According to an article published in the August 30, 2017 edition of Masonry Construction, the immense destruction caused by the recent hurricanes will have a wide-reaching effect on masonry construction. There simply are not enough skilled masonry workers to rebuild in the most devastated areas. Texas is traditionally a very strong state for masonry, and some parts of Florida use masonry too, including single-wythe construction. While demand for masonry workers means those who have the skills can get jobs easily, it also means that designers and builders will, out of economic necessity, start converting to construction methods other than masonry. And once a designer finds design options that work just as well as masonry, such as wood, tilt-up, and rainscreen systems, but which can be built by the available worker pool, masonry jobs will disappear forever. If the masonry industry is to continue to be healthy, it is vital that industry associations and mason training schools significantly increase their efforts to recruit and train the next generation of skilled masonry workers. Read the Masonry Construction article at the link below.
Every year, industry professionals get together for the World of Concrete. Managers, designers, masons and other professionals meet and greet while learning about industry trends and new products hitting the market. The upcoming event in Las Vegas in January 2018 promises to be an amazing gathering of the top players in the industry. Anybody that attends should be sure to check out 5 highlights that will improve their experience.
1. Continuing Education
Masons need to continue their training every year to keep up their certification and master certification. This enables them to validate their knowledge and credibility. The conference will have over 150 continuing education opportunities for masons and designers. These include concrete production, concrete fundamentals, concrete repair and many more. Masons with interests in slabs, granite and other stones will have an opportunity to find the course that fits their needs. All topics have industry renowned speakers teaching courses.
2. CIM Silent and Live Auction
The Concrete Industry Management association is one of the largest industry groups. CIM also loves to give back to support the next generation of masons enter the industry. Already, the group has provided more than $5 million to four designated universities that are actively teaching the best and brightest. The auction will have cool and innovative prizes with all proceeds going to support education.
The CIM has a tradition of meeting at the World of Concrete to help plan events, education and major initiatives for the coming year. The annual silent auction is the culmination of this planning.
3. ROI Center
Entrepreneurial masons and concrete companies are always trying to improve their business. While costs are going up all the time, getting new business continues to be difficult. Executives have to determine where they want to place their investment dollars to get the biggest bang for the buck in their business. They have to determine which marketing efforts work, which supplies produce the greatest value and which cost structures are optimal. The World of Concrete has a special ROI center and education series to help concrete company management teams get the most out of their businesses.
4. Skills Challenge
Everybody wants to prove that they are the best mason in the business. The Bronze Lot Mason Skills Challenge gives attendees the chance to prove their worth. There are a number of different levels and competitions in the skills challenge. First of all, there is an apprentice challenge where new masons are given surprise projects to complete on the spot and then receive judging.
There are a number of other competitions depending on the different specialties. These include MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block, SPEC MIX Toughest Tender® and finally the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500®.
The competitive area also has demonstrations of new techniques and products. It includes demonstrations and public lectures.
5. Mortar Net Solutions in the Innovation Zone Gold Lot
Mortar Net Solutions has an amazing assortment of new products that really set them apart from many of the other vendors. They have a first-rate R&D team that are bringing products to the market that are truly differentiated. Their team will be set-up in the Innovation Zone Gold Lot displaying products installed in full-size walls. One product is the DriPlan Rainscreen Drainage System which allows continuous drainage and drying behind adhered masonry. Another product is the Custom Cut Drip Edges which make an exact fit around architectural details which is much more efficient.
Overall, the World of Concrete should be an amazing event that brings together the leaders in the industry. Masons and managers will learn about the top new products and solutions in the industry. They should be especially cognizant of the 5 highlights mentioned above.
Being a mason is a hard job. You need to make sure every measurement is as accurate as possible, and even in this technologically advanced age we live in there’s a great deal of grunt work to the job. As if that wasn’t enough, though, masons now have to grapple with climate change. If you’re in the field, trying to make sure your buildings last, this isn’t some theoretical thing that’s going to happen in some vague future… this is something that’s impacting your business now.
