Learn to Work with Stone, Concrete, Cement and Brick
Understanding these materials helps you to both design and build better gardens.
An understanding of these hard landscape and building materials is not to be underrated. It is very easy to make mistakes that can waste money, time, and create serious safety issues if you don't properly understand the materials you are working with. This course helps you to avoid such problems.
- Learn to make different types of cement and concrete
- Learn how bricks or stones should be laid to create a solid and durable structure
- Understand the differences between different types of concrete, stone and brick
- Learn how timber, metal or other materials can be attached to masonry
There are 9 lessons in this course:
Scope and Nature of Masonry
Cement and Concrete
Construction Method and Structural Considerations
Working with Brick
Working with Stone
Construction for Fire -Fireplaces, bbq’s, kilns, ovens and fire pits
Landscape Applications & Hybrid construction
Repair and Miscellaneous Work
Building Applications -houses, farm and commercial buildings
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Describe materials, tools and equipment used for masonry construction
Describe the nature and scope of work using those tools and materials.
Explain the use of cement as mortar or to make concrete
Explain construction with brick stone or concrete in a way which is structurally sound and appropriate to the circumstances.
Explain working with different types of bricks for different construction purposes
Explain different ways of building with stone.
Explain construction of fireplaces and other heat resistant structures
Explain landscape uses for masonry
Explain maintenance and repair of stone, brick and concrete
Explain building construction with brick, stone and concrete.
Learn to Choose the Right Stone for a Job
Stone varies in appearance, strength, durability and other features. Porosity and permeability are considered two of the most important factors affecting deterioration of stone. Some types of stone may last for millennia without much maintenance; but other types may need more attention.
The uninformed often make mistakes by using stone inappropriately, simply because it is available and inexpensive in the locality where you work. Over the duration of this course you will learn not only how stone is worked with; but your understanding of what different types of stone can be used for will grow.
The main types of stone used are:
The characteristics of stone can be determined by testing small laboratory samples before they are quarried, cut and used. In some instances, this may not be necessary, but for any substantial and serious engineering work or building construction, such testing may not just be wise, but it may be mandated by law. Stone used for construction needs to be appropriate in terms of all the following:
- Colour and grain
- Porosity and texture
- Ease of quarrying
- Accessibility and availability
Granite is one of the hardest and most durable types of stone used in construction. It is an igneous rock made up mostly of quartz and feldspar, with some dark minerals and possibly other components. Granite can vary in colour from pinks to greyish and pale to very dark. Granite is typically used for both structural and veneer building, as well as in architectural trim, paving, bench tops, grave markers, curb stones and in artistic sculpture.
While being very durable, it can nevertheless deteriorate over time, due to:
- Blistering – small swellings occur on the stone surface, which eventually cause a thin skin of stone to dislodge from the surface. This is often associated with water freezing on the surface of stone near ground level. It can be exaggerated by de-icing salts.
- Chipping – fragments of stone may break off, most frequently on edges or corners due to accidental impact damage (eg. during repair work).
- Cracking, Peeling, Spawling or Flaking - If water enters a crack, or gets behind the surface layer of a stone, and then freezes, the ice expansion can cause further cracking. Narrow cracks can develop in stones perhaps as a large stone settles if the foundation or mortar under one part is not as supportive as another part Cracked stones may require patching or complete replacement.
- Detachment – The granite itself may remain in tact, but it may move from the position it was fixed into, due to deterioration of it’s surrounds (eg. metal rusting, timber rotting, water leaking, etc). Veneer stones may be more prone to this.
- Chemical damage – A build up of chemical salt (possibly due to ineffective cleaning), can corrode the surface of stone. Hard stone like granite may corrode very slowly, but nevertheless it can still corrode.
- Erosion – Rain and wind can gradually damage the surface of any stone, including granite.
- Staining -Granite can stain over time, not as much as softer stones though. Stains can be caused by metal corrosion, chemical salts, urine or droppings from animals, pollutants (eg. soot), or be intentional (eg. graffiti). There are ways of addressing different stains. It is important to use the right way for the type of stain, and type of stone; or you may cause an even greater problem.
- Rising Damp – If construction does not ensure a watercourse barrier close to ground level; water can be absorbed from the ground up into the walls, causing cracking, peeling or any other type of water damage