How Much Does Masonry Fencing Cost?
Fencing is one of the most overlooked aspects of any home. While chain-link or glass fences do serve as a design advantage, security is not as high on the priority list. Masonry fences give your home a unique curb appeal and can protect your home like any fence on the market. Before installation, be sure you review masonry fence costs below.
Minimum - $5 to $6 for hollow concrete blocks
Maximum - $89 for solid, security glass blocks
As evidenced by ancient wonders such as the Egyptian Pyramids and the remains of Greek and Roman cities, masonry is an enduring craft that has been honored for centuries for both its durability and beauty.
Advantages and Disadvantages
One of masonry's greatest advantages is resistance to fire, severe weather, termites, mold, rot and fungus as well as its superb sound proofing. Additionally, it is a virtually maintenance-free, environmentally-friendly building method that adds lasting value to a property.
The primary disadvantage is cost. Chain link and wooden fences are significantly less money and both can be do-it-yourself projects, whereas masonry requires a professional. One should also carefully consider how well the masonry will complement the surrounding buildings and grounds as matching bricks and mortars can be very challenging. Although masonry is relatively low maintenance, when repairs are necessary, these require a professional mason and can be extensive and costly.
Resistant and Sound-Blocking
Masonry fences can use brick, cast stone, cob, concrete block, glass block, granite, limestone, marble, stone, stucco, tile or travertine either as interlocking units or bound together by mortar. Since these materials alone are non-combustible, the fence is inherently fire and pest resistant. The mortar sets solidly, thus sealing the connections between bricks or stones against mold, rot and fungus, and unlike wood, there is no cellulose food for termites. If it is well-constructed, masonry will also withstand the elements better than wood.
In addition to its resistance, masonry is also prized for its ability to block sound. Sound moves easily through air, and wooden planks offer very little resistance. Noise from busy streets, highways or even construction zones will reverberate through a wooden fence, but masonry’s rigidity blocks sound waves, offering peace and tranquility.
Value and Upkeep
Homeowners interested in fencing options may consider chain-link, wood and masonry. Though chain-link and wood are much cheaper than masonry initially, neither chain-link nor wood offer the same long-term investment as masonry. Masonry can last a lifetime with very little upkeep, thus making the initial expense worthwhile. Additionally, masonry is a “green” choice since it does not deplete natural resources such as timber.
More importantly, this investment does not need a lot of expensive or time-consuming attention. Most masonry fences or retaining walls need a yearly wash with a garden hose to remove loose dirt. If one notices any crumbling mortar or loose units, contact a professional mason for repair estimates since proper attention to these details will ensure your masonry’s long life.
Types of Masonry Fences
Before choosing a masonry fence, one should consider the purpose and the environment of the fence. Landscape walls are primarily decorative and serve as elements in a landscape design, retaining walls retain earth behind the wall, and freestanding fences are used for privacy, security or screening. Each of these masonry structures can be constructed from a number of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Brick-fired clay is lightweight and used extensively for quick construction. They are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, making them ideal for aesthetic purposes. They are used for noise blocking and insulation.
Cob is a clay, sand and straw mixture that is sculpted in place while the materials are still wet. This can be a very inexpensive process since clay can sometimes be dug from the building site and sand and straw are both cheap building materials. This masonry material has a distinctively organic appearance, and glass bottles or blocks can be imbedded in cob for a unique artistic touch.
Concrete block can be made from a number of materials including Portland cement, aggregates or industrial wastes. Although these blocks can have weaknesses, the hollow blocks can be reinforced for strength. Concrete blocks are commonly used for their durability and insulation.
Glass block is available in a range of colors, shapes and sizes. These are translucent decorative touches that are easily added to masonry work, but they are costly and not designed for load bearing. They cannot support other structures.
Stone includes granite, marble, travertine and limestone. The cost of stone will vary greatly based type, quality and availability. Although stone withstands compression well, it is susceptible to cycles of freezing and thawing and may become less durable as a result.
Stucco is building plaster made of cement, sand and a hydrated lime-and-water mixture. Stucco is a durable and versatile product, but it is best suited for temperate climates since it doesn't withstand temperature extremes well.
After determining the purpose of the masonry structure, consider carefully the aesthetics since each of these materials has a distinctive appearance.
After determining the purpose and the look of a masonry structure, one must choose the best mortar to bind the materials. There are a number of mortar mix types based upon compressive strength, bond strength and flexibility. Avoid mortar mix type O since it has a low compressive strength and is not suited for exterior uses. Before making a final choice between the mortar mix types N, S and M, review their strengths.
Mortar mix type N is a general-purpose mortar mix with a medium compressive strength. It is usually recommended for exterior structures that are exposed to severe weather and high heat, and it is preferred for soft-stone masonry.
Mortar mix type S offers a high compressive strength with high-bond strength. It is the ideal product for below-grade areas such as retaining walls since it performs extremely well under soil pressure, wind or seismic conditions.
Mortar mix type M has the highest amount of Portland cement. It is preferred with stone because of its strength, and it is recommended primarily for walls bearing heavy loads. It is used for retaining walls and tall security fences.
Whether one chooses to use cob or glass blocks, masonry fences are beautiful, durable investments in one’s property.
Last updated on Aug 8, 2014
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