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Seeing is Understanding
As all people that have an interest in masonry, it is important for us to realize that we often need help understanding new technologies, old traditions and why the architect drew such a thing. All information shared is only as good as the person communicating the concern. Now, I know I am not the world’s best communicator (ok, stop laughing), but when I am explaining a masonry situation that requires some assistance from a more experienced co-worker I need to be on my game. As an employee of one of the nation’s top masonry firms for many years, I had a variety of expertise at my fingertips, people who could jump in a truck and come to a jobsite without adding expense to my job.
That is what we all need, someone there who can help. Mortar Net® USA, LTD has that service ready and waiting for you. Proud of their technical experience and innovation, Mortar Net can take a look at your jobsite condition and offer the suggestions you sometimes need to keep things moving. Oh - and it is part of our everyday service that we offer all of our customers.
How can we offer answers to your specific questions?
Mortar Net not only innovated mortar collection, single wythe drainage and the unitized drainage systems found on the market today, they also have trademarked the MasonCam™. The MasonCam is a video camera which Mortar Net sends to the customer - free of charge - so filming of the actual condition of your specific jobsite concern can be recorded and shared with one of the technical support team members. Video can be immediately shared through a GoToMeeting® video conference, YouTube, DropBox or any of a number of video transfer sites available. What makes this important to understand is that the customer is having an experienced masonry advisor review the jobsite condition first hand and offering free advice in the time it takes to download a video. It is even easier than asking a co-worker to visit a jobsite with you to ask for advice because you do not have to buy lunch for the help! Masonry customers that have personal video recording devices can send video directly from their cameras to the Mortar Net office for review using any of the video transfer services that are available.
Please contact the Mortar Net office for additional details on how this service can help you on your jobsite.
Technical Video Series for all to view
New to the industry is the complete video series being produced by Mortar Net® USA describing many of the techniques, procedures and products used in special moisture management applications found on jobsites today. The series, filmed at the Mortar Net studio, is filmed with a focus on actual jobsite conditions that are encountered on a daily basis. Based on the technical department’s most frequent requests from their customer base, the videos have been developed to help educate and instruct the viewer using time proven techniques that are typically passed down from one’s mentor. Written and based on hundreds of jobsite visits where North America’s masons and project managers have discussed jobsite conditions, the videos are designed to solve specialty issues using universal techniques. Though products are referenced, the basis of the videos is the education that is presented as well as the techniques that are shared. Compatibility of products as well as the do’s and don’ts of mixing materials is broken down into simple talk.
Available soon on YouTube and Mortar Net’s website, the video series are free to view and can allow architects, engineers and contractors the ability to access specialty information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as sometimes you have a question that cannot wait until Monday morning to be answered.
Some of the topics found on the videos are: Flashing Details at Inside and Outside Cavity Wall Corners; Flashing Penetrations; Lintel Installations; Arch Flashing; Step Down Flashings at 8 Inches and 16 Inches; Inside and Outside Radius Wall Flashing Installations; Air Barrier Installations; Sealant Compatibility; Differences in Flashing Membranes; Single Wythe Concrete Masonry Units Through-Wall Flashings; Engineering Take-Off Service; Mortar Net Challenge; and even an Out-Take Reel that has some funny camera shots showing real life goofs that would make any installer laugh.
Mortar Net will even create a specialty video offering solutions to your specific questions.
As technology expands our trade with digital time clocks, automated estimating and accounting services, cellular phones and digital video cameras, it is great to know that the originator of the first mortar collection system allows its technical department the ability to share experience, and video equipment to assist the masons in solving problems with time proven techniques and quality products.
Showing the masonry industry Mortar Net’s commitment to the industry and the technical expertise that is part of our everyday service will provide the customer with confidence that their masonry-related questions will be answered correctly.
|Jerry Painter and Steven Fechino at the ASTM meeting in San Diego!|
Expansion Joints are common practice for an architect to detail on drawings and a contractor to install, however, many people who have careers in the masonry field still do not understand the joint completely.
An expansion joint is a vertical joint placed in the masonry veneer and brick related wythes. This joint will allow movement within the structure due to moisture and thermal changes.
Expansion joint design creates the ability of the veneer to move without structural or architectural finish damage.
Design parameters for expansion joints typically allow greater than 7/16 inch per 100 linear feet of veneer. Commonly, the expansion joints are placed on an average of every 25 linear feet of veneer starting near the corners and placed at the tops of wall openings.
When constructing the joints, the void must be free of mortar, steel and any type of bituminous fiberboard that can bridge the opening.
To complete the expansion joints, many joints are sealed using a compressible backer rod and either polyurethane elastomeric or polyether sealant matched in color to the veneer.
A mason uses several types of rules to measure their work, commonly though, two basic specialized rules apply.
