If you own a traditional masonry building that has perhaps been standing for a century or more, the techniques and materials needed to repoint the mortar will not be the same as those commonly in use today.
One of the mistakes that less experienced stonemasons often make when working on older buildings is to use cement-based mortars, which do not allow for the transmission of water from your wall.
The trapped water can subsequently freeze in cold weather, causing damage to the surrounding stones and bricks. To avoid the basic mistakes that inexperienced masons make, you should evaluate the firms you are thinking of using very carefully.
Questions to Ask Local Stonemasons
Having gone through the process of selecting a reliable stonemason just a few months ago, I now know what questions you should ask before making your selection and have listed them below in the hope they may help you to identify the best masons in your area.
- What Type of Mortar Do You Use? – As mentioned above, cement mortars are not a suitable choice for older buildings constructed from relatively soft stones or bricks. What you want to do is to find a mason that uses lime mortar for old stone walls. The porous nature of lime mortar enables water, and water vapour, to escape from the walls of your home, preventing frost damage during the winter.
- How Much Experience Do You Have With Older Buildings? – A masonry firm that has a great deal of experience with older buildings will be familiar with the correct techniques and materials to use whereas one that concentrates mainly on new constructions may not be. For your peace of mind, it is better to hire the former type of firm rather than the latter.
- Is Your Work Guaranteed? – While you shouldn’t need to worry about the quality of work performed if you choose wisely, it is nice to have the reassurance that, should anything go wrong, you will be able to rely on your stone mason to return to your property and fix whatever issues you are experiencing.
- Are You Fully Insured? – Again, choose the right mason and you will probably not have to worry about insurance but in the event your property is accidentally damaged during the repointing of your walls, you will be pleased that you chose a contractor with insurance to cover such damage.
- Can You Supply References? – Unsolicited testimonials from local homeowners who have previously used the same firms you are considering, and were very happy with their work, are a very good sign that the firms in question know what they are doing.
I was left with a choice of 3 local stonemasons after working my way through the questions above and, rather than choosing the one that offered to do the work at the lowest price, I chose the one I felt most comfortable with because I think that it is important to trust your instincts, all other factors aside.Read More