Beat the COVID-19 Blues by Updating Your Outdoor Space

Beat the COVID-19 Blues by Updating Your Outdoor Space

Stonework outdoor spaces have long been held in high esteem for their durability, added value to a home, and, most importantly, the beautiful gathering place it makes for family and friends. During COVID-19, there has been a dramatic rise in home improvements. As people spend more and more time at home, they have seen the need to adapt their homes into more than just a living space. A home can be a destination in itself. A place to entertain family and friends without the need for going to a restaurant or a bar. Stonework such as patios, walkways, and fire pits can give your home that extra touch that makes your family and friends feel as though they are visiting a destination rather than someone’s home.

Why Should I Choose Stonework for My Outdoor Space?

Stonework is long lasting and has a timeless appeal to it. Where wood degrades and styles change, stonework will endure and have lasting appeal long past current trends. Here are four reasons why stonework is the best choice for updating your outdoor living space.

  • Low Maintenance: There’s very little maintenance to be done with stonework patios, walkways, and fire pits. If installed correctly, stonework not only last for decades, it will look good for decades. Stonework keeps its appearance throughout the years with basic maintenance that most homeowners can accomplish. Simply keep leaves, twigs, branches, and other organic material from accumulating on your stonework. Keeping organic material from decaying on your stonework prevents any discoloring on the stones and prevents moisture from entering into the mortar.
  • Weatherproof: Stonework performs well in any season and looks the same all year. Where wooden deck will expand and contract with the seasons, stonework does not move seasonally. Where ground contact will eventually rot even pressure-treated lumber, stonework will not rot. A stonework patio will also never get blown away in a tornado or in strong winds like a wooden deck can. The weight of stonework, and it being flush into the ground, prevents wind from ever uprooting your investment.
  • Design: Stonework comes in a variety of styles and colors. Expert stonework installers can help you decide on a design that fits your home and needs. Merging stonework pathways, patios, and fireplaces can seem like an impossible task to a homeowner, but experienced professionals can help bring your dream backyard alive.
  • Adds Value to Your Home: Stonework is one of those few investments that you can make to your home that will age gracefully. The material itself is permanent and the aesthetic of stonework never goes out of style. If you ever decide to sell your home, buyers will pay more for a home that has a stonework outdoor space. Stonework won’t be a liability if you go to sell your home like a decaying and dilapidated wooden deck would be. But the “value” of an outdoor space doesn’t have to be solely in its resale value. If you decide not to sell your home, you still have the value of an outdoor space that you, your friends, and your family can benefit from. You might find yourself spending more time outside enjoying the fresh air and the people important to you.

COVID-19 isn’t stopping others from getting the most out of life at home. In a season where home improvement is on the rise, make your home improvement one that lasts. Choosing stonework for your patio, walkway, or fire pit is an improvement that you won’t come to regret. Choosing trusted professionals in the industry is just as important as making the right choice in your home improvement options. Serving the greater St. Louis region for over 30 years, Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls is the best choice if you’re considering updating your outdoor space. Call Fritz Stonework at 636-861-1530 or learn more about Fritz Stonework here.

Effects of Moisture on Stonework

Effects of Moisture on Stonework

 

For some people, the fall and winter seasons are a nice welcoming change to the hot summer temperatures. However, what comes along with fall and winter is weather that includes moisture, such as rain and snow. For as long as structures have been in existence, moisture has been the main cause for its deterioration. Moisture in all forms affect how well the building materials function.

The way masonry systems are designed should prevent the intrusion of moisture into the building’s interior. It should also keep the building’s structural components safe. If there is any structural break, then your building could be compromised. Masonry units that are made poorly are among the most common failure points. These include mortar joints, hairline cracks, parapet, and door and window details. Water can also come through by vapor condensation and can enter the structure as a result of poor work. The lack of proper drainage can exacerbate the impact of any type of moisture that makes its way through; therefore, creating major damage to the building.

Structural Problems

When unwelcome moisture seeps through, masonry units and mortar can crack. Thermal expansion can be a result when water gets into brick, concrete, and natural stone. Thermal expansion can cause the surface to peel, pop out, or flake off. This is also known as spalling, which is caused by too much moisture in the masonry that puts pressure outward. Spalling can ultimately result in large sections of the masonry to crumble and fall off, which will lead to structural damage.

