At European Stone Masonry LLC, we talk about how quality craftsmanship is in the details, and that details make all the difference. But what exactly are those details? Can you recognize them when you're in need of a stonemason?
With a little help, you can spot the signs of quality craftsmanship and avoid costly mistakes, repairs and frustration.
Here are five guidelines for recognizing quality stonework based on our construction practices:
On Solid Ground - When building stone walls, our footings are 10" to 12" thick and reinforced with two layers of steel rebar. With patio, walkway and flatwork construction, the concrete slab is 3½" to 4" thick and also reinforced with steel rebar. For specifics on patio construction, read our post Stone Patios: What To Ask Before You Buy.
Course Of Study - No, you don't have to go back to school. This refers to courses or rows of stone that have a general horizontal look or "flow." The stones are interlocked horizontally, and vertical joints don't extend upward for more than one course.
Fitting In - For jointed masonry, the stones are well-fitted so that joints are even and consistent in size. For dry stack or mortared dry stack, a tighter fit is generally better. Tightly fitted stones can lend a distinctive fit and finish.
Though, consider the distance from which the project will be viewed. A stone fireplace crafted in this style (below) becomes a striking focal point and invites being viewed up close. Stone walls seen from afar may not require the same level of detail.
Turn A Corner - Thicker, larger stones are used for corners to impart strength and stability. Corners and edges are exact and straight, unless the design calls for a more rustic appearance. A rustic look, however, doesn't mean sloppy or unprofessional craftsmanship.
Finishing Touches - Sometimes it's hard to avoid getting mortar on a patio during construction, but it can be removed later. When your patio or flatwork is finished, it will be clean and free from excess mortar. The mortar joints will be flat and consistent in size and then wire brushed for a smooth finish. You can also expect a clean work site upon completion of your project.
In general quality stonework, like most things handmade, takes a little longer. Think of it as time well-spent on a product of superior value. Work that is done properly is a significant investment in your home. It lasts a lifetime, requires little if any maintenance and should not need repairs. In other words, no worries later on.
These are five construction practices that we consider important in quality stonework. You can count on European Stone Masonry LLC to meet these standards when you work with us. We also offer a lifetime guarantee on our stonework. Learn more about how the owner, Joe Valles, got started.
Your comments and questions are welcome below.
Originally posted February 1, 2013