Does masonry construction cost more than conventional wood frame construction?
If you compare the cost of building a masonry home with the least expensive way to build a wood frame home, then the masonry home will probably cost more to build, especially the initial cost. Currently, builders are responding to homeowner's requests and building better insulated, tighter, higher performing homes. It costs more to build these high-performing wood frame homes so the price difference between wood and masonry is diminishing.

How can masonry be insulated?
Several methods are available for insulating masonry. Masonry can be furred out inside the building and insulation placed between the furring strips, under the drywall. Several systems are available that place insulation in the block cavity. There also are systems available to place insulation on the outside of the masonry wall and for existing buildings, there is a liquid foam that can be injected into the cavity of the walls.

Is a masonry home quieter than wood construction?
Yes. Concrete block and other masonry products have better sound-proofing qualities than traditional wood frame and stucco. Sound can easily travel through air but it can also travel through and reverberate through materials. Wood and drywall are not solid enough and allow sound to travel through easily. Foam on the outside walls is a fairly good sound insulator but not as good as masonry block, with its rigidity and ability of repelling sound waves. Masonry's solid construction also has fewer openings to let sound in as well. Wood frame homes have studs spaced 16" or 24" apart. The space between the studs is filled with fiberglass batt insulation, which has little effect on reducing sound transmission.

Reasons for Choosing a Different Mortar Type?
The “compelling” reasons most often cited for specifying increased mortar strength are structural integrity or durability. Where the wall will be load-bearing masonry, a Type M or S mortar may be required. In reinforced masonry, the system (of units, grout, and steel) dominates structural behavior, and the mortar’s contribution is minimized. Even though mortar strength does not have a major impact on the wall’s compressive strength, higher strength mortars do support greater loads.

Mortar durability refers primarily to resistance to freeze-thaw cycles or chemical attack. In each case, performance is generally improved as the cementitious materials content of mortar is increased; thus, the mortar has higher strength.

ASTM C270 should be consulted for additional guidance in selecting proper mortar type based on strength and other characteristics.

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DeLeon & Sons Masonry Contractors
Mailing: 7928 Barocco Dr
Harahan, LA 70123

Physical: 1190 Engineers Road
Belle Chasse, LA 70037

Telephone: 504-628-1363