Your Guide to Common Masonry Materials

Matt Marandola
Written by Matt Marandola
Updated September 28, 2021
A country house with a green back yard
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These ten common masonry materials have a place in every household

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From brick to concrete, there are plenty of different masonry materials that find their way into our homes. It doesn’t matter if your home was built hundreds of years ago or if it was just finished up last week. Here are ten common masonry materials you’re likely to find in any home, along with info about how they’re used.

1. Brick

A worker’s hand installing brick at a construction site
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Brick has been a staple building material for centuries. And there’s a good reason the big bad wolf couldn’t blow down the house made of brick: Under ideal conditions, bricks can last upwards of 500 years. A brick and stone exterior is widely considered one of the most hassle-free material combos out there.

Brick is also commonly used for fireplaces and chimneys. So even if your house is made of concrete or wood, there’s still a chance the fiery red bricks found a way into your home.

2. Concrete and Concrete Blocks

A hand applying cement to a surface
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Concrete has been shaping our humble abodes since the times of the Romans. And for good reason: It’s one of the most durable materials out there. There’s a reason why you can still find many statues, coliseums, and iconic columns around to this day, despite being several thousand years old.

In modern times, you’re still going to find cement in just about every household. Concrete serves as the foundation for the majority of new homes built in America. There’s also a good chance you’ll find it on your driveway and sidewalk.

Stamped concrete patios offer elegant looks to backyard seating areas and are relatively easy to install.

If poured concrete isn’t your style, then you might still find use in concrete as concrete blocks. You can use it to landscape your yard by using it for fire pits, steps, or flowerbeds.

3. Granite

A granite countertop in a kitchen
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Granite has found its niche in the masonry world as a popular countertop material. It can also withstand spills and scratches better than many materials. Granite tiles are also a popular choice for bathrooms.

4. Natural Stones

Natural stone stairs in a home’s garden
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Natural stones, such as limestone and sandstone, make perfect edging and retaining walls. They add character, break up large sections of a single color, and of course, draw attention to all the hard work you’ve put into your landscaping.

5. Marble

A bathroom vanity with marble tiles on the wall
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Marble has found a niche spot in the form of marble tiles. You can find marble tiles for flooring, bathroom tiles, and kitchen backsplashes. You’ll also occasionally find marble used for interior decoration in the form of statues or columns.

6. Glass Blocks

A shower with glass blocks for wall
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Glass blocks are typically used as accents in shower walls as a complement to the rest of the tile. They may also be frosted and used as windows in the bathroom so you can enjoy both natural light and privacy.

7. Stucco

Stucco exterior walls of a house
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This cement-based product is a thin layer that goes over the existing woodwork and masonry of your home. It can be easily painted. And unlike wood or brick, stucco can be molded and texturized. So if you wanted the brick look without being stuck with deep reds and browns, you could create a faux brick look with stucco.

8. Mortar

A worker’s hand applying mortar on a wall
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Mortar is the material that fits nicely in between bricks and cement blocks. If you’ve ever seen the old cartoons of characters laying bricks and slapping down a dark paste before putting the brick down, that’s the mortar.

9. Grout

A worker installing bathroom tiles and grout
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Grout is the final touch to patios, stone flooring, and bathroom tiles. Unlike mortar, grout tends to have a smoother finish and looks more like it flows naturally with the stones rather than holding them together. You can even dye the grout to add an extra layer of uniqueness to your designs.

10. Rebar

A worker reinforcing steel bars with wire
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While rebar isn’t a stone, it finds itself buried (literally) in the middle of many concrete projects, which makes it a common masonry material. These steel bars are used throughout masonry projects to help reinforce concrete so it holds up in high-traffic areas such as your driveway, patio, and foundation.

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