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Brick Projects And Masonry Contractors

If you're looking for a summertime home-improvement project, this is the perfect season for having brick and masonry work done to spruce up your home's appearance while adding durability and value.

Nothing beats concrete for ease of installation and relative low cost, but brick walkways and driveways add elegance and inviting warmth. Some projects you might try on your own--adding a circular-stone walking path from individual bricks. For a major project, however, you'll probably need to bring in a qualified masonry contractor.

Outdoor projects--from small to ambitious--work exceptionally well in brick. Masons can really help with stoops, walkways, planters, garden steps, patio tiles, decorative walls, flagstone paths, brick facades, brick barbecues, outdoor kitchens and hearths, outdoor fireplaces, and chimneys. Whether you're looking for accent work or a complete installation, it pays to evaluate several masonry professionals before inking a contract.

Choosing the Right Masonry Contractor for Your Job

Most people get excited about masonry work after seeing a project completed in their neighborhood. Neighbors can be reliable sources for contractor recommendations. Masonry contractors often scope and bid on a project based on a cost-per-brick basis. If the stonework requires cutting and shaping, however, you'll probably pay an hourly rate. It pays to ask for a client list and visit people who have had work done to evaluate your potential contractor's artistic ability, reliability, and professionalism.

While you're at it, ask former customers about the prep work, the disruptions they experienced during the home-improvement project, and how well the contractor cleaned up excess materials after the job. Remember, if you're having the work done during summer weather, the project can temporarily disrupt plans you may have for enjoying your yard. Brickwork can be dusty and noisy.

Budgeting the Project

Not all brick and tile materials are of equal quality. When evaluating your contractor, feel free to ask for a range of bids, enabling you to choose among high and low-end materials that won't compromise the integrity or look of the job while still saving you money. Solicit ideas, too, since they're free for the asking. Be nimble at the design stage and allow your masonry project some flexibility.

Depending on your budget, it might also be prudent to ask for bids on any other outdoor facade or wall repair at the same time. There's nothing like killing two birds with the same stone contractor.