How to Choose a Mason
While do-it-yourself projects are sometimes the more affordable option when it comes to improving the home, oftentimes people want home additions that are beyond their skills.
If someone wants, for example, a stone patio or brick wall added to their outdoor living space, it may be too large of a project to undertake on their own. In this instance, a mason comes in handy. Hiring a mason will ensure that your outdoor addition will look professional.
Hiring a mason does not necessarily mean picking up the phone and handing someone the money to do the job. Finding a mason is a work intensive process similar to that of hiring a contractor. You want to be confident that they will produce the end result that you desire.
The following article from DexKnows.com gives you the know-how to find the right mason for your needs.
How to Hire a Mason
Finding a masonry contractor
Call your local housing authority to find out if masons must have a license in your state or in your community. Not all states require a license, but if yours does, check with the licensing commission to determine if the mason is in good standing and whether he or she has any recent complaints on record. If there are complaints, your local housing authority can provide the contact number of the party that filed the complaint so you can follow up. You should also check to make sure the mason is properly insured and get proof.
Make sure the masons you interview have experience with the type of work that you want done. For example, if you want a fieldstone wall constructed, don’t hire a mason who only has experience with installing foundations.
Ask one or more masonry contractors for bids on your project. A mason typically charges a set fee per brick, stone or block that he or she lays. This fee includes the cost of labor and additional materials, such as mortar and structural wall mesh.
Figure in the cost of the bricks or blocks if you are choosing and ordering your own and arranging for their delivery. Some masons have accounts with nearby brickyards and may get discounts. But many masons provide only the labor necessary to lay the bricks and may require you to order the materials. This is important information to have before you choose a mason.
Take a look at some recent examples of the mason’s work, if possible. While it’s always a good idea to ask for client references and to call them, it’s even better to see the mason’s work with your own eyes. Look not only at the overall design, but also for quality: Look closely for hairline cracks in the mortar or brick rows that are not perfectly level.
Ask to see a portfolio if the mason has one. Since brick and stonework are often artistic by nature, many masons will take photographs of previous projects. A portfolio allows you to see the scope of the mason’s expertise. If you can, contact former clients and ask them how the mason performed on the job.
Execute a contract that specifies the work, cost, payment schedule and the start and anticipated completion date. Make sure the contract includes provisions that guarantee the work. Masonry jobs are generally messy and it’s not uncommon for masonry spills to occur. With that in mind you should also make sure that there is a provision in your contract indicating that the contractor is responsible for cleanup.
Tips & Warnings
- Know what you want to accomplish before you hire a mason. If possible have a detailed sketch of your project created.
- You should know what kind of materials you want to use.
- Ask prospective candidates how long they have been in business.
- Ask a local contractor to recommend a reputable mason.
- Get an idea of what your project will cost by talking to other homeowners who have similar masonry details.
As you can see, shopping around for a mason can help get you get a great price on exactly what you need. Interviewing can help you weed out the masons that could possibly become problematic. Check up on their credentials before agreeing to work with them.
If you’re planning to order the materials for your project yourself, please contact us. We will be happy to help you complete your home improvement goals.