get to the same levels and meet code. In the process, they drive up the complexity and the cost of the facility as a whole.
  • Mold Resistance:
    Mold needs moisture, warm temperatures and a food source. While masonry may get wet, it will never provide a food source for mold.
  • Impact Resistance:
    In high traffic areas where walls are subject to impacts, masonry far outperforms impact resistance drywall.
  • Weathering Resistance:
    Masonry is unaffected by moisture, whereas steel will corrode unless properly protected by a coating. Consider masonry a “forgiving material” - one that is not destroyed by moisture, regardless of climate conditions.
  • Sound Transfer:
    Increasing the density of the enclosure materials is the most cost effective method of controlling sound transfer through building assemblies. Solid masonry easily wins out over steel or wood framed systems.
  • Optimization:
    Masonry optimizes the energy performance through thermal mass. Masonry also uses regional materials that reduce environmental impacts associated with transporting building products long distances. Providing an opportunity for additional LEED points.

Benefits of Masonry

The Logical Choice. The Only Choice.

Masonry contractors understand the task at hand; a project needs to get done efficiently, effectively and on time. Masons are hardworking, diligent craftworkers with pride in the work they do. They believe in the project and stand behind their skill. Choosing masonry separates the strong from the weak, not only in trade but also in product. Yet today, we are being told masonry is too expensive, the trade is too slow or simply people are uncomfortable using it in design. Upstate Masonry Institute is here to alleviate those thoughts.

From a community standpoint, the economics of using masonry system construction is significant because local labor and local masonry materials are used. The benefit of jobs and goods and services that follow masonry construction projects create an economic ripple effect 4 to 10 times the construction dollars spent in the community. Certainly, these attributes should not be overlooked when the type of construction system is being considered. It is difficult to understand why any other type of building material is used for governmental and local business structures.

The real economic advantage offered by masonry construction is a result of the construction technique and performance of the system. No other construction method can compare with the "multitude of functions" that a single building element constructed of masonry provides. Basically, the load-bearing masonry system eliminates the cost of the frame because the structure is also the enclosing wall. That of course is significant, but then consider that this particular wall may also act as an interior finish surface, provide a fire resistive structure, is infiltration free, provides a large amount of mass for maintaining temperature, stability and is resistant to sound transmission.

Masonry construction avoids waiting for fabrication and the problems associated with the accumulation of fabrication tolerances. Using a masonry system means that construction can begin immediately. The lead times are significantly lower, resulting in very little delay to get the project started.

Single contractor responsibility, fewer trades on the job and immediately available local materials provide the load-bearing masonry system with one of its greatest attributes.

Still not a firm believer as to why masonry is the best choice, the only choice for specific commercial projects? Let Upstate Masonry Institute guide you into the masonry world!


Masonry Detailing Technical Information

For an extensive collection of illustrative construction details and diagrams produced by International Masonry Institute (IMI) for architects and engineers to use as a design resource. 

Did you Know

Ancient masonry buildings were load bearing in the sense that masonry resisted all of the imposed loads.


Build Better Buildings by Design

Why Masonry?
  • It's Green
  • It's Affordable
  • It's Flexible & Attractive
  • It's Safe



Masonry IQ Videos and Information


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  • 6 Airline Drive
    Albany, New York 12211

  • 518-640-2530

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