What is Masonry ?
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound
together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves.
The common materials of masonry construction
are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone, cast stone,concrete
block, glass block, stucco, and tile. Masonry is generally a highly durable form
of construction. However, the materials used, the quality of the mortar and
workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled can
significantly affect the durability of the overall masonry construction.
Types of Masonry walls
Based on load bearing
• Load bearing masonry walls.
• Non-load bearing masonry walls.
Based on construction
• Solid walls
• Veneered walls
• Reinforced walls
• Cavity walls
Load bearing masonry walls
A load-bearing wall (or bearing
wall) is a wall that bears a load
resting upon it by conducting its
weight to a foundation structure.
The materials most often used to
construct load-bearing walls in
large buildings are concrete, block,
Application Of Load Bearing Wall
Depending on the type of building and the number of stories, load-bearing
walls are gauged to the appropriate thickness to carry the weight above
them. Without doing so, it is possible that an outer wall could become
unstable if the load exceeds the strength of the material used, potentially
leading to the collapse of the structure.
Non-Load Bearing Wall
Walls that are only intended to
support themselves and the weight
of the cladding or sheathings
Non load bearing walls provide no
structural support and may be
interior or exterior walls.
Masonry units laid close together with all joints filled solidly
Solid walls are structurally bonded by metal ties, masonry
headers or by joint reinforcement.
Where solid masonry walls are used, insulation and mechanical
equipment are often installed within a furred space on the
interior side of the wall. Below grade, insulation is often placed
on the exterior side of the wall.
Internal Wall Insulation
Will slightly reduce the floor area of any rooms in which it is applied (the
thickness of the insulation is around 100mm)
Is disruptive, but can be done room by room
Requires skirting boards, door frames and external fittings to be removed and
Can make it hard to fix heavy items to inside walls – although special fixings
is generally cheaper to install than external wall insulation
External Wall Insulation
Can be applied without disruption to the household
Does not reduce the floor area of your home
Renews the appearance of outer walls
Improves weatherproofing and sound resistance.
Fills cracks and gaps in the brickwork, which will reduce draughts
Increases the life of your walls by protecting the brickwork
Is best installed at the same time as external refurbishment work to reduce the cost
Is not recommended if the outer walls are structurally unsound and cannot be repaired.
Reinforced masonry is any type of brick, concrete or other type
of masonry that is strengthened or fortified with the use of other building
materials to increase resistance to deterioration due to weight bearing or
other forms of stress
One of the most common examples of reinforced masonry involves exterior
walls that are created using concrete blocks or clay bricks. Along with the
blocks or bricks, steel rods are worked into the structure, often using some
type of vertical framework that aids in allowing the walls to bear up under
its own weight, and the weight of the connecting walls and floors within
The weaknesses of the masonry without reinforcement:
1. the sensitivity to cracks
2. the low flexural bearing capacity
Reinforcing in brickwork is applied for two causes: masonry is a quasibrittle material and is very
sensitive to cracking. Therefore, one part of the cracks can be prevented by using reinforcing bars
or mesh embedded in the bed joint, or the size of cracks can be significantly decreased. . The
flexural (tension) bearing capacity of masonry increases considerably with reinforcing.
Using reinforcement to prevent cracks horizontal bed joint reinforcement can be applied in
the following cases :
1. if temperature changes or moisture content variations occur, the bricks may dry out, and cracks will arise as a
consequence of shrinkage.
2. Strains resulting from differential settlement (Fig. 6 a) or
3. creep can cause big cracks.
4. At the corner of a building and at the cross junction cracks are very common due to the different strain of the
differently loaded wall sections. This type of cracks can be decreased with the reinforcing of the junction. In the Fig.
6 b the consecutive layers of a T junction can be seen.
5. Infill walls (Fig. 6 d) in reinforced concrete frames can suffer damage due to the deflection of the floor.
6. In the place of concentrated load induction (Fig. 6 c), tensile
stresses occur in the plane perpendicular to loading, which
can be handled by the bed joint reinforcement. Increasing the
load bearing capacity, the reinforcement improves the stiffness of the masonry, and it distributes the stresses almost
uniformly. For example by increasing the capacity of the masonry lintels or beams around openings (Fig. 6 e, f),
frameworks and steelworks may be prevented. For that purposes, prefabricated reinforcement meshes and lintel
hooks are available.
7. If the walls of cellars (Fig. 6 g) and retaining walls are unable to carry the loads from the pressure of the soil, it is
recommended to use vertical joint reinforcement; however, the implementation is more difficult.
The Types of Reinforced
Depending on which materials are used, and how they are located, reinforced
masonry (RM) walls can be divided into the following classes:
•reinforced cavity masonry
•reinforced solid masonry
•reinforced hollow unit masonry
•reinforced grouted masonry
•reinforced pocket type walls.
Veneered Masonry Wall
A brick veneer wall is constructed by having a non-structural external layer,
usually with bricks and it is
backed by an air cavity.
The innermost element of this type of wall is structural can consist of wood,
metal framing or masonry.
A brick veneer construction has many advantages over solid masonry. It shares
some of the advantages
of a cavity wall.
A brick veneer masonry wall is light weight, thermally efficient and can help
in reducing costs.
The airspace between the brick veneer wall and the structural element acts
as a drainage system.
The cavity can be insulated and this improves the thermal performance of the
The structural element can be constructed first and this allows the rest of the
construction to proceed. The brick veneer can be completed simultaneously.
A brick veneer construction takes less time to complete than a solid masonry
wall which will give cost savings.
A veneer wall will weigh much less than a solid wall. Since the weight is less,
the cost of the foundation
and structural support can be reduced.
Masonry walls are durable and long lasting, but they
have one weak point: water penetration.
Some examples of brick
veneered masonry walls.
THE CAVITY WALL METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION WAS INTRODUCED
IN THE NORTHWEST EUROPE DURING THE 19th CENTURY AND
GAINED THE WIDESPREAD USE FROM 1920’S.
IN SOME EARLY EXAMPLES STONES WERE USED TO TIE THE TWO
LEAVES OF THE CAVITY WALLS TOGETHER.INITIALLY CAVITY
WIDTHS WERE EXTREMELY NARROW AND WERE PRIMARILY
IMPLEMENTED TO PREVENT THE PASSAGE OF MOISTURE INTO THE
INTERIOR OF THE BUILDING.
THE CAVITY WALLS CONSIST OF TWO SKINS SEPERATED BY A
HOLLOW SPACE (CAVITY).
THE SKINS ARE COMMONLY MASONRY SUCH AS BRICK OR
CONCRETE BLOCK. MASONRY IS AN ABSORBENT MATERIAL AND
THEREFORE WILL SLOWLY DRAW RAINWATER OR EVEN HUMIDITY
INTO THE WALL.
THE CAVITY SERVES AS A WAY TO DRAIN THIS WATER BACK OUT
THROUGH WEEP HOLES AT THE BASE OF THE WALL SYSTEM OR
THE REASON CAVITY INSULATION KEEPS HEAT IN IS THAT THE
POLYMER AND AIR IN THE CAVITY ARE GOOD INSULATORS.