Here are five ways that climate change is going to burden your business.
#1: Harsher Working Conditions
We all know how tough it is to get the job done when there are record-breaking temperatures making the day unbearable. Heat, especially when combined with hard work and long hours, can complicate any job. Especially when you consider that regular breaks, hydration, and keeping workers cool are necessities, not conveniences. Climate change means it will be hotter than ever before, and that the heat may last significantly longer than it did in the past.
#2: Changes in Material Supply and Demand
Climate change isn’t a single drop of water falling in a select area. Everyone gets wet in this rainstorm, and sometimes that can have unexpected results. Such as, for example, changes in the cost and supply of basic building materials.
Take lumber, as an example. Lumber is often seen as a lightweight alternative to masonry, but how will logging and forestry concerns change when the climate alters? Will there be more restrictions on when wood can be harvested, and by whom? Will there be additional taxes and tariffs put on lumber as a way to curb deforestation and fight greenhouse gases? Alternatively, will fossil fuels become more expensive, making it costlier to ship heavy materials like stone and brick? If green vehicles become more common on the roads, will shipping costs drop?
These are all potential concerns masonry businesses have to consider when it comes to the potential effects of climate change, and how humans choose to fight it.
#3: Changing Environments
You have different concerns when you build a structure next to the sea-shore than you do in the desert… but climate change can change the types of methods and materials you need to use in the very near future. As weather patterns change they can bring rising sea levels, droughts, and other issues that are going to impact the jobs you receive in the future, and which will alter how effective your work has been in the past.
#4: Public Perception
In today’s business climate it’s not enough to offer a good product, or provide a good service; customers want to know where you stand. When it comes to climate change, that means customers will want to see your green credentials up-front. They’ll ask where your products come from, and how your process helps in the fight against greenhouse gases. So it rests on you to be able to answer those questions, and to explain to your future customers that by supporting you, they are supporting a greener mason than they would get by hiring someone else.
#5: Extreme Weather
Climate change makes extreme weather not just possible, but probable. That means areas which were considered safe from things like floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires will have to cope with these events. This could mean your work will be held to higher, or entirely different, standards than it would have been before climate change became a serious problem.
Climate change affects all of us, and we all need to step up to the challenges that come with a changing world. If you’re looking for more advice on how your business can provide what your customers need, simply contact us today!
Technology has shrunk the world, and as a result today’s markets are more competitive than ever. Customers have more choices than ever before about who they buy from. And if you’re a masonry contractor, you need to compete with all the other masons out there to get yourself in front of customers’ eyeballs. That means you have to have a marketing team that’s constantly putting you and your service in front of building owners, general contractors and designers so they’re aware of you and invite you to bid at just the right time in the design or construction process. To that end, here are five ways to use technology to sell 24/7/365 and get more customers asking for and accepting your bids.
Tip #1: Be Active on Social Media
There’s a big difference between being on social media, and being active on social media. If your business has a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, a YouTube channel and a Twitter account, that’s a good start. However, you need to consistently make quality posts and videos that engage your followers, and that encourage them to like and share. You need to interact with people, and have dialogues. Those things endear you to followers, and make you seem more human, which can make the difference between someone following you, and someone moving along to a different page. Post about your latest projects, and be sure to include pictures and video. If people have questions about masonry problems, answer them. Remember the old sales saying, “A confused mind always says no.” If you can remove your customers’ confusion about masonry or the building process, you’ll create a buying customer.
Tip #2: Embrace Content Marketing
Content marketing has grown in popularity over the years, and the idea behind it is relatively simple. A business creates content, such as blog entries, white papers, videos and webinars, and that content attracts an audience by giving them value. Then, once the audience is attracted, you market yourself to them.