Too much moisture cam also result in the wall rotting, which is very unaesthetic and an unhealthy condition. The insulation can also disintegrate along with staining of the interior finishes. Other effects may include the deterioration and/or corrosion of the wood/steel backup studs, cladding, ties and reinforcements. If this is left unattended to, the excess water can cause an increase and spread of additional structural degradation and complete structural failure.

Aesthetic Degradation

When there is excess moisture seeping through the masonry, efflorescence is a main problem. Efflorescence is a white, powdery, crystalline deposit that forms on the surfaces of masonry, stucco, and concrete. Efflorescence is caused when salt within the masonry unit itself has been dissolved due to too much moisture and has made its way to the surface of a porous material. It then forms the white, powdery, crystalline deposit as the water evaporates.

In order for efflorescence to happen, three problems must be present.

  • There has to be water-soluble salts somewhere in the wall
  • There must be enough moisture in the wall to render the salts into a soluble solution
  • There must be a way for the soluble salts to move their way through to the surface so the moisture can evaporate, getting rid of the salts so they can crystallize causing efflorescence

Just because sulfates may be present in a masonry wall, it does not mean efflorescence will occur. The sulfates must be dissolved by water in order for it to happy. If there is no moisture then the sulfates will not find their way to the surface. However, there are certain conditions that will aggravate the possible creation of efflorescence. For example, if a block is exposed to cold, rainy weather during storage or if the structure has been poorly designed in regards to drainage and moisture control, then efflorescence is more likely to occur.

Health and Safety

Too much moisture can cause bacteria to grow which can create new odors or worsen current ones. The effects of growing bacteria can cause existing conditions to become worse, such as asthma and allergies. These bacteria have also been known to cause cancer and birth defects.

Managing moisture is a top priority when designing and building, especially here at Fritz Stonework & Retaining Walls. It is important to us that you and your family are safe from any potential harm. We work hard to make sure your masonry is up-to-par and lasts for many years to come. Contact us to today at (631) 861-1530 so we can help you create your masterpiece.

Clayton Masonry: Different Stone Masonry Techniques

Clayton Masonry: Different Stone Masonry Techniques

Have you ever asked yourself what exactly is stone masonry and if it is something you would want to add to your outdoor living space? Stone masonry is described as the shaping of rough pieces of rock into accurate geometrical shapes and then arranging the results together using mortar to form structures. This technique dates back thousands of years and uses basic tools such as a metal straight edge, mallet, and chisels.

There are a variety of different techniques that are used in stone masonry. These techniques have advanced along with changes in the way people live and the modernization in construction.

Traditional Dry-Stack

With the dry-stack technique, walls are layered up with stone without mortar joints. Gravity is what holds everything together. Dry-stacking involves little expense except for the labor. The standing stone wall is usually made large at the bottom and becomes thinner as it gets higher.

Advantages
– Attractive, strong, and can last hundreds of years
– Shows traditional character
– Environment-friendly
– Can be re-used multiple times
– Unlike a brick wall, the life of the stone structure is long-lasting

Disadvantages
– The cost of labor is high and the construction is slow and costly
– An improper structure can lead to the collapse of the property
– Not a good fit for high walls or buildings

 

Traditional Mortared Stone Technique

In this technique, the foundation of the wall must be solid so the joints do not crack easily. To make sure the joints do not crack easily, a paste made of lime and water is used which helps bond the materials together.

Advantages
– Concrete block is more resistant to weather, pest, molds, and fire
– Materials for concrete blocks is locally available
– Concrete blocks are good insulation against heat, sound, and moisture

Disadvantages
– Due to their weight, concrete blocks are hard to handle and involve more workforce
– A large quantity of steel is needed to reinforce cement concrete structures
– The issues of plumbing in concrete masonry structures are difficult to solve

 

Modern Veneered Stone Technique

Most stonework these days consists of a non-structural veneer stone against a structural wall of the concrete block. Concrete mortar includes Portland cement mixed with sand, gravel, and water. When using the veneered stone technique, the large particles of gravel are interlocked like little finger to make the concrete long-lasting.

Advantages
– Less expensive
– Longer life when installed correctly
– Provides natural beauty on the exterior of your home
– Perfect for walls that do not need extra support
– Lightweight
– Come in larger panels which allows for easier installation in a shorter amount of time
– Low maintenance
– Can be used on different surfaces such as stone, metal, and wood

Disadvantages
– Allows moisture to come through the joints which can cause mold issues
– Incorrect installation could lead to breaking and chipping
– Abrasive cleaning material can damage the surface

 

Slipform Stone Technique

This technique is known as a cross between the traditional mortar stone wall and a veneer stone wall. Natural stones are used and placed inside the forms with the presentable side faces against the formwork. The concrete is then poured behind the rocks.

