Category archive - Masonry

Let’s Talk About Lumber

Let’s Talk About Lumber

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For Westchester homeowners looking to get more into the DIY lifestyle, lumber is a material that provides a myriad of uses and can offer a major gateway into understanding how one can build on one’s own terms. Knowing what you want to build and what you want to do with your lumber, however, is only the beginning, as there are several types of popular lumber that can be used for many different projects. One type of lumber is good for small Westchester home jobs, while others are better for big jobs, and it’s important to know the difference.

Western lumber is perhaps the most well known, used for most general building projects and framing, and there are some 15-20 commercially important species of Western softwood. Douglas fir and Hem fir tend to be the most popular and can be classified in three terms: high-quality appearance, general-purpose board or radius-edged patio decking. When looking for western lumber, make sure the brand you purchase has the logo of the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA), which has excellent quality standards and a thorough, check process. Lumber with “WWPA Rules” stamped on it, however, merely indicates the lumber has been graded according to the WWPA rules, but not inspected.

Redwood has two major grades: heartwood and sapwood. Either comes in a variety of grades including a fine finish or a rougher, less attractive finish. Heartwood fends off termites and decay naturally, making it an obvious choice for projects involved in nature or underground. Sapwood, on the other hand, should not be used in contact with the ground, but is good for many Westchester home projects. Architectural redwood is, of course, the strongest redwood, often kiln-dried and used for structural and finish applications. Lastly, garden redwood comprises lower grades and is used commonly for decks, fences, and, you guessed it, gardens.

Less prominent but highly valuable is southern pine. It boasts high strength, resistance to wear and is perfect for projects that require fasteners be used with wood. Southern pine is graded 1-4: 1 has the highest quality and best appearance, 2 has tight knots but usually has no holes, 3 is serviceable sheathing, and more popular than other grades, and 4 contains usable portions of 24 inches long. Then there’s treated lumber, which is resistant to weather, termites and fungus. ACQ and copper azole are the current popular chemicals used to treat lumber, which is used in outdoor consumer projects (decks, etc.). Treated wood isn’t waterproof, but is decay-proof, and comes largely from ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Hem-fir and southern yellow pine. Be certain to wear respiratory protection when cutting it.

Finally, there is pine shelving, Pieces of pine shelving measure about 1-inch thick and at varying widths and lengths. Shelving is a favorite for those doing touch ups in garages or basements; it’s sometimes referred to as simply “garage shelving.” Consumer-grade pieces measure up to 12 feet long but most consumer sales will come in at 4 and 6-foot lengths. It’s the most economical wood, which is where a beginner would most likely want to start, but now that you have some idea about lumber, you can start anywhere you like, really.


Paving Your Patio with Precision

Paving Your Patio with Precision

Having a patio on which to place furniture, enjoy summer barbecues and relax on warm days is a great advantage. It allows you to expand your house from the inside out, giving you additional living space and a place to enjoy the outdoors from the convenience and comfort of your home. However, if your patio space is unpaved, it won’t be nearly as nice! Bare dirt and gravel from an unpaved patio can easily be tracked into the house, creating a mess that you’ll have to deal with day in and day out. An unpaved area is also much more susceptible to erosion from the elements, and can get muddy after rain or snow. In order to truly enjoy the patio of your home on Long Island, patio paving is absolutely necessary.

Once you decide that you want to pave your patio, selecting a paving material is the first step. There are many paving materials to choose from: flagstone, brick and concrete are all great choices that allow you to customize your patio to suit your tastes and preferences. Whether you’re going for a classic, understated ambiance, or you want to make a bold statement with your patio, brick, stone and concrete are all versatile materials that allow you to create your own unique look. For residents of Long Island, patio paving is a great opportunity to beautify your home and showcase your personal style.

When you decide to pave your patio, you have a couple of options. If you have experience with home improvement projects and you have some time on your hands, patio paving is a project you can do yourself. It does, however, require time, patience, dedication and attention to detail. Hiring a professional means that all the work is done for you – and that you can count on professional results. Whichever route you take, patio paving is well worth it. If you want to give new life to the backyard of your home on Long Island, patio paving is a great way to do so!


