Finding the right masonry contractor for your construction project in Fredericton requires thorough research. This in-depth guide provides homeowners and business owners in the area with a complete overview of what to consider when choosing a skilled, experienced masonry professional. It covers how to find a contractor capable of delivering workmanship that will meet local standards and last for decades.
Masonry in Fredericton
Masonry has played an important role in Fredericton’s architecture and construction since the city was founded in the early 19th century. Traditional red brick is a defining feature of many historic buildings downtown, while modern masonry is also commonly used in both commercial and residential projects.
Masonry refers to building materials like brick, stone, concrete block, and tile that are installed or “set” using mortar. Masonry contractors are skilled craftspeople trained to properly install these materials according to building codes and design plans. Their expertise ensures masonry structures are durable, stable, safe, and help buildings withstand our region’s harsh winters and changes in temperature.
Why Quality Masonry Matters
For any major construction endeavor like a house, office building, or other structure, quality masonry work is absolutely crucial from both an aesthetic and functional standpoint. Poorly installed masonry can lead to issues like cracking, water damage, and structural problems down the line that are difficult and expensive to repair.
Hiring the right masonry contractor is important to avoid these issues and ensure projects are built right from the start. Quality masonry helps buildings maintain their beauty for decades while protecting inhabitants from elements. It also increases property value for owners. With masonry being a foundational part of any structure, cutting corners can put occupants at risk, so it’s best to use experienced professionals.
Key Qualities to Look for in Masonry Contractors
When searching for masonry contractors, several qualifications should factor heavily into your selection:
- Certification and Licenses – Reputable contractors will have all required certifications from regulatory bodies like Service NL to legally perform masonry work.
- Experience and References – Ask how long they’ve been in business and complete projects of similar scale. Check online reviews or past client testimonials.
- Insurance and Safety Compliance – Contractors should carry proper commercial general liability and workers’ compensation coverage. They should also follow strict job site safety protocols.
- Artisanship and Precision – Highly skilled masons take pride in flawless installations with exacting attention to detail. Look closely at past portfolio photos for expertise.
- Warranty – Top contractors like Atlantic Brick and Stone stand behind their work and offer a multi-year warranty to remedy any issues should they arise later on.
- Communication and Transparency – Honest, responsive communication with clients is essential from project planning to completion.
Looking for a contractor with all these qualities helps ensure your project will be completed effectively and withstand the test of time in the local climate. Consider multiple bids and thoroughly vet any masonry pro under consideration.
Local Regulations and Standards
Like with other construction trades, masonry work undertaken in Fredericton must adhere to specific regulations, codes, and standards. Key ones impacting local projects include:
- National Building Code of Canada (NBC) – Governs structural materials usage nationally, including seismic design in our region.
- Service NL Building Permits – Required for projects valued over $15,000 or structural repairs/additions. Permits verify code compliance.
- City of Fredericton Zoning Rules – Dictate allowable building sizes, setbacks, lot coverage etc.
- Workplace Health and Safety Regulations – Mandate fall protection, scaffolding, confined spaces entry protocols and more.
Experienced local contractors stay up-to-date on these rules and use approved construction methods, critical for obtaining required occupancy permits upon completion. Paying attention to regulations helps projects stay safe, legal and within homeowners’ insurance coverage.
How to Vet Potential Contractors
Choosing the right masonry contractor takes research into qualifications as discussed, but also vetting their integrity with the following steps:
- Ask for and check 3-5 references from past commercial or residential clients directly. Visit some completed jobs in-person too if possible.
- Review contractor websites and Yelp/Google reviews from verified customers. Read criticism as well as praise.
- Request and review copies of valid licenses, insurance, safety plans and warranty documents in writing to verify legitimacy.
- Get itemized quotes in writing from 3 contractors minimum for accurate price comparisons on the same scope of work.
- Ask detailed questions about material sourcing, timelines, payment schedules, change order policies and resolution process.
Being thorough in vetting helps avoid issues down the road like delays, budget overruns, shoddy workmanship or other problems that more established, reputable contractors are less likely to encounter.
Common Masonry Projects in Fredericton
Some common masonry projects undertaken by both homeowners and commercial clients in Fredericton include:
- Brick or stone veneer on new home construction for aesthetics and insulation.
- Front walkways, patios and driveway installations made from interlocking concrete pavers or natural stone.
- Facade renovations like tuckpointing and brick repair on older homes and buildings downtown.
- Block construction of accessory structures like garages, sheds or entry features on properties.
- Fireplace builds and wood-burning stove installations requiring masonry expertise.
- Commercial projects involving large-scale buildings, foundations, walls and other structures.
Choosing an experienced contractor familiar with the most frequently requested local projects helps streamline your project from initial planning through completion.
Maintaining Your Masonry Work
Properly maintaining new or renovated masonry is important to maximize its lifespan and appearance. Here are some tips:
- Inspect caulking/grout/mortar annually and reapply any that shows cracks or voids. Repoint loose bricks promptly.
- Protect exposed brick with paint or sealers as needed, especially lower walls susceptible to water splash-back.
- Keep landscape beds/dirt pulled back 12″ from masonry, and scrape away debris/ice regularly.
- Consider sealing stone surfaces periodically if porous to repel water and prevent staining.
- Inspect for cracks annually, especially around high-traffic areas. Consult a contractor about repairs.
Prioritizing upkeep guards your investment and could help identify any issues still covered under the original contractor’s warranty period. Quality installation by a reputable pro is the first step to masonry that withstands Fredericton’s climate beautifully for decades.