A Guide to Better Masonry Repairs


Mason contractors often face hidden challenges when updating masonry structures. These repair projects range from transforming large dilapidated neighborhood landmarks to upgrading windows and doors on a recently constructed building. Regardless of the project size, defining a project’s scope of work is impossible without properly assessing what is hidden behind the surface.

In the last decade, there have been significant technology improvements in testing. New diagnostic tool can aid in identifying these unknowns such as determining the integrity of veneer ties, quantifying material erosion, and outlining voids in grouted sections. Along with better diagnostics, design professionals have been tasked to upgrade masonry assemblages to meet current seismic codes.

Design professionals and mason contractors who take advantage of these new tools are in a position to be more efficient and cost-effective. “The best way to avoid creating a bigger problem on these repairs is to perform as much forensic investigation as possible before beginning work,” says Michael Schuller, a principal at Atkinson-Noland & Associates in Boulder, Colo. Schuller has been active in helping The Masonry Society (TMS), provide more technical data to the masonry industry on this subject.

TMS’s latest project on better masonry repairs is the publication of Assessment and Retrofit of Masonry Structures. The book’s authors, Dr. Ahmad Hamid, along with Schuller, have extensive experience in this area of forensic analysis of masonry construction. Both authors have been active is helping contractors and design professionals become more familiar with adapting current best practices in the repair of masonry structures.

In this 420-page masterpiece, the authors have included vital content that provides practical guidance on all types of masonry including historic, transitional, and modern masonry construction. The book’s main focus is structural stabilization, strengthening, and retrofit with maintenance and serviceability items (such as water penetration and cleaning) addressed as subtopics.

Mason contractors can garner current and practical information on evaluating, testing, and, where needed, repairing existing masonry. For design professionals, the book provides a comprehensive reference section on materials and design guidance. The technical content is supported with case studies of assessments and retrofits undertaken by the authors. These examples highlight technical issues and illustrate the process of developing a rational methodology.

World of Concrete attendees will recognize Schuller as a popular World of Concrete seminar presenter for more than a two decades. His contribution, which includes portions of his seminars, is easily read and understood. “While many past students will recognize some the of charts, pictures, and handouts, since I have been including them in my seminars, the book allowed to me to provide greater detail and references,” said Schuller in a recent interview.

Schuller believes that one of the book’s best features is the Assessment Checklist. The four-page list outlines important items suitable for all masonry structures. “Our team uses similar checklists on every project,” said Sculler.

You can order the book directly from The Masonry Society by clicking here.. The publication costs $180.00.