Advantages
– Decreases the use of building cranes
– There is less use of accessories such as scaffolding, support bars, and platforms

Disadvantages
– Involves high costs in the beginning stages
– Highly skilled experts and hi-tech equipment are needed

 

Framed-One Side Stone Technique

Framed-one sided stonemasonry is more obvious on building with stone on the outside and the framed wall on the inside. Half the formwork is done when the interior frame is built first. This type of stonework is a traditional way of masonry and creates strong, beautiful walls that are built with the strength of the stone, reinforcement of concrete and steel.

Advantages
– Less time taken in the construction than with other techniques
– Comparatively lesser costs involved in workforce and materials
– Strong and good-looking walls that are built with masonry stones

Disadvantages
– Causes lateral deflections
– The span length is much less

 

Tilt-Up Stone Technique

This technique is done by pouring stone walls flat on the ground and then setting them in place using a crane. Stone, sand, gravel, and rock materials are used for the tilt-up stone technique.

Advantages
– More economic than cast-in walls mason stones
– Hazards are much less
– Faster and safer installation

Disadvantages
– Can’t be used for complex building wall
– Lack of versatility

There are all types of techniques that can be used in stone masonry. Choosing the right technique for your needs may be overwhelming and confusing. Contact us at Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls today so we can help you create a masterpiece that you will enjoy for years to come.

 

Ways to Stay Warm on Your Patio

Ways to Stay Warm on Your Patio

Once you have a beautiful patio built to your specifications, you want to be able to enjoy it all year round. Or if you are thinking of having a patio or outdoor living space built, then you might want to think about some items to include for the winter time to help you stay warm. Here are a few ideas that could help you enjoy your time outside all year round.

Invest in a Fire Pit

Fire pits are a very common way of staying warm and toasty as the temperatures drop. They create a practical, warm atmosphere that you can enjoy with friends and family. Fire pits now offer a smoke-free gas flame and different structures, shapes and designs to match any patio. Masonry and stonework projects can also provide a nice decorative addition to your fire pit.

Put Out Blankets

Adding blankets to an outdoor space is not only simple, but also inexpensive. They can create a warm, comfortable outdoor retreat that will make you want to sit on your patio with a warm drink in your hand. Invest in warm blankets that will have you enjoying some quiet time or time with friends and family.

Create a Cover

Creating a cover for your patio can offer some much-needed refuge from the cold weather. Covers for your patio make cold temperatures more tolerable and help keep out the rain, snow, and wind. Covers can enhance your outdoor living experience and increase the amount of time you spend outside.

Soak It All Up

What’s more relaxing than a nice warm soak outside while you star gaze? Adding a hot tub to your patio can make spending time in the cooler temperature more enjoyable. If you’re not a fan of the water, try adding a sauna. Saunas also provide shelter and make an attractive addition to your outdoor space.

Patio Heaters and Fireplaces

If you are unsure about a fire pit, an alternative option would be a patio heater or built-in fireplace. Even though a fireplace is a bigger investment than a fire pit, they do produce a large amount of heat. A fireplace is the most expensive option; however, they are very attractive and available in gas or wood-burning. Patio heaters can be mounted or stand-alone and are offered in electrical or propane. Electrical patio heaters are expensive to run but easy to use.

It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, or the sun is out, you want to be able to use your patio and outdoor living space as much as possible. The winter months make it difficult to do so; however, by adding things to make it a more warm, comfortable, and welcoming environment, you will want to spend time all of your spare time outside. Here at Fritz Stonework and Retaining Walls we take pride in what we do and have provided quality service for over 31 years. Contact us today at (636) 861-1530 so our expert staff can help you design a beautiful outdoor living space that meets your needs.

3 Reasons Why Stonework Rocks

3 Reasons Why Stonework Rocks

Rocks are pretty much everywhere, but when they are artfully arranged by an expert mason, they can make your home into something extraordinary! Beautiful stonework is a way to customize your home and make it uniquely yours while increasing its value as well!

Outdoor kitchens, stone pathways, fountains, and other functional and elegant implements in your outdoor space can provide you with a perfect place for social gatherings as well as a placid escape from the hustle and bustle of life indoors!

Aesthetic Appeal

We’ve all seen incredibly beautiful homes and estates that have incredible interiors and even more impressive exteriors. They radiate a sense of class and civility that seems out of reach for most people, but let me tell you a secret, your home can become the brightest in the neighborhood by hiring an experienced mason!

