terms used in masonry works

Terms Used in Masonry Work

The following is a long list of terms that are commonly used in masonry works. Let’s begin learning them below.

Header

It is full brick or stone which is laid with its length perpendicular to the face of the wall. Thus a brick laid as the header will show its face measuring 10 cm × 10 cm. (in case of modular) on the face of the wall. In stone masonry, the header is sometimes termed as through stone.

Stretcher

It is a full brick or stone which is laid with its length parallel to the face of the wall. Thus a brick laid as stretcher will show its face measuring 10 cm × 20 cm (in case of modular brick) on the face of the wall.

Bond

It is a term applied to the overlapping of bricks or stones in a wall in alternate courses, to bind the whole wall together. Bonding is essential to eliminate continuous vertical joints both in the body as well as on the face of the wall.

Course 

A horizontal layer of bricks or stones is termed as a course. Thus in brick masonry with modular bricks, the thickness of a course will generally be equal to 10 cm. plus the thickness of one mortar joint.

Header course

It is a course of brickwork entirely composed of headers.

Stretchers Course

It is a course of brickwork in which all the bricks are laid as stretchers.

Bed

It is a term used to indicate the lower surface of the bricks or stones in each course. It may also be termed as the surface of bricks on which it rests.

Face

The surface of a wall exposed to the weather is termed as the face.

Facing

The material used in the face of the wall is known as facing.

Back

The inner surface of the wall which is not exposed to the weather is termed as back.

Backing

The material used in forming the back of the wall is known as backing.

Hearting

The portion of a wall between facing and backing is termed as hearting.

Joints

The junction of two or more bricks or stones is called joint. Joints may be of cement mortar or of lime mortar. Joints parallel to the bed of bricks or stones in a course are termed as joints.

Bed Joints

Bed joint can also be defined as the horizontal mortar joint upon which masonry units are laid. Thus the pressure always acts normal to the bed joints.

Cross Joints or Simple Joints

The joints (other than bed joint) which are perpendicular to the face of the wall are termed as cross joints or simple joints.

Wall Joints

Joints which are parallel to the face of the wall are termed as wall joints.

Racking Back

The process of stopping the unfinished end of a wall in a stepped fashion.

Bat

It is the portion of a brick cut across the width or brick cut by some fraction of its length.

Closer

It is a portion of a brick cut in such a manner that it is one long face remains uncut.

King Closer

It is a brick which is cut in such a way that the width of one of its end is half that of a full brick. It is formed by cutting off the triangular piece, between the center of one end and the center of one side.

Queen Closer

It is a term applied to a brick which is half as wide as a full brick. Queen closer is made by cutting a brick lengthwise into two portions.

Beveled Closer

It is similar to king closer with the only difference that the whole length of the brick is beveled for maintaining half-width at one end and full width at the other.

Mitred Closer

It is a brick whose one end is cut splayed or mitered for the full width.

Perpend

It is a vertical joint on the face of a wall directly over vertical joints in an alternate course.

Frog

It is a depression on the top face of the brick. Frog provides a recess for the mortar which on setting forms a key and prevents the displacement of the brick above.

Quoin

The exterior angle or corner of the wall is termed as quoin. The brick or wedge-shaped stone used for the corner or walls is also known as quoin.

Plinth

The horizontal projecting or flush course of stone or brick provided at the base of the wall above ground level is known as a plinth. It raises the level of the ground floor of the building above the natural ground level with the aim of protecting the ground floor from flooding due to rainwater and other weather effects.

Plinth Course

It is the topmost course of a plinth and is finished flush with the ground floor surface.

Sill

It is a horizontal member of brick, stone, concrete or wood provided to give support for the vertical members of a window. It is also employed for the purpose of shedding off rainwater from the face of the wall immediately below the window opening.

Jambs

The vertical sides of a finished opening of the door. window or fireplace etc., are termed as jambs. Jambs may be plain or rebated or splayed.

Reveals

Reveals are the exposed vertical surfaces left on the sides of an opening after the door or window frame has been fitted in position.

Lintel

A horizontal member of stone, brick, wood, steel or R.C.C., used to support the masonry or load above an opening.

Arch

A mechanical arrangement of wedge-shaped blocks of stones or bricks arranged in the form of a curve supporting the masonry or load above an opening.

String Course

It is a horizontal course of masonry projecting from the face of the wall and is generally at every floor or sill level throughout the length of the wall. It is intended to improve the elevation of the structure.

Cornice

It is horizontal molded projecting provided near the top of the building or at the junction of a wall or ceiling. It does not only increase the architectural beauty of the structure but also serves as a barrier for shedding the rainwater off the face of the wall.

Frieze

It is a course of stone masonry provided immediately below a cornice. This may be flushed with the wall or maybe molded. It is provided to enhance the appearance of the wall.

Blocking Course

It is a course of stone masonry provided immediately above the cornice to check the tendency of the cornice to overturn and incidentally it adds to its appearance.

Parapet

It is the term applied to a low wall built around a flat roof to act as a protective solid balustrade for the users of the terrace (flat roof). In the pitched roof, parapet wall is provided to conceal the gutter at eaves level and for importing an architectural effect to the structure.

Coping

Coping is a covering placed on the exposed top of an external wall. It is essentially provided to prevent the seepage of water through the joints of the topmost course of the wall. It may be of concrete, stone, brick or terra-cotta.

Toothing

Bricks left projecting in alternate courses for the purposes of bonding future masonry work.

Weathering

Weathering is the term applied to the beveled top surface of a stone. Bevelling or sloping of the surface is necessary to enable the rainwater to flow of the surface.

Throating

Throating is the term applied in the groove cut on the underside of a projecting course of masonry in order to check the creepage of rainwater from the underside of the projected portion. If the rainwater is not intercepted by such groove, it will spread across the bottom of the projected surface and will finally start flowing along the vertical surface of the wall making it damp.

Gable

It is a triangular-shaped portion of masonry at the end of a sloped roof.

Through Stone

A stone passing through a wall from front to back face and acting as a binder for the two faces of the wall is termed as through stone.

Indenting

The process of leaving recesses in masonry into which future work can be bonded.

Template or Bed Block

Block of stone or concrete of designed dimensions used under a beam or girder to distribute the concentrated load at the end of the beam or girder over a greater area of bearing surface.

Spalls

Chips of small pieces of stone broken off a large block are termed as spalls. They are used in filling the interstices in stone masonry.

Column

It is an isolated vertical load-bearing member whose width does not exceed four times its thickness.

Pier or Pilaster

It is a vertical member of stone or brick masonry constructed to support arches, beams or lintels, etc., the width of which exceeds four times its thickness. Generally, piers are made monolithic with the wall for the purpose of increasing the stability and stiffness of the wall to carry the more concentrated load.

Buttress

It is similar to a pier built on the exterior of a wall and properly bonded to it. Buttresses are placed at intervals along the wall to make it stable for resisting outward thrust.

Corbel

It is the extension of one or more courses of brick or stone from the face of a wall. The projection of courses which is generally ornamental in shape serves as a support for wall plate etc.

Thresholds

The arrangement of steps provided from ground level to reach plinth level on external doors and verandah is termed as the threshold. Thresholds are constructed at the last stage when other construction activities have almost come to an end. This work should preferably be carried out in cement mortar and the top of steps should be given a slight slope to drain off rainwater.

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