As a masonry contractor, you might run features on your blog about the problems with exposed brick walls or how to properly install flashing around a window. You could also write posts about the most common terms contractors use and what they really mean, so that potential customers don’t get taken advantage of. Think of common problems or concerns customers have and provide ways to solve them. Be the person who removes a potential customer’s anxiety and you’ll be their preferred contractor, plus they’ll recommend you to others.
Be sure to use photos and video, not only of finished projects but of projects in process. Include interviews and testimonials with satisfied customers. Post your videos on YouTube and be sure to include a written transcript of each video so the search engines can find your video. They don’t see video content, only words. And don’t rely on YouTube’s transcriber, which is frequently laughably wrong.
Using content to establish your bona fides as an honest professional goes a long way to bring you to the attention of building owners, general contractors and architects. Once you have people regularly tuning in for your updates, you can give them a call to action such as “Call to request a free quote,” “Let us help you with your masonry design or bid” or “Take a tour of our latest project” to get them to hire you.
Tip #3: Attend Networking Events
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Or, more accurately, it’s who knows you. Local networking events might be hosted by the Better Business Bureau, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), International Masonry Institute (IMI) or Brick Institute of America (BIA), or even one of the large masonry distributors in your area. National events are huge conventions where everyone in your field gathers once a year. Both local and national events are great places to make the connections that will keep your business growing. Shake hands, volunteer, and plug yourself into your business community so that people think of your company first. If you’re not comfortable networking, search “Networking skills training” on YouTube and you’ll find plenty of help. Remember, if your competitors aren’t comfortable with networking and you are, you’ve got a big advantage.
Tip #4: Create A Cool Giveaway
Whether it’s a discount on someone’s next order, or just some swag with your business’s logo on it, a giveaway almost always increases your standing in someone’s mental list. We like people who give us stuff, and even if it’s relatively cheap stuff like a tee-shirt, a pen, a notebook, or something else, it doesn’t take much to buy someone’s good will, at least temporarily. For a longer-lasting impression, think of what your target customers would actually use on a day-to-day basis, which means your logo is right in front of them for a long time. At Mortar Net, we’ve gotten away from giving away lots of branded swag but still give away branded gifts with real value, like hats, safety vests and work gloves. We’re also selecting who we give it away to instead of giving it to anyone who asks. Consider gifts your customers’ spouses, kids or grandkids might like too. Gift with care, and you will get many returns on your investment.
Tip #5: Maintain an Email Marketing List
While it might not be the most glamorous form of marketing out there, email marketing still works. That’s why you should make sure you send out email regularly. But make sure they include important messages, offers, news, and deals. Remember, people don’t care about your business, they only care about what you and your business can do for them. If you give people a reason to stay on your email list, they’re more likely to read the messages, and remain active customers. If you have staff who can create a regular newsletter or the cash to hire an outside service to create one, they can be a reason to communicate with potential customers regularly. And make sure your mailing list is up to date and complete. It’s a good investment to buy a list of building management companies, general contractors and architects in the areas where you want to do business. Companies like Hoovers and Pinpoint are reputable list sellers. Never buy a list from an unsolicited email.
These are just a few, simple ways for you to market your business. If you need bid or design help with Mortar Net Solutions products, please email Steven Fechino, email@example.com, 219-850-4514. If you’d like free product samples, click here.
Just read an excellent article by Charles Wardell on the Journal of Light Construction website: “Avoiding the Most Common Construction Defects”. Among other problems, Mr. Wardell outlines four very common issues with stucco installations:
He also makes it clear that it’s vital to use weep screeds with stucco and stone installations. We recommend ClarkDietrich weep screeds such as the one at this link. http://www.clarkdietrich.com/products/vinyl-weep-sill-screeds/vinyl-3-1-2-weep-screed
He recommends installing a “rainscreen mat” behind stone and stucco. Also called a drainage plane, this is a mesh drainage mat that creates a thin “plane” or space behind the adhered veneer. It is similar in function to the cavity in a masonry cavity wall. A drainage plane allows water behind the veneer to drain through holes in the weep screed, and also allows air to circulate behind the veneer to provide rapid and complete drying. Mortar Net’s DriPlane mesh drainage plane and the mesh drainage plane that is a part of the LathNet metal lath/drainage mat system both meet his recommendations. Learn more about DriPlane and LathNet under the Products dropdown menu above.
