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If you are planning to construct anything from stone or rock, whether this is natural or man-made, it would be best to call in a stonemason for the purpose. A stonemason’s area of expertise is varied and expansive, covering both simple and more complex building tasks. Stonemasons are the specialists who will shape any size of stone or rock to your specific requirements. If you are looking for a unique stone basin for your bathroom, a chunk of rock or stone polished to form a bespoke (and heavy!) coffee table, stone fireplace lintel or natural kraal-style stone walls or gabions to be constructed, natural stone cobbles, tiles or pool copings to be laid, the design and construction of a stone or rock-based water-feature or any other stone-related matter, you need to call in a professional stonemason.
Stonemasonry can be defined as shaping irregular pieces of stone or rock into accurate shapes for building and/or decoration, and assembling the resulting shapes to build structures. Stonemasons are specialists who work with both natural and artificial stone and rock. Natural stone includes sandstone, marble, granite, basalt, obsidian, slate, pumice, travertine and limestone. Artificial stone is made from cement mixtures, often mixed with marble or glass chips or other similar elements which create decorative effects. In building applications, stonemasons are employed to construct stone-based walls, floors, arches, sills, steps, hearths and countertops, as well as building architectural elements such as stone facings or cladding on external walls. They may use prefabricated stones for this purpose, or they may cut stones specifically for the job. Other projects which need the expertise of a stonemason include the construction of stone piers. Stonemasons are responsible for laying stone and cobbled walkways and curbs. A stonemason is additionally employed in the creation of artistic structures such as monuments, tombstones and statues, which is achieved through the cutting, shaping and subsequent arrangement of stones. Stonemasons are also responsible for the repair, replacement or replication of detailed stone carvings on buildings. These are usually older buildings constructed in the days when decorative stonework was highly prized. Such buildings include cathedrals (such as the beautiful St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town), churches and majestic Town Halls which were often the pride of their towns.
Stonemasons are the specialists who set and line chemical tanks with stones which are able to withstand acidic substances, as well as lining industrial furnaces, kilns and boiler with materials which are able to tolerate extremely high temperatures.
Stonemasons are also tasked with cleaning and/or repairing weathered stone on building renovations, shaping stone to fill in damaged stonework or carving intricate designs where needed.
Stonemasons use a wide variety of tools and heavy machinery in their work. On a basic level, a hammer and chisel or power grinder or saw or other cutting equipment are needed to shape the stone to fit the required design. This is intricate work, requiring careful and accurate shaping in order to ensure correct fitment. Both hand and power tools are used to smooth, polish or bevel surfaces. When placing large blocks of finished stone into place, skids, hoists or truck cranes are used.
Stonemasons are increasingly joining the trend for online advertising, often with websites which showcase their work, which is one of the best ways in which to show off their skills and diversity. Apart from providing pictorial illustrations of the artistic and manufacturing skills of their trade, these websites will provide many ideas that you can use when planning your own projects. The fastest way of finding these specialists is through online search sites such as Uptasker. Uptasker allows you to check online ratings and customer reviews, as well as providing listings in geographic locations. You can also search for stonemasons in house and home magazines and architectural publications, through large construction companies which use their services, by visiting home expos or through checking the Yellow Pages and newspapers. If possible, use word of mouth referrals, especially if you have seen their work in person and been impressed with the results.
If you are planning on making your home or business premises stand out or simply want a unique and highly individual look, one of the best ways of achieving this is by judicious and impactful use of natural stone. Whilst lending a very environmentally-friendly appeal, natural stone is also extremely strong and beautiful if used correctly. The incorporation of this lovely material into your design is limited only by your imagination and the skills and input of an experienced, professional and knowledgeable stonemason. For more tips, see our stonemason articles.
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