FAMILY OWNER AND OPERATED MASONRY SERVICES
About Cornerstone Masonry
Cornerstone Masonry is owned and operated by a family of artisans, headed by Dwayne Eisenbeis. Dwayne has been working in the industry since 1984, and he works alongside his three sons: Dustin, Myles and Dakota. Together, Dwayne, the boys, and wife Karen who runs the office, will work with you to turn your stone masonry ideas for walls, fireplaces and home exteriors into a beautiful reality that will last for generations. From concept to completion, Cornerstone Masonry handles it all so you don’t have to.
For more information about Cornerstone Masonry, call us today.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1Q: I know I want stone, but I'm not sure what type of stone
A: If you know you want stonework but you’re not sure what style of stonework you want, take a look at our extensive photo gallery of home exteriors, fireplaces, and walls.
If the photo gallery doesn’t have what you seek, we can provide websites with more information. We can also direct you to showrooms where you can view samples of the actual stone on mock-up boards.
In addition, we can source natural stone from near and far; locally, from other provinces and from around the world.
2Q: How is manufactured stone applied?
A: Manufactured stone still requires mortar and skilled masons to adhere the stones to the wall or structure.
Our first step is to apply cement over water-resistant paper and metal lathe. As the cement dries, grooves are brushed into the fresh scratch coat with a stiff nylon brush.
Next, mortar is applied to the back of the stone (called back buttering), and the stone is pressed firmly onto the wall. As the stone is pressed onto the wall, mortar is squeezed into the grooves of the scratch coat and out along the edges, bonding the stone to the wall and the surrounding stones.
Depending on the type of stone and application pattern, there may or may not be a visible mortar joint. Where there is a visible joint, care is taken to ensure all the joints are of the same width and depth.
Manufactured stone has a fixed number of stone shapes and colours. Typically, there is enough variety in manufactured stone to create a 12-foot-wide section, which then repeats. Our skilled masons always ensure that the final stone pattern looks natural from every vantage point.
3Q: How do you apply manufactured stone over stucco?
A: If there is an existing stucco finish already on the home, we can use the stucco as our base scratch coat. To prepare the surface, we use a grinder to etch a gridwork of lines into the stucco.
4Q: What are the advantages of real stone?
A: Man-made stone is a technological marvel. It's lightweight, inexpensive, and incredibly versatile. When installed correctly, man-made stone is almost indistinguishable from the real thing in many cases.
If you want the real deal, however, nothing surpasses the visual impact of natural, full bed stone. Natural stone is not only beautiful, it can be used as a structural support for walls and roofs – something man-made stone cannot do. When it comes to natural stone used on home exteriors, it will give you an impressive 4- 5 inches of stone depth around windows and other openings. And of course, being the oldest building material known to humanity, its durability is second to none.
If you want your home, fireplace, walls, and gates to reflect quality and permanence, then natural stone is the only choice.
5Q: What are the advantages of manufactured stone?
A: 1. You've got the look of full stone for 1/2 the cost and 1/3 the weight.
2. Cost savings – your home design does not have to account for the extra weight of stone.
6Q: What makes a good foundation?
A: A good mason has a good foundation, so this applies to application.
1. We install flashing over windows and doors as part of the water shedding process.
2. We use two sheets of paper instead of one. We start from the bottom and go up, making sure of correct paper overlaps to provide proper water shedding.
3. Next, we use wire lathe for all man-made and natural veneer applications. Again there is a 2-inch overlap. There is a right side and a wrong side to install the wire lathe. We also use 2-inch-long staples every 6 to 8 inches, hitting on studs.
With full bed stone, we start with a 4x4 inch angle iron or a brick ledge poured with a foundation – the homeowner will have already planned for full bed (natural) stone. Brick ties must be used in this application.
7Q: How do I choose the right stone mason for my project?
A: Here are some things you can ask to ensure you get the right stone mason:
1. Ask for references.
2. Call at least three of the references.
3. Ask to see pictures of past projects.
4. Ask references about the mason's punctuality and follow-through on promised beginning and completion dates.
5. Ask references if the mason kept the work area clean (e.g. no garbage left behind of any kind, such as stone packaging, lunch wrappers, or cigarette butts)
6. Ask if the mason was sensitive to existing woodwork, lawns, flower beds and the like around the home.
7. Ask if the mason and the mason's crew were respectful in terms of their language and demeanor toward you and the other trades.
