Finding the right masonry contractor for your construction project in Fredericton requires thorough research. This in-depth guide provides area homeowners and business owners with a complete overview of what to consider when choosing a skilled, experienced masonry professional. It covers how to enable a contractor to deliver technology that will meet local standards and last for decades.
Masonry in Fredericton
Masonry has played an important role in Fredericton’s architecture and construction since the city was founded in the early 19th century. Traditional red brick is a defining feature of many historic buildings downtown, while modern masonry is commonly used in both commercial and residential projects.
Masonry refers to building materials such as bricks, stone, concrete blocks and tiles that are installed or “set” using mortar. Masonry contractors are skilled craftsmen trained to properly install these materials according to building codes and design plans. Their expertise ensures that masonry structures are durable, stable, safe and support buildings with our region’s harsh winters and temperature changes.
Why quality masonry matters
For any major construction endeavor such as a home, office building or other structure, quality masonry work is absolutely critical, both from an aesthetic and functional perspective. Poorly installed masonry can lead to problems like cracks, water damage, and structural problems that are difficult and expensive to repair.
Hiring the right masonry contractor is critical to avoiding these problems and ensuring projects are built from the start. Quality masonry helps buildings maintain their beauty for decades and protects occupants from the elements. This increases the property value for the owners. As masonry is a fundamental part of any structure, cutting corners can put residents at risk, so it’s best to use experienced professionals.
Key Qualities to Look for in Masonry Contractors
When searching for masonry contractors, you should consider several qualifications in your selection:
- Certification and License – Reputable contractors will have all the necessary certifications from regulatory bodies like Service NL to carry out masonry work legally.
- Experience and references – Ask how long they have been in business and have completed projects of a similar scale. Check online reviews or past client testimonials.
- Insurance and Security Compliance – Contractors should carry appropriate commercial general liability and workers’ compensation coverage. They should follow strict work site safety protocols.
- Craftsmanship and precision – Highly skilled masons take pride in meticulous installation and attention to detail. Look closely at past portfolio photos for expertise.
- warranty – Top contractor choice Atlantic Brick and Stone Stand behind their work and offer a multi-year warranty to remedy any problems that arise later.
- Communication and transparency – Honest, responsive communication with clients is essential from project planning to completion.
Finding a contractor with all of these qualities helps ensure that your project will be completed efficiently and will stand the test of time in the local climate. Consider multiple bids and thoroughly test any masonry pro under consideration.
Local regulations and standards
Like other construction trades, masonry work undertaken in Fredericton must adhere to certain regulations, codes and standards. Keys affecting local projects include:
- National Building Code of Canada (NBC) – governs the use of structural materials nationally, including seismic design, in our region.
- Service NL Building Permit – Required for projects or structural repairs/additions valued at more than $15,000. Verify permission code compliance.
- City of Fredericton Zoning Regulations – indicate allowable building sizes, setbacks, lot coverage, etc.
- Workplace health and safety regulations – mandate fall protection, scaffolding, confined space entry protocols and more.
Experienced local contractors stay up-to-date on these regulations and use approved construction methods, which are critical to obtaining the necessary occupancy permits upon completion. Paying attention to regulations helps projects stay safe, legal and within homeowner’s insurance coverage.
How to screen potential contractors
Choosing the right masonry contractor researches the qualifications as discussed, but verifies their integrity with the following steps:
- Ask and check for 3-5 direct references from past commercial or residential clients. Inspect some completed work in person if possible.
- Review contractor websites and Yelp/Google reviews from verified customers. Read praise as well as criticism.
- Request and review copies of valid licenses, insurance, safety plans and warranty documents in writing to verify validity.
- Obtain itemized quotations in writing from a minimum of 3 contractors for the same scope of work for accurate price comparison.
- Ask detailed questions about material sourcing, timelines, payment schedules, change order policies and resolution processes.
Thorough vetting helps avoid problems down the road such as delays, budget overruns, poor workmanship or other issues that more established, reputable contractors are less likely to encounter.
General masonry projects in Fredericton
Some common masonry projects undertaken by both homeowners and commercial clients in Fredericton include:
- Brick or stone veneer in new home construction for aesthetics and insulation.
- Front walkways, patios and driveways are constructed of interlocking concrete pavers or natural stone.
- Frontal improvements like tuckpointing and brick repair In the old houses and buildings in the center of the city.
- Block construction of accessory structures such as garages, sheds or access features to the property.
- Building fireplaces and installing wood-burning stoves requires masonry skills.
- Commercial projects involving large-scale buildings, foundations, walls and other structures.
Choosing an experienced contractor familiar with the most frequently requested local projects helps your project flow from initial planning through completion.
Maintenance of your masonry work
Properly maintaining new or renovated masonry is critical to maximizing its lifespan and appearance. Here are some tips:
- Inspect caulking/grout/mortar annually and reapply any that show cracks or voids. Repoint loose bricks immediately.
- Protect exposed brick with paint or sealer as needed, especially lower walls susceptible to water splash-back.
- Keep the landscape bed/dirt 12″ away from the masonry and remove debris/snow regularly.
- Consider periodically sealing the stone surface if porous to prevent water and staining.
- Inspect for cracks annually, especially around high traffic areas. Consult a contractor about repairs.
Prioritizing maintenance protects your investment and can help identify any problems covered by the original contractor’s warranty period. Quality installation by a reputable professional is the first step in masonry that will beautifully withstand the Fredericton climate for decades.