The Mason Rule and the Modular Rule are designed to work with building materials found today as well as in the past to provide speed in laying out the required spacing to construct the walls.
First, all work on building starts with a benchmark. The benchmark is the point that all other points originate from on a structure. Typically, set by an engineer or a surveyor, this point has secure reference points for recreation if damaged or lost.
The Spacing Rule
The spacing rule was the first masonry related rule that was used by masons. Typically used as a folding rule, the mason used numbers and lines found on the rule from 1 to 0 (0 meaning 10) to layout the courses of work. Most commonly the mason would use the numbers 5 and 6 to keep the mortar bed thickness near 3/8 inch. The spacing rule gives the mason the total number of courses to be constructed which is helpful when stocking the wall or mixing of the mud. This rule was easier for the mason to keep track of material laid each day, allowing for an easier way to keep track of materials and labor invoices.
The spacing rule is still used today on a limited basis.
The Modular Rule
Movement found at intersecting walls has always been a concern for contractors and design professionals. Early in my career, intersecting concrete masonry walls would commonly just be toothed together with little or no ability to handle the differential movement. This method allowed for the creation of new cracks and small chips from the concrete masonry units.
One of the first attempts to solve the problem was the additional step of raking the corner joint 3/8 inch and applying sealant as a way to seal the crack that would form. By itself, this method is better, but not a problem solver.
Today, designers are doing an all-together better job of detailing masonry intersections. Commonly the structural slabs are much thicker under the walls than before, the masonry units are much better than the cinder block of days past and reinforcing methods have improved results.
Products on the market today make tying an intersecting wall much more controlled. Wire mesh hardware cloth, lath mesh, intersecting wall wire and “Z” bars have done well to reduce problems.
The “Z” bar is what I see most commonly on today’s projects. The ¼ inch by 1 ½ inch by 28 inch +/- bars have a turn down of 90 degrees at each end. The bar is placed into grouted cells in the intersecting reinforcing joint to tie the walls of the structure together.
My BLOG comments are based on my engineering and masonry contracting experience and travels around the United States visiting masonry projects. I realize masonry practices vary in different geographical locations, so I'd welcome your feedback on different practices.
I ran the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel Contest in Las Vegas for many years, and judging the competitions required accuracy and consistency. This is the type of measuring device used by masonry contest judges to determine scores at the masonry competition.
This scale can be used in conjunction with a mason's level to determine plumb and level. The level is placed on the wall and the judge attempts to slide the scale between the level and the masonry to check for accuracy. The scale measures a void depth if present.
In a window lintel situation....does the brick course that sits directly on the flashing get mortared in? If so, doesn't it throw off the alignment of subsequent courses above due to the thickness of the flashing as well as the mortar bed?
Yes and No.
Recently, Greg Skyta (Project Coordinator), Jerry Combs (Director of Sales, Mortar Net USA, LTD) and I were traveling to dinner and passed a building that did not use WallNet behind the EIFS Veneer. This failure could have been prevented if the design team had considered the breathability of the wall system and used WallNet prior to or during construction. See picture below:
Jerry, Greg, and I met up with some familiar faces on a jobsite in Gainesville, Florida this past wednesday - Lynette Darby, Ray Robinson, and Mario "Dogman" Green from J.A.M. Construction. They are an awesome group of people to work around!
While traveling in Gainesville, Florida, Jerry Combs (Director of Sales at Mortar Net) and I stopped at a lumber supplier to look for a speciality anchor. The supplier did not have the anchor, but a friendly handyman named Bob Edwards thought he might have what we needed in his van. We were treated to a tour of his meticulously kept handmade tool box Futon (see picture below) where he shared years of tips for fixing everything. Bob showed us a knife sharpener (see picture below) that works on all types of blades, including razor knives. It was easy to use and he proved it worked as we watched. Thanks Bob, we appreciated your time.
Are you ready for March Madness 2012? Is your team in the "dance" that begins March 13th and crowns a NCAA Champion on April 2nd? Download your bracket below and start filling in your teams. Let us know how you do and how far your team made it!
Click here to download a printable PDF version of the NCAA bracket.
Why not try our free MasonCam service? Mortar Net isn’t just a products company, we're a solutions company. We're always trying to come up with ways to serve the masonry industry, and one of our newest solutions is the free MasonCam Rapid Response Technical Assistance program, which we introduced at this year’s World of Concrete tradeshow. What’s really cool about MasonCam is that it lets me help you solve masonry-related issues quickly and easily, frequently in real time directly from the job site. It uses digital technology and the Internet to connect masons with me, and I’m happy to help you find solutions to your questions so you can avoid work stoppages or slowdowns.
Click on the links below to see what a couple of the attendees at World of Concrete think about the MasonCam.
Click here to learn how the free MasonCam service works.
Click here to read about me and my background.