Tag Archives: Masonry

Designing buildings for climate change

Canada’s building codes have historically been formulated, at least in part, based on accumulated historic climate data that ultimately provides the essential criteria for most key building component performance characteristics. However, there are indications climate may be beginning to change. If buildings do, in fact, experience different environmental conditions over the next 40 years, these changes could potentially have a significant impact on our building stock.

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Insulating solid masonry for heritage projects

Many buildings with solid or load-bearing masonry walls employ interior insulation retrofit strategies as heritage significance precludes work from the exterior. However, adding insulation on the interior side of these solid walls may result in accelerated masonry freeze-thaw deterioration in addition to embedded metal corrosion (of lateral ties and supporting angles/structure) or wood joist rot.

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Getting to the bottom of moisture management

Both gravity and temperature can create misunderstandings resulting in improper or inadequate moisture management design for the exterior building envelope. The lowest point of a building envelope is the wettest because of gravity’s influence (Figure 1). The low point of a building’s exterior wall system does not necessarily have to be the top of the footing (Figure 2) or the top of the stem wall (Figure 3).

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The effectiveness of different drip edge designs

Control of rainwater is a primary function of the building enclosure. Water penetrating the roof, wall, and foundation can cause deterioration of the building’s structure, damage to property, and mould growth. Water on the surface or penetrating the building enclosure’s outer layers can cause corrosion and decay of sheathing and cladding attachment systems, staining and discoloration of cladding systems, and freeze-thaw damage to masonry materials.

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Monumental masonry arches

Masonry arches have been constructed around the world for millennia, from the ancient round arches of Egypt and China, to semi-circular Roman and pointed Gothic ones found in Medieval European cathedrals. The first recorded brick arch is believed to have been constructed in Ur in Mesopotamia circa 1400 BC, making the structural form one of the oldest.

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Dingle Memorial Tower: A study in conservation strategy development

For more than a century, the Dingle Memorial Tower overlooking the panoramic landscape of Halifax’s Northwest Arm has been a popular destination for not only the local community, but also countless visitors from beyond. In 1908, Sir Sandford Fleming donated to Haligonians the 38.5-ha (95-acre) Dingle Park, which gets its name from an Old English word meaning ‘wooded dell or valley.’ He proposed a monument should be erected there to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first elected government in the British Empire (outside the Mother Country), which had taken place in Nova Scotia in 1758.

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Bringing back the barracks

The restoration of the Lieutenant F. Campbell, VC, Barracks in Meaford, Ont., required brick façade replacement to its military residence. The owner, Canadian Department of National Defense (DND), identified masonry deterioration due to the spalling of brick at the base of foundations and at lintels over most windows. The primary reason for this situation was the through wall flashings had failed to provide effective drainage from the cavity.

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Lessons learned in masonry

Specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, installers, and craftworkers all have something valuable to offer to the conversation when it comes to creating high-performing building enclosures. While people have to be sensitive to contractual relationships, they should also strive to create an environment that encourages open dialogue between all parties.

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