Read the entire Wardell article at the below link.
Today’s adhered masonry veneer walls are typically more vulnerable to moisture problems than older “thick mass” masonry walls or today’s masonry cavity walls. The reason is simple – most of today’s typical masonry veneer walls are built without a space between the veneer and the substrate, so they don’t allow fast and complete drainage and drying behind the veneer. The traditional method of using two layers of building paper between the substrate and scratch coat may provide some drainage, but it doesn’t allow ventilation and it won’t prevent mortar bridging.
Since the characteristics of moisture movement in veneer walls are the same as those of masonry cavity walls, it only makes sense to provide the equivalent of a cavity behind the adhered veneer. Without this cavity, often called a “drainage/ventilation plane” in adhered masonry walls, mortar bridging between the veneer and substrate can occur, which can conduct infiltrating water from the veneer to the substrate. In addition, without a drainage/ventilation plane behind the veneer, there is no way for air to circulate and dry the veneer or the substrate. Veneers, mortar, cracks and flashing failures will allow moisture into the wall, and without a drainage/ventilation plane, it can damage moisture-sensitive wall components.
As a result, the need for efficient drainage and rapid, complete drying are important considerations when designing and installing adhered masonry veneers.
Moisture Intrusion Problems
When moisture can’t dry behind an adhered masonry wall system, the consequences range from merely inconvenient to very expensive, plus wall failure can seriously damage a builder’s reputation. They include:
Let’s examine each of these potential problems in greater detail:
Mold growth – Insulation, sheathing, drywall and any wall materials with organic content are vulnerable to mold infestation resulting from moisture trapped in walls. Mold remediation is often an expensive and complicated process requiring professional expertise, and extensive mold infestations can lead to lawsuits that can damage a contractor’s reputation. Affected areas must be sealed off to minimize spore dispersion, and it is necessary to completely remove and replace affected wall components.
Chronic efflorescence – Efflorescence is the white powder that results from minerals in the mortar migrating to the exterior surface of the masonry veneer. Chronic efflorescence is caused by there being more moisture inside the wall than in the outside air. This causes the moisture to migrate through the mortar and results in a continuing cycle of mineral stains, surface cleansing and more mineral stains. While efflorescence doesn’t cause structural damage, it is unsightly, requires ongoing maintenance and will definitely create an unhappy customer.
Excessive humidity – Too much moisture in the air encourages bacterial growth, and relative humidity inside the walls of greater than 60% can feed mold growth, which may compromise interior air quality. When excess humidity infiltrates walls, interior humidity levels rise. This often increases the amount of heating and cooling required to maintain the comfort of occupants.
Deteriorating metal components – If the metal lath used for the scratch coat rusts, the rust will expand and may create cracks and even push the veneer off the wall. The metal fasteners used to adhere the masonry veneer to the structural substrate may also rust or corrode and eventually fail, and if the veneer pulls away from the substrate, it not only creates the opportunity for more water damage but can also injure people and damage property if it falls without warning.
Cracking and spalling – Excess moisture which migrates to the wall’s surface may lead to cracking and spalling, which can allow more moisture behind the wall, creating a vicious cycle of water damage leading to more water damage. Widespread deterioration may also have an adverse impact on leasing, and will almost certainly decrease a property’s value.
Unfortunately, moisture damage behind adhered masonry veneers may remain hidden for months or years before it becomes obvious, and by that time, repairs may be very expensive, sometimes reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars. Money spent on prevention of moisture problems will always be a good investment and is likely to pay for itself multiple times during the building’s life.
