Technical Terms Used in Masonry
When it comes to masonry, there are several technical terms that are commonly used to describe different aspects of the construction process. These terms are essential for anyone involved in masonry work, whether you’re a professional mason or a homeowner looking to understand the terminology used in the industry.
Let’s explore some of the key technical terms used in masonry:-
A header refers to a brick or stone that is laid with its short end facing outward. Headers are used to create the ends of walls and are often placed at regular intervals to provide strength and stability to the structure.
A stretcher is a brick or stone that is laid with its long side facing outward. Stretchers form the majority of the masonry wall and are laid in continuous courses to create a solid and durable structure.
The bond refers to the arrangement of bricks or stones in a wall. There are different types of bonds, such as the common bond, English bond, and Flemish bond. The bond pattern influences the strength, stability, and appearance of the masonry.
A course is a horizontal row of bricks or stones in a wall. Each course is laid on top of the previous one, creating a layered structure. The height of each course determines the overall height of the wall.
5. Header Course
A header course is a row of bricks or stones in which the majority of the units are headers. Header courses are often used to reinforce the ends of walls and provide additional strength.
6. Stretcher Course
A stretcher course is a row of bricks or stones in which the majority of the units are stretchers. Stretcher courses form the main body of the wall and are laid in continuous rows.
The bed refers to the horizontal surface on which a brick or stone is laid. Proper bedding is crucial for ensuring the stability and alignment of the masonry units.
The face is the outer surface of a brick or stone that is visible in the finished wall. The face is often finished or treated to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the masonry.
Facing refers to the decorative or finished layer of masonry that is applied to the exterior surface of a wall. Facings can be made of various materials, such as brick veneer, stone veneer, or stucco.
The back is the inner surface of a brick or stone that is not visible in the finished wall. The back of the masonry unit is in contact with the mortar and provides structural support to the wall.
Backing refers to the material or structure that supports the masonry units. It provides stability and strength to the wall.
Hearing refers to the ability to determine the quality of a brick by tapping it. A high-pitched sound indicates a good brick, while a dull sound may indicate a defective brick.
A joint is the space between two masonry units. It is filled with mortar to provide strength and stability to the wall.
14. Racking Back
Racking back is a technique used to create a stepped effect in a wall. It involves setting the masonry units back slightly with each course.
A closer is a masonry unit that is cut to fit into a specific space in the wall. It is typically used to create a neat and finished look.
A bat is a masonry unit that is cut in half lengthwise. It is used to create a bond between two adjacent courses of bricks.
17. King Closer
A king closer is a brick that is cut diagonally. It is used to fill the gap at the end of a course where a full brick cannot be used.
18. Queen Closer
A queen closer is a brick that is cut lengthwise. It is used to create a bond between a header and a stretcher.
19. Bevelled Closer
A bevelled closer is a brick that is cut with a sloping face. It is used to create a smooth transition between two different wall planes.
20. Mitred Closer
A mitred closer is a brick that is cut at an angle. It is used to create a clean and precise corner in a wall.
The term ‘perpend’ refers to the vertical joint between two masonry units. It is commonly used in brickwork and blockwork to describe the mortar joint that runs vertically between the units.
A ‘frog’ is a depression or void in the bed of a brick or block unit. It is usually located on the top surface and helps improve the bond between the unit and the mortar.
A ‘quoin’ is an external corner of a masonry wall. It is often emphasized or highlighted to add visual interest and strength to the structure.
The ‘plinth’ is the base or foundation of a masonry structure. It is typically made of stone, concrete, or brick and provides a stable platform for the rest of the building.
25. Plinth Course
A ‘plinth course’ is a horizontal row of masonry units that form the base of a structure. It is often wider or more decorative than the courses above it.
A ‘sill’ is a horizontal member at the bottom of a window or door opening. It helps support the weight of the masonry above and provides a smooth transition from the exterior to the interior.
The ‘jambs’ are the vertical sides of a window or door opening. They help frame the opening and provide support for the masonry units surrounding it.
‘Reveals’ are recessed areas or grooves in the masonry that create shadow lines. They are often used to add depth and visual interest to the facade of a building.
A ‘lintel’ is a horizontal structural member that spans over an opening, such as a door or window. It helps support the masonry above and distribute the weight evenly.
An ‘arch’ is a curved structure that spans over an opening and supports the weight above it. It is commonly used in masonry work to create doorways, windows, or decorative features.
31. String Course
The string course is a horizontal band or molding that is used to visually separate different levels or sections of a building. It is typically made of brick or stone and is often decorative in nature. The string course can be found on both the exterior and interior of a building.
The cornice is the decorative molding that is found at the top of a building’s exterior walls. It is usually made of wood, stone, or plaster and serves to visually finish the building’s facade. The cornice can be simple or elaborate in design, depending on the architectural style of the building.
The frieze is the horizontal band that runs between the cornice and the architrave. It is often decorated with sculptures, reliefs, or other ornamental elements. The frieze is commonly found in classical architecture and can add a sense of grandeur to a building.
