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Wall coverings

5 min read

The Wide Range of Masonry Services Available in Quebec

Wall coverings

5 min read

The Wide Range of Masonry Services Available in Quebec

Wall coveringsThe Wide Range of Masonry Services Available in Quebec

A building's structure is either made of wood, concrete, or steel. To finish this structure and give a business, facility, or home an eye-catching look, opting for masonry siding is a definite possibility. And, a bricklayer-mason hired by a contractor will be qualified to carry out this type of project.

While this type of siding is quite durable, the bricks may need a little bit of a facelift down the line. To that effect, masons also offer a range of repair services, whether they’re working with brick, stone, or concrete to achieve a specific result.

Here’s a more detailed look at the work carried out by these skilled professionals. 

Why Hire a Mason?

For one, the most common reason to seek the services of a mason is during the construction of a new building. Other reasons may include a purely aesthetic desire to change the overall look of a house. Then, and especially in Quebec, seasonal climate change tends to speed up a building’s structural wear and tear. Amongst the wide-ranging problems that can be encountered with brick, stone, and concrete, are cracks, water infiltration, detachment of the bricks (belly-beef), cave-ins, etc.

To avoid costly and time-consuming renovations, it's best to carry out exterior maintenance work as soon as you notice any signs of deterioration on part or all facades. Also, one can benefit from carrying out related work, such as changing windows or improving insulation. On top of boosting the structure's energy efficiency, safety, and appearance, properly executed masonry work will add significant resale value to the home.

Categories of Masonry Work 

Divvied up into 3 categories, and designed for both commercial and residential properties, the services offered are:

  1. Foundation and main walls: Involves the structural elements necessary to ensure the structure's integrity (load-bearing walls, foundations, siding, demolition, etc.).

  2. Intermediary work: Prerequisites needed prior to installing masonry (air barrier, waterproofing membranes, etc.).

  3. Finishing work: Related to interior wall finishing and exterior siding to ensure an impeccable end result (washing, caulking, etc.).

Naturally, as with any project, a mason's work involves site analysis, devising tools, site safety plans, and so on.

A number of standards and certifications have been put in place to regulate the trade (CCQ, AEMQ and AECQ) to guarantee the quality of the work and to protect cultural heritage, especially when restoring historic buildings. Furthermore, there are health and safety standards imposed by the CNESST, particularly with respect to scaffolding and the dispersion of hazardous particles.

Brick balcony and siding relating to masonry services

Source: Jesus Rodriguez – Flickr

Different Types of Masonry Work

Brick and stone work

Needless to say, when building a new house or structure, work entails starting from the ground up. It includes the entire exterior facade, low garden walls, interior wall coverings, fireplace mantle, etc.

For existing structures, an assessment determines whether restoration, repair, or substitution is best. Expect to pay between $25 and $40 per square foot for such work.

Technically speaking, masons can also make and lay concrete blocks and foundations.


When it comes to restoring existing masonry materials, in particular, that of heritage buildings, the idea is to preserve what's already there — not replace it, but rather to modernize and improve the original materials. In fact, one can restore decorative elements made of stone, brick, or cement, such as gargoyles, rosettes, and columns.

To give you an idea of the scope of this kind of work, think about all the steps involved in restoring a large stone wall. First, the mason has to install the necessary floor supports before dismantling the wall while, one by one, marking the stones. Then, they’ll make the necessary improvements, and before the mortar has time to dry, put the stones back up in sequence.

Repair and material substitution 

Repairing masonry is extremely important when maintaining a building to ensure that the structure is preserved, especially when the problem doesn't warrant simple restoration. Without necessarily having to completely replace a wall, repairing only the damaged sections is also a possibility, provided safety concerns prevail, of course.

If not, the next options are substituting the old material with new material, or even demolition and rebuilding. However, prior to proceeding, a professional will determine the extent of the damage caused by time, impact, or poor original workmanship.

Some of the issues commonly experienced include:

  • A part of the facade broke due to a build-up of freezing water;

  • Bulging bricks commonly referred to as belly-beef, which are a direct result of excessive moisture under the mortar joints or broken anchors that no longer hold the wall upright.

Jonathan Barras of Maçonnerie Élégance, during an interview with us, explained that repairing a belly-beef is dependent on several factors such as height, surface area, and materials used. Prices vary from $35 to $50 per square foot.

Repairing Mortar Joints and Cracks

This type of work is carried out on crumbling mortar to restore a facade to its original integrity and appearance. The most effective repointing method is known as "moist curing.”

Initially, the mason will rake the joints with a specially designed vacuum. Next, they'll clean the joints with a watering can to remove any worn patches of mortar. Then, with a trowel, they'll fill in the whole area with new mortar and ensure that the wall is, over a 72-hour period, dampened from time to time to prevent hairline cracks from forming (should the material dry too quickly).

A good example of such a restoration project is the Saint-Joseph's Oratory facade – all the mortar joints were completely redone.

Expect to pay between $12 and $18 per square foot for repointing work.

Mason executing masonry services

Source: Alejandro Gonzalez – Pixabay

Masonry-Related Work

As previously noted, a mason's services often include finishing work. Therefore, it's not uncommon for them to caulk around doors and windows, do yard work, and even wash or paint brick walls.

Moreover, masonry professionals can also provide niche expertise, either during inspection or at the request of an engineer/inspector, in matters such as water infiltration, wall ventilation, and the condition of the foundation.

Lastly, masons are trained on how to replace architectural support elements such as sills, lintels, angle irons, and anchors. Jonathan Barras, of Maçonnerie Élegance, noted that there are three basic types of lintels: galvanized iron, cement, and arched. Replacing the lintel costs between $1,000 and $1,500. As far as substituting a standard lintel with a similar one or a totally different model, you're looking at a price somewhere between $500 to $800 for a 4-foot lintel.

Cover photo: Sergio Sánchez – Flickr

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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