Another Brick In The Wall

Another Brick In The Wall

Nothing matches the classic looks and durability of genuine brick siding. Brick has been a preferred building material for centuries, and it’s easy to see why: brick can stand up to the harshest weather conditions with aplomb, standing the test of time and providing a truly beautiful and sustainable option. Brick comes in many colors and styles and imparts a sense of solidity and grandeur anywhere it’s used. However, like any material, brick can be damaged. If there is any damage to the brickwork in your Westchester home, brick repair should be performed immediately to prevent the problem from spreading.

The walls of your house serve the essential functions of keeping out the weather, insulating your home and preventing sneaky insects and other pests from getting indoors. They are also vital to your home’s structural integrity, insuring that the roof stays put. Even minor damage to your walls can compromise your home’s structural soundness, decrease its energy efficiency, and put you at risk for more serious problems down the road, such as water damage. If you want to avoid these issues in your Westchester home, brick repair should be done as soon as possible after you notice damage to your exterior walls.

Although it may seem like an easy DIY project, repairing brickwork is far from simple. First, there is the matter of finding matching bricks: because they come in many shades and shapes, finding the perfect brick to match the rest of your wall is trickier than you might think. Removing damaged bricks is where most people go wrong, and the stage of the process during which damage to surrounding brickwork is most likely to occur. A high degree of precision is required to remove damaged bricks without harming other bricks in the vicinity. Even the most well-intentioned and DIY-savvy homeowner lacks the specialized tools and expertise of qualified masons. If you want the best possible results for your Westchester home, brick repair is best left to the professionals.


Stuck On Stucco

Stuck On Stucco

Masonry has long been a staple of home construction. Durable and attractive, brick and stonework are an excellent choice for structures because of their weather resistance and classic looks. Masonry also has the advantage of keeping the indoors cool when temperatures outside soar. However, brickwork can be prohibitively expensive, and offers limited choices when it comes to color and texture. For residents of Westchester, stucco installation can give you the benefits of real brick at a fraction of the cost.

Stucco has been used in construction since ancient times. A mixture of sand, cement and water, stucco is useful both for adding a durable coating to the outside of buildings, and for adding decorative elements. Stucco has superior durability and weather resistance, making it an excellent choice for homes in areas that experience weather extremes. Stucco is also extremely flexible, and can be applied to homes that already have masonry siding, or added to wood or metal framing. For homeowners wanting to improve the looks and sturdiness of their home in Westchester, stucco installation is an ideal choice.

One of stucco’s many advantages is its long-wearing color. As opposed to paint applied to wood or concrete, which can become chipped, scuffed and weathered over time, stucco retains its color for the lifetime of your siding. Because the color is blended in when the stucco is mixed, it isn’t susceptible to surface damage like paint. Unlike brick or stone, stucco comes in almost any color you can imagine. It also comes in a wide variety of finishes, from smooth to heavily textured, and everything in between. Stucco that is chipped or cracked can be easily and inexpensively repaired. Best of all, stucco is very inexpensive, especially when compared to brick or similar materials. If you want gorgeous new siding that won’t break the bank for your home in Westchester, stucco installation is the way to go!


Backyard Work

Backyard Work

For maximum comfort, durability, and, of course, looks, it’s important that your patio be paved. If you want to enjoy your backyard to the fullest, a well paved patio can help you to do so: it looks great and provides a sturdy foundation for furniture, barbecues and whatever else you can imagine. A patio can expand your living space, particularly during the summer months when you want to spend more time outdoors. An outdoor table and chairs allow you to dine al fresco when the weather warms up, and gives you more options for entertaining. However, for home owners in Westchester, patio paving comes with a dilemma: asphalt or cement?

For homeowners in Westchester, patio paving is a great opportunity to improve your backyard and get more out of it. When it comes to selecting a paving material, however, the choices can be confusing. Asphalt and cement are two of the most popular choices: both provide a firm, durable surface for your patio. Asphalt is the less expensive of the two, and is chosen by many homeowners on that basis alone. However, cement has many advantages over asphalt. Cement is extremely hard-wearing, and will not soften in the heat; in extreme temperatures, asphalt can actually begin to melt, causing heavy objects placed upon it to sink. It can also give off an unpleasant odor that is particularly undesirable in areas where you want to relax or enjoy a meal.