34. Blocking Course
The blocking course is a horizontal band of stone or brick that is used to conceal the roofline of a building. It is typically found on the parapet or balustrade of a building and serves as a visual barrier between the roof and the facade. The blocking course can be plain or decorated, depending on the architectural style of the building.
The parapet is the low protective wall or railing that is found at the edge of a roof, balcony, or terrace. It is often made of brick or stone and serves to prevent people from falling off the edge. The parapet can be plain or decorated, depending on the design of the building.
The coping is the protective cap or covering that is placed on top of a wall or parapet. It is typically made of brick or stone and serves to protect the underlying masonry from weathering and water damage. The coping can be flat or sloped, depending on the architectural style of the building.
Toothing is a technique used in brickwork to create a smooth transition between two adjacent walls. It involves cutting small teeth or notches into the end of one wall and inserting corresponding bricks into the notches to create a seamless joint. Toothing is commonly used when extending or repairing existing masonry walls.
Weathering is the process by which the surface of masonry materials, such as brick or stone, deteriorates over time due to exposure to the elements. It can include the effects of rain, wind, temperature changes, and other environmental factors. Weathering can cause discoloration, cracking, or erosion of the masonry.
Throating is a decorative technique used in masonry to create a groove or channel along the edge of a stone or brick. It is often used in cornices, arches, or other architectural elements to add visual interest and depth. Throating can be simple or intricate in design, depending on the desired effect.
The gable is the triangular portion of a wall that is enclosed by the sloping roofs of a building. It is typically found at the end of a pitched roof and serves to give the building a distinctive shape. The gable can be plain or adorned with decorative elements, such as windows, moldings, or sculptures.
41. Through Stone
A through stone is a stone that spans the entire thickness of a wall, connecting the inner and outer layers. It provides strength and stability to the structure.
Indenting refers to the process of cutting or carving grooves or channels into the surface of a stone or brick. This technique is often used for decorative purposes or to create a better bond with the mortar.
43. Template or Bed Block
A template or bed block is a piece of wood, metal, or stone that is used as a guide or support for laying bricks or stones in a particular pattern or arrangement.
Spalls are small pieces of stone or brick that break off from a larger piece. They are often used as fillers or to repair damaged areas in a wall.
A column is a vertical structural element that is used to support the weight of a building or other structures. It is typically made of stone, brick, or concrete.
A pier is a vertical support that is used to carry the weight of an arch or bridge. It is usually wider than a column and often has a decorative or ornamental design.
Plaster is a mixture of sand, cement, and water that is applied to the surface of a wall to create a smooth and even finish. It provides protection and insulation to the underlying masonry.
A buttress is a projecting support that is built against a wall to provide additional strength and stability. It is often used in the construction of large or tall structures.
A corbel is a projecting piece of stone or brick that supports a weight or load. It is often used to create decorative or architectural features.
Thresholds are horizontal pieces of stone or wood that are placed at the base of a door or window. They provide a smooth transition between the interior and exterior surfaces and help to prevent drafts and water infiltration.
By understanding these technical terms, you will be better equipped to communicate with masonry professionals and make informed decisions during your construction or renovation project. Whether you are building a new structure or repairing an existing one, having a basic knowledge of these terms will help you ensure the success and durability of your project.
FAQs on Technical Terms Used in Masonry
Masonry, the construction of structures using bricks or stones, involves various technical terms that may be unfamiliar to many. In this article, we will answer some frequently asked questions about the technical terms used in masonry.
1. What is a mortar?
Mortar is a mixture of cement, sand, and water used to bind bricks or stones together. It provides strength and stability to masonry structures.
2. What is a brick?
A brick is a rectangular block made of clay or concrete that is used as a building material in masonry construction. Bricks are laid in courses and bonded together with mortar.
3. What is a stone?
A stone is a natural material that is used in masonry construction. Stones can be either natural or cut into specific shapes for better fitting and aesthetics.
4. What is a course?
A course refers to a horizontal layer of bricks or stones in a masonry structure. Courses are laid one on top of another and are bonded together with mortar.
5. What is a joint?
A joint is the space between adjacent bricks or stones in a masonry structure. Joints are filled with mortar to provide stability and prevent water penetration.
6. What is a header?
A header is a brick or stone that is laid with its end facing outward in a masonry structure. Headers are used to create bonds and add strength to the structure.
7. What is a stretcher?
A stretcher is a brick or stone that is laid with its long side facing outward in a masonry structure. Stretchers are used to create the main body of the structure.
8. What is a bond?
A bond refers to the arrangement of bricks or stones in a masonry structure. Common bond patterns include stretcher bond, header bond, and English bond.
9. What is a cavity wall?
A cavity wall is a type of masonry wall that consists of two separate walls with a gap (cavity) between them. The cavity provides insulation and prevents moisture penetration.
10. What is a lintel?
A lintel is a horizontal structural member placed across an opening (such as a door or window) in a masonry wall. It supports the load above the opening and transfers it to the surrounding walls.
These are just a few of the technical terms used in masonry. Understanding these terms can help you communicate effectively with masonry professionals and gain a better understanding of the construction process.