Of course, it is best to design moisture management into the wall to prevent damage rather than try to fix the wall once moisture has damaged it.. A properly designed wall will include:
Drainage/ventilation planes – A plastic mesh drainage/ventilation plane at least ¼” thick should be installed continuously behind the adhered veneer to allow drainage and airflow vital to managing moisture in the wall. The continuous mesh acts as a mortar break to prevent bridging, and moisture that does get behind the veneer travels to the bottom of the wall where it escapes through openings in the weep screed. The mesh also allows air circulation to promote rapid drying. Modern substrates are designed to withstand occasional wetting without damage, but if a substrate and other wall components never dry completely, mold and structural problems will result.
Weep screeds – Weep screeds are often used at the bottom of adhered masonry walls to provide a clean termination line for the veneer. While a weep screed has holes for drainage and ventilation, they are not considered to be weep holes as the term is used in masonry cavity walls. However, like weep holes, the weep screed holes provide a means for the moisture that flows down the drainage/ventilation plane to exit the wall and they provide a way for air to move into the drainage/ventilation plane to dry the wall components and the veneer from the back.
Moisture damage is the leading cause of masonry building failure – it can cost big dollars to fix and ruin a contractor’s reputation. Mortar Net Solutions is the industry leader in masonry moisture management, and DriPlane and LathNet are two solutions designed specifically to provide the drainage and ventilation plane vital to adhered masonry wall sustainability and beauty. Click here to find a distributor near you. Click here for free samples. For additional information, please contact us today!
When you’re headed out to a job site, managing materials is critical. You want all of your materials to show up at the right time, in the right amounts. You need to inventory them; you need to store them properly. Sometimes, it may feel as though material management is half of your job! These five tips will make managing materials on the job site easier.
Managing materials on a job site is an ongoing process. Construction sites are often chaotic, filled with people moving everywhere and things that have to be done. Appropriately managing those materials will help give you a sense of confidence and make it easier for you to take care of your part of the job. Need help keeping moisture from creeping into your masonry materials? Contact us to learn more about the materials we can offer.
As all people that have an interest in masonry, it is important for us to realize that we often need help understanding new technologies, old traditions and why the architect drew such a thing. All information shared is only as good as the person communicating the concern. Now, I know I am not the world’s best communicator (ok, stop laughing), but when I am explaining a masonry situation that requires some assistance from a more experienced co-worker I need to be on my game. As an employee of one of the nation’s top masonry firms for many years, I had a variety of expertise at my fingertips, people who could jump in a truck and come to a jobsite without adding expense to my job.
That is what we all need, someone there who can help. Mortar Net Solutions™ has that service ready and waiting for you. Proud of their technical experience and innovation, Mortar Net can take a look at your jobsite condition and offer the suggestions you sometimes need to keep things moving. Oh – and it is part of our everyday service that we offer all of our customers.
Mortar Net Solutions provides an extensive and ever-expanding library of customer testimonials, and how-to and installation videos. The how-to and installation videos are shot with a focus on helping make the mason’s job easier. Based on the technical department’s most frequent requests from masons and designers, the videos have been developed to help educate and instruct the viewer using time proven techniques that are typically passed down from one’s mentor. Written and based on hundreds of jobsite visits where North America’s masons and project managers have discussed jobsite conditions, the videos are designed to solve specialty issues using universal techniques. Though products are referenced, the basis of the videos is the education that is presented as well as the techniques that are shared. Compatibility of products as well as the do’s and don’ts of mixing materials is broken down into simple talk.
As technology expands our trade with digital time clocks, automated estimating and accounting services, cellular phones and digital video cameras, it is great to know that the originator of the first mortar collection system allows its technical department the ability to share experience, and video equipment to assist the masons in solving problems with time proven techniques and quality products.
Showing the masonry industry Mortar Net’s commitment to the industry and the technical expertise that is part of our everyday service will provide the customer with confidence that their masonry-related questions will be answered correctly.