This symposium paper (1.3 Mb PDF) considers the issues which affect durability of masonry and considers measures to prevent deterioration. Buildings surviving throughout the world since Roman times and before, testify to the inherent durability of masonry constructed with clay bricks and natural stone.
Until recent years, most buildings were built from a limited range of local bricks and stones, employing traditional well-tried methods and details. Today, modern manufacturing methods and a nationwide road and rail system make available everywhere, bricks and stones from the great variety of raw materials in which this country abounds. To achieve the inherent long term durability of masonry in modern buildings, account must be taken of the physical properties of the various walling materials and mortars, as well as the degree of exposure to which parts of the building will be subjected.
Knowledge and experience of local bricks, stones and building methods must now be supplemented by the wider collective experience which has been built up over the years within the building industry, and forms the basis of the guidance offered in this paper.
The guidance is based upon British Standard Specifications and Codes of Practice and information published by both trade organisations and manufacturers. It must be considered as general guidance rather than an exact science, with designers relying to some extent on understanding, experience and, ultimately, personal judgement, prior to utilising any tabulated guidance given within Codes of Practice.