For style-conscious homeowners in Westchester, patio paving with cement offers a sleek, polished look, as well as many options for customization. Cement patios can be stamped to resemble brick or paving stones, and can be stained in a wide variety of colors. Special seals can add extra gloss, as well as a protective layer for increased toughness. If you want a paving option for your patio that combines looks and durability, cement is hard to beat!


New Sidewalk Paving

New Sidewalk Paving

For homeowners in Westchester, sidewalk paving usually doesn’t merit much attention. After all, a home’s interior often takes precedence when renovations are in the works. However, your home’s exterior is equally important. It is the first part of your house that is seen by passersby and visitors to your home, and has a large impact on its general feel. If you really want to put your best foot forward when it comes to your house, there are some very good reasons to consider having your sidewalk paved or repaved.

For residents of Westchester, sidewalk paving can be beneficial in a number of ways. A sidewalk or garden path that is made of bare dirt or gravel, as opposed to flagstone, brick or concrete is more prone to wear and erosion. Rain, hail, snow and the simple wear and tear of being walked on day in and day out can cause your sidewalk to erode, leading to potentially hazardous dips, divots and holes. Paving solves this problem and gives people a firm, even surface to walk on. Similarly, a sidewalk should be repaved if it has cracked, buckled or shifted. Breaks or uneven spots on your sidewalk pose a potential hazard, and make tripping and injuries much more likely. Paving or repaving your sidewalk is a proactive safety measure that can protect you, your family and your guests.

As well as being unsafe, an unpaved or poorly maintained walkway simply looks bad. A sidewalk that is full of cracks, or a plain dirt path, gives an impression of shabbiness, and reflects negatively on your home’s entire exterior. A nicely installed, well-maintained sidewalk, on the other hand, is inviting and attractive, and gives your home’s exterior and orderly, streamlined look. If you want a safe, welcoming and beautiful appearance for the exterior of your home in Westchester, sidewalk paving should not be neglected.


Brick by brick

Brick by brick

Brick siding is a perennial classic that has been popular for centuries – and it’s easy to see why! Brick imparts stately beauty to any home, and is extremely durable. If you’re thinking about a radical change for the exterior of your house, adding brickwork can be a great way to go. Brick can make a stunning addition to your home, transforming it from bland and ordinary to stunningly elegant. If you want to increase the “wow” factor of your house in Westchester, brick masons can help you realize your wildest home renovation dreams!

In areas on the eastern seaboard, such as Westchester, brick masons stay busy. It’s true that homes on the east coast tend to be older, and are built with a more classic look in mind than in many other areas of the country. However, there is a practical reason that brick is so popular: quite simply, it can take repeated, massive beatings and survive! Many of the older homes in existence are made of brick, because it can withstand the severe weather that blows in from the Atlantic. Brick is one of the longest lasting and most durable building materials. Because of this durability, a brick exterior can lower your home insurance rates and increase your property value. If you want to make an investment in your home in Westchester, brick masons who are highly skilled at their work can help you build a quality exterior that will stand the test of time.

As well as its practical advantages, brick simply looks stunning. Masonry, and brick in particular, has a warm, classic look that imparts a sense of timelessness and elegance. In contrast to the cookie-cutter houses that have proliferated in recent years, each brick house is one-of-a-kind, requiring great care and attention to detail in its construction. If you want a house that is beautiful and enduring, adding brickwork to your home can be a great choice!


Backyard renovations = BBQs!

Backyard renovations = BBQs!

Of all of the many pleasures of summer, barbecuing in the backyard with friends and family is high on the list. The great American tradition of cooking outdoors on a grill, under a clear blue sky, while sipping a cold drink, has produced countless wonderful memories, and is something to eagerly look forward to during the long, cold months of winter. However, some backyards are more inviting places for barbecues than others. If you want to get ready for barbecue season in your home in Westchester, backyard renovations may be in order!

