Masonry is a highly durable form of building construction utilizing bricks and other building stones, cement blocks or concrete, as well as mortar and plaster. A person who constructs masonry structures is called a mason or bricklayer.
Masonry structures can be either structural or decorative. Structural masonry is typically used for load bearing walls, shear walls or foundations. Masonry may also be combined with steel and concrete frame structures to provide a more efficient and economical solution to a building project.
Decorative masonry can be done in a number of different ways, including using natural stone veneers over CMU or cast-in-place concrete walls and the use of simulated or manufactured stone as an alternative to real stones. In addition, traditional brick masonry can be crafted to look like natural stone or even wood through a process known as slipform stonemasonry.
Modern innovations in the masonry industry have made it possible for masons to meet tight deadlines by improving the efficiency and speed of construction processes. In particular, masonry mixers have been revolutionized to allow for greater output with significantly less effort than the old drum mixers that were once the mainstay of masonry work.
Masonry can offer significant energy savings to a building's interior, thanks to its high thermal mass properties. In addition to keeping building interiors warmer in winter and cooler in summer, it can also assist with meeting US Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements for insulation and indoor air quality.