Structural Home Plans Owner Built Homes Homesteads

Obviously it is important to get this first layer level, in line, and plumb, as the rest of the wall is established by this first course.

No mortar is used and the blocks fit in one position only. One would naturally suppose that the value of a building material depends less on appearance than on its structural and insulation values. In some circles the degree of affectation supersedes the more basic cost and strength considerations. In more recent years the trend has been toward masonry grills and patterned block units. One can buy “split block,” “slump block,” or “scored block “—depending upon the desired effect one wishes to achieve. Concrete block or structural clay tile is usually used to “back-up” the clay brick facing. The logical solution to this problem of moisture penetration and poor insulation is to separate the inner from the outer wall. Where resistance to heat flow in addition to that provided by the air space is required, insulating material can be installed directly into the cavity.

That is, the un-reinforced wall requires 50% more brick and 50% more weight must be carried by the supporting structure. This is a fundamental quality which should be insisted upon in the choice of any building material. A stiff brush or rag is best for applying the acid to the wall. In principle, the factory environment offers better control over everything from the framing to the insulation, but in reality the product varies. If you’re working with an architect, and want to build using a method other than stick-framing, make sure your architect is also experienced in the type of construction that you elect. 

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This is the method of stone masonry we have used the most. You place stones inside the forms with the good faces against the form work and pour concrete in behind the rocks. Rebar is added for strength, to make a wall that is approximately half concrete and rebar and half stonework. The wall can be faced with stone on one side or both sides. With slipforms it is easy even for the novice to build free-standing stone walls. By building the interior frame first, you will have half the formwork done, plus a straight and plumb guide to work from for doing your stonework.

This method works exceptionally well when the rocks are squared and brick-like, but for rounded stones the novice would need forms to aid in the process.

The beadboard panels would serve as forms inside the wall and the stone masonry would be slipformed up the outside. That way it would be easier to build straight, plumb walls with less labor and fewer slipforms. The beadboard panels would also eliminate expensive wood framing on the inside of the walls while maximizing energy efficiency by eliminating thermal gaps through the framing.

My brother grew interested in the idea and decided to figure it out himself. He liked the idea of building with stone, but didn’t care for the slipform masonry technique we used. He chose tilt-up stone masonry as a faster way to build, that would also eliminate the cold joints that run throughout slipformed walls. With tilt-up construction he would be able to bring the stonework up higher without having to lift each individual rock and bucket of concrete.

He bought a building lot a block away from our place built his house with the tilt-up method. It requires an expereienced carpenter and mason, and it is really suited for mass-production, where the same forms are used again and again.
The forms are filled with stone and concrete, then “slipped” up the walls to form the subsequent levels. Slipforming makes stone work easy even for the novice. In this video you will see just one application of those principles, but in vivid detail from start to finish. First published in 1976, the material covered in this book is just as timeless as stone itself. Discover the lasting statisfaction of working with stone and learn the tricks of the trade from a master craftsman. The physical challneges will be offset by tremendous satisfaction and the knowledge that long after the builder is gone, the structure will continue to serve.

The final chapter covers proper restoration techniques for stone structures. The plastic sleeves stayed in the wall, but the threaded rod could be used again and again. Stanley has an informal dialogue style of writing, which includes his thoughts, philosophy and stories along the way.

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He includes coverage of passive solar principles for mild climates, plus how to make a house fit the landscape. Also included are sections on moulding and casting techniques, with some coverage of working with recycled windows and doors, plus paint stripping and wood finishing.

Fully illustrated with hundreds of diagrams and photographs. I am on the working treadmill to nowhere. Their inspectors are knowledgeable, and their reports are very detailed. Building dimensions (wall lengths and door and window openings) should be laid out in increments of the brick units width whenever possible. This helps reduce cutting of brick units and makes the work easier for the mason.
Bond beam units are also available, which are used for supporting ledger boards at floor connections and at the top of a wall for support of the sole plate and roof truss system.

Bond beams are also used to build reinforced beams or lintels over window and door openings. Reinforced masonry beam lintels with nominal amounts of reinforcement steel can easily span 18-foot garage door openings without the use of a steel angle.

There are a variety of sizes of structural brick units manufactured today. Hollow units are available in nominal widths of 4 inches, 5 inches, 6 inches, and 8 inches. When selecting a unit you should consider both the structural requirements as well as the aesthetic features of the unit when placed in the wall.

When we first moved into the house our family was amazed at how little outside sound could be heard. Many brick units in standard production today, including wire-cut, and through body units provide a very pleasing look on both sides of the wall.

Pier and panel walls also provide the option of using panelization systems.
If you have an unheated building or a building not requiring air conditioning, you should definitely consider a structural brick system. In these applications, both the inside and outside mortar joints are tooled so that the structural brick serves as the load bearing wall, exterior finish, and interior finish wall.

As an alternative method, lintels can also be constructed on the ground in a vertical position. After the mortar and grout has cured (3 days is generally sufficient), the assembled lintel units can be lifted in place.
On smaller scale projects most masons mix the grout in 5-gallon, plastic buckets and pour the grout in the cells with the aide of a sheet metal funnel, which can be easily fabricated by a metal shop.

On larger projects, redi-mix pumped systems are often used. The grout mix should be fluid enough to fill all voids, but not separate into its constituents. If this is not done, the contractor should ensure the wall is adequately braced during construction. The roof trusses can then be set and roofing material installed. For unheated utility structures such as garages and barns, an unfinished wall with the joints tooled on both sides is all that is required.

The preference with contractors for interior wall system finishes seems to vary regionally across the country.

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