For millennia, people have been building stone structures to decorate their living spaces, and during prosperous times the stone installments became incredibly ornate! Now that we’re in modern times, you can beautify your home in ways that the Romans could only dream of!

Stonework is incredibly pleasing to the eye- it brings your home closer to nature by highlighting the natural beauty of stone and arranging it in a way that is functional, creative, and permanent. When paired with other natural elements, such as shrubs and trees, you can create a natural oasis in your own back yard!

Whether it be improving your driveway, building artful retaining walls, installing a firepit, or stone poolside seating, an experienced mason can design handsome and practical additions to your outdoor space!

Increased Home Value

Owning a home is a big responsibility, but it is also an incredible opportunity to customize it and make it your own! Installing stonework is a way to artistically improve the exterior of your home which in turn improves its value!

Investing in your home by adding stonework will pay off greatly by increasing curb appeal which is basically the face of your home. This would be incredibly useful if you are ever considering selling your home, as beautiful homes are more likely to be sold quickly!

Stonework can also be incredibly beneficial to your home by adding increased stability through the implementation of retaining walls. Retaining walls provide support to the ground and can prevent settling and other damage to your home.

Whether it is beauty or practicality you seek, stonework can offer both! This can increase the value of your home by providing a unique and low-maintenance feature to your property!

Customizability

There are unlimited options when it comes to installing stonework. You can work with an experienced mason to design an attractive and distinctive feature to your property that will show off your own personal style!

Making your home suit your preferences is one of the amazing virtues of owning your home. Your home is supposed to be unique and lovely, and this is something that can be accomplished by working with an experienced mason.

Final Thoughts

Stonework rocks (pun intended), and it can make your home look absolutely fantastic without breaking the bank! Fritz Stoneworks is an incredibly experienced team of masons that can provide you with beautiful and functional natural stone additions to your property.

Fritz Stoneworks has over 31 years of experience creating customized outdoor spaces! Call them at 636-861-1530 to learn more about all the wonderful stonework they can add to your home!

Clayton Landscaping – The Benefits of Patios

Clayton Landscaping – The Benefits of Patios

Almost everyone has a backyard, but most of them aren’t as nice as they could be. A simple way to upgrade your backyard is to install a unique patio to revamp your outdoor living space and turn it into an artful extension of your home!

Stonework is a great way to take advantage of natural rocks and turn them into something that is uniquely yours! In Clayton, MO, it’s easier than ever to have a fabulous backyard designed by experienced masons!

Benefits Of Patios

Nature is a scientifically proven mood booster, but that doesn’t mean you have to get your hands dirty to experience it! Patios are a perfect way to get some sunshine and fresh air without leaving the comfort of your own home. They provide an excellent space for winding down or having fun in the company of family and friends!

In addition to the social and emotional benefits of having a patio, implementing stonework can greatly increase the beauty of your home! A patio space can make your home stand out, and when it is well designed, the aesthetic value of a lovely patio is hard to beat!

The most solid benefit of having a patio is that the bank value of your home increases! Stonework is beautiful, but it is also a fairly permanent upgrade and this is extremely desirable in the housing market today!

Not Your Average Patio

When most people think of patios a concrete slab with some lawn chairs comes to mind, but a patio can be so much more than that! In Clayton, MO, you can have the patio of your dreams!

There are many ways to customize your patio, but one of the most aesthetically pleasing patio designs is one made out of stone! One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by using pavers!

Pavers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes are a type of brick that can be arranged in a variety of ways to suit your home best! Pavers are versatile and combine a natural look with the benefits of brick!

Kick the concrete slabs to the curb and invest in something that is far more beautiful and more weather resistant. Patios made out of pavers can provide you with the perfect outdoor space for entertaining guests, or just relaxing in comfort!

Upgrade Your Backyard

There are multitudes of benefits that a patio can bring into your life and home from providing a perfect place for outdoor gatherings, to increasing the value of your home. However, the most exciting aspect of installing a patio made from pavers is the customizability.

Pavers can be arranged to fit your unique tastes and preferences and make your home and outdoor space uniquely yours in a permanent way! Installing an awesome patio is sure to make your property extremely popular in Clayton, MO.

Final Thoughts

With people spending more time online, it’s a nice refresher to get outside for a while! With an elegant patio, you can go outside without leaving the comfort of home! With Fritz Stonework you can make your outdoor space something special!