Stone masonry is an art, but it's also very physically demanding work and therefore it attracts rough and ready individuals. That, however, is no reason the mason you choose shouldn't be respectful of your home or your job site. At Cornerstone Masonry, we pride ourselves on being respectful of your time, your job site, and of your safety, at all times!
MASONRY CARE AND MAINTENANCE TIPS
Over the years we’ve seen it all – from stained masonry to damage from ice thaw. Read our helpful maintenance tips to learn more about how to care for your stonework.
Efflorescence literally means blooming flowers. In stonework, it refers to the white staining that appears on masonry that is subjected to moisture and the presence of mineral salts in solution. When the water evaporates, it leaves that white chalky, powdery residue.
The mineral salts can leach into the masonry from the ground if there is an insufficient moisture barrier between the masonry and the ground, or in some cases, from additives incorporated into certain mortars to make them more manageable in cold weather. Such additives do not cause efflorescence when used on masonry that is protected from ambient moisture from the ground or air.
Prevention: The quickest cure for efflorescence is to prevent excess moisture from coming into contact with the masonry – either from the ground or from the air. What isn’t so simple is how you go about doing that. There are several ways to go about preventing excess moisture from getting into masonry and causing freeze/thaw damage or efflorescence.
Impermeable Barriers: One way to prevent excess moisture from reaching masonry is to add a waterproof vapour barrier to the side of the masonry that is in contact with moisture. This can be done with continuous plastic or polymer sheeting, waterproofing chemicals, or a combination of both sheeting and chemicals.
Drainage: Often, the quickest and most inexpensive solution is to ensure that water can drain away from the masonry. This can involve installing proper weeping tile to allow moisture to escape from between the ground and the masonry, or improving how water drains away from structures so it doesn’t contact the masonry.
Removing Existing Efflorescence: Efflorescence isn’t mould, so it can be removed with a stiff nylon (not wire) brush while it is dry (be sure to wear a proper filter respirator!).
Alternatively, you can use a mild solution of vinegar (2 parts) and water (10 parts) and a nylon brush. Dip the brush in the mixture and wipe the masonry with a circular motion. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water.
At a certain stage, efflorescence becomes water insoluble, so water will not work to clean it. If you cannot brush it off, and water won’t remove it, then you should consider hiring a professional to clean it using an acidic or EDTA solution. Be advised, if you try to use an acid-based product yourself, you could damage your masonry if you apply it improperly. Again, seek professional advice before any use of acid-based products.
WATER: THE ENEMY OF STONE/MASONRY
Everyone knows that water is a powerful force. We see it every day in fast-running rivers that have gouged mile-deep wonders of the world like the Grand Canyon. We see how, when flood waters crest their banks and levees, water can obliterate entire towns and sections of cities in the blink of an eye. But those are only the most dramatic examples of water’s power.
Water’s true power is its ability to expand and exert gigantic forces when it transitions from a liquid to a solid in the form of ice. One study shows that the expansive powers of ice contained within a brass spherule could overcome a resistance of more than twenty-seven thousand pounds, or thirteen-and-a-half tons! So powerful is this expansion force that some science fair students theorized that ice “generators” that harness this force would be a viable source of alternative energy.
Stone masonry can withstand millennia of extreme weather, but only if water is not allowed to take up residence behind or between the stones – if it does, even the strongest, densest stone is no match for water’s destructive expansion power when it turns to ice, or worse, when existing ice begins to warm up. When this happens, it expands more rapidly than when it initially freezes, and with great power.
Prevention is Key
Rain screen: In both man-made stone and real stone applications, we use specialty products to create what’s referred to in the construction industry as a rain screen. With a proper rain screen behind the stone and above the home envelope, we create an environment that reduces or eliminates wetting due to gravity, capillary action, and wind pressure differences.
Proper mortar: In addition to the incorporation of a rain screen, we also use high-quality “Type N” cement, designed for our harsh climate and to minimize efflorescence. In natural block and brickwork applications, we use “Type S” cement.
Protective sealers: In addition, all stone can be finished with a protective sealer after the cement has dried. We prefer a high-penetrant coating. This coating is also low sheen, and it slightly darkens or deepens the look of the stone to give a richer and more appealing appearance.
On all houses, new constructions and renovations, we can use a sealing product prior to papering above window and door frames. This step will further prevent leaks and assist in moisture control.
Check out this article on masonry repairs that we have been featured in!