Imagine the picture-perfect setting for a barbecue. Chances are, you came up with some variation on a patio complete with chairs and tables, a lush green lawn and maybe some leafy trees in the background. Now picture a backyard filled with weeds and uneven clumps of grass, a bare patch of dirt instead of a patio, and a chain-link fence surrounding it. If the backyard of your home bears more resemblance to the latter than the former, it may be time to consider improving it! For for homeowners in Westchester, backyard renovations can be a great way to get your home ready for the summer grilling season.

Fortunately for homeowners in Westchester, backyard renovations come in all shapes and sizes, from simple DIY projects to complete overhauls by professional landscaping companies. If you don’t have a patio, patio installation can be a great first step to improving your backyard, giving you a stable surface on which to put your barbecue and place furniture. Simple landscaping fixes – planting a new lawn, adding flower beds around borders or planting a few trees – can completely change the look of your backyard and turn it into an outdoor oasis that’s the perfect setting for summer parties. Fun decorative touches, like tiki torches and lanterns, can increase the appeal even more. Whatever your budget and style, renovations can totally transform your backyard – just in time for barbecue season!


A royal entrance

A royal entrance

The first thing that neighbors, passersby and visitors to your home notice is the exterior of your house. Whether good or bad, the outside of your house makes an immediate – and big – impression. However, many homeowners don’t consider this factor when updating their homes. Often, a home’s interior is given first priority when any remodeling is done. However, this really shouldn’t be the case! Of all the things you can do to give your home a stunning, completely new look, renovating the exterior is high on the list. And when it comes to your exterior, perhaps no individual feature can be more striking than the front stoop. If you want to add some elegance to the exterior of your home in Westchester, stoop construction can be a great way to do so.

The front stoop of a home can make a big visual impact. Often, the stoop is a simple affair, comprising a few concrete steps and a landing. This does nothing to add to a house’s unique charm. Because it’s often a blank slate, however, the possibilities for creating a stunning new stoop are endless! Materials for the steps can include wood, stone, brick, concrete, stucco and more; you can choose the look of your stoop to fit with the style of the rest of the house. When it comes to choosing materials for the entrance of your home in Westchester, stoop construction can be a fun way to showcase your creativity and give your home a bold, eye-catching new look.

As well as choosing new materials for your front stoop, you can add decorative touches like handrails and porticos. A portico is a small awning that covers the area immediately surrounding the door, giving visitors a dry place to remove their shoes when it’s raining, and adding a touch of opulence to your stoop. You can even create a mini-porch with a portico, adding benches, potted plants or lanterns to increase its appeal. When it comes to adding interest to the outside of your home in Westchester, stoop construction is limited only by your imagination!


Pave the way

Pave the way

For many homeowners, maintaining and beautifying the inside of their house is a higher priority than doing the same for the outside. Lots of people plan to make improvements to their homes’ exteriors “someday”, but these plans often fall by the wayside, overtaken by interior remodeling projects. However, there is one outdoor improvement that could have major implications for the inside of you house, too! If you’re a homeowner in Westchester, walkway paving can benefit your home interior, as well as its exterior.

An outdoor walkway that is unpaved doesn’t look as nice as its paved counterparts. However, the aesthetic drawbacks are often not enough to convince homeowners to do something about it. Something many homeowners don’t consider, though, is the fact that in addition to not looking as neat, an unpaved walkway can contribute to the perennially frustrating problem of a dirty entryway. For many aggravated homeowners, no matter how often the entryway is swept, it always seems to be dirty again five minutes later! If your front walk isn’t paved, this can contribute to the problem, as dust, dirt and grime is right there, with nothing to stop it from coating your feet and being tracked into the house. For residents of Westchester, walkway paving can be good way to tackle this problem.

If you’re a homeowner in Westchester, walkway paving can help you keep your home clean, as well as sprucing up your home’s exterior. There are many styles of walkway paving to choose from, including flagstones, concrete, cobblestones and more! Whatever your aesthetic preferences and budget, you can choose a paving material that will help your home look great, inside and out. If you’re sick of constantly sweeping your entryway, and want an easy and practical way to beautify the exterior of your home, walkway paving can be a great way to solve both problems!