Serving New Jersey

FAQ About Masonry and Paving

Navigate through our comprehensive FAQ page dedicated to Masonry Services. Here, you'll find answers to all your questions regarding our masonry techniques, materials, project timelines, maintenance tips, and more.

Sidewalks and Walkways

How Does a Walkway Differ from a Sidewalk?

A walkway is a broader term encompassing stairs, ramps, passageways, and related structures that facilitate the use of a path, including sidewalks. In the UK, 'footpath' is commonly used for paths not adjacent to roads.

What Materials Are Typically Used for Pedestrian Walkways?

Sidewalks are generally made of concrete, but other materials like asphalt, crushed stone, or slip-resistant materials are also used effectively.

Which Material Offers the Most Durability for Walkways?

Concrete pavers are the most popular and durable choice for front entries and pathways, offering a variety of sizes, shapes, textures, and colors.

What's the Ideal Base Material for a Walkway?

Sand is commonly used for walkway bases. Alternatively, small chip stone, such as “ASTM #9s,” “HPB,” or “clear 1/8″ chip,” is increasingly popular due to its free-draining properties and ease of use.

How Can I Enhance My Walkway?

Enhance your walkway by adding landscaping around the edges or updating old or damaged bricks, stones, or concrete. Landscaping adds a neat, well-maintained look.

Is a Base Necessary for a Sidewalk?

For sidewalks and patios, a 4-inch base of 3/4 inch quarry process or RCA under a 1-inch layer of concrete sand is sufficient. The amount of base material needed depends on how each material is measured.

Should Walkways be Straight or Curved?

Curved paths suit larger front yards, extending the path length and typically featuring larger garden beds than straight paths, which work well in small yards by providing a direct route to the front door.

Do Sidewalks Require a Specific Slope?

Sidewalk slopes should be less than 1:20 to ensure safe pedestrian passage. If steeper, they are considered ramps and must adhere to specific ADA guidelines.

What's the Best Way to Fix an Uneven Walkway?

Concrete grinding is a cost-effective solution for minor uneven sidewalks. This method evens out trip hazards by shaving down lifted portions, suitable for discrepancies usually less than 1.5 inches.


What Causes Driveways to Crack?

Driveways can crack due to various factors, including weather changes, poor installation, insufficient base support, or heavy vehicle use.

How Can I Repair Loose Pavers on My Driveway?

To fix loose pavers, first remove the affected pavers and clear out any debris or old sand from the base and sides. Then, re-level the base with new sand, place the pavers back firmly, and fill the joints with sand to secure them in place. For a more permanent solution, consider using joint stabilizing sealer.

How Can I Prevent My Driveway from Cracking?

To prevent cracking, ensure proper installation with a solid base, use quality materials, and perform regular maintenance like seal coating for asphalt driveways.

What Leads to Concrete Driveways Breaking Up?

Concrete driveways may break up due to freeze-thaw cycles, ground movement, heavy loads, or aging, often exacerbated by weak spots in the concrete.

Is It Common for Pavers to Shift Over Time?

Yes, it's normal for pavers to shift slightly. Unlike concrete slabs, pavers are designed to flex and move, helping them avoid cracking. However, for driveways, it's advisable to use smaller-sized pavers to prevent cracking and chipping under the weight of vehicles.

Reasons Behind Asphalt Driveway Cracking?

Asphalt driveways typically crack due to thermal expansion and contraction, water infiltration, UV radiation, and wear from traffic or heavy loads.

Expected Lifespan of an Asphalt Driveway Before It Cracks?

A well-maintained asphalt driveway can last 15-20 years before showing significant cracking, depending on environmental conditions and usage.

What Should Be Used to Fill the Gaps Between Driveway Bricks?

For the joints between driveway bricks, use jointing sand. After cleaning, existing sand is usually washed out, so you should evenly spread a thin layer of jointing sand over the area and sweep it into the joints. Use a broom to work the sand back and forth until all joints are filled effectively.

Should I Fix Cracks in My Asphalt Driveway?

Yes, repairing cracks in an asphalt driveway is important to prevent further damage and degradation. Timely repairs can extend the driveway's lifespan and maintain its appearance.

Steps and Stairways

What Safety Measures Should Be Taken for Staircases?

For stairway safety, ensure proper lighting, keep them clear of tools and debris, install required safety rails, and remove any hazardous projections like loose nails.

What Are Common Risks Associated with Stairways?

Stairway falls can lead to serious injuries like broken bones, spinal damage, brain trauma, and deep cuts, along with potential psychological impact.

What's the Maximum Height for Outdoor Stair Risers?

According to IRC section R311.7.5, outdoor stair risers should not exceed 7 3/4 inches in height.

Ideal Height for Outdoor Steps?

For safe and comfortable outdoor steps, a rise of 5 ½ to 7 inches and a tread of 12 to 18 inches is generally recommended.

Optimal Depth for Outdoor Steps?

Outdoor steps should have a tread depth around 30cm, especially when there's no handrail or wall support, to ensure safety.

Are 8-Inch High Steps Acceptable?

In the U.S., standard step height should be 7 to 7 ¾ inches, and 4 inches at the minimum. Local codes may vary. In Canada, the maximum is 8 ¼ inches.

What's the Outdoor Steps Design Formula?

The design formula for a staircase is 2R + T = 24” – 27”, where R is the riser and T is the tread. For example, with 6” risers and a 12” tread, the formula equals 24”.

Most Comfortable Step Height for Stairs?

The ideal step height is around 7 inches (17.78 cm) for residential buildings and 7.5 inches (19.05 cm) for commercial use, as per building codes for optimal safety and comfort.

Best Material for Outdoor Stairs?

Metal, particularly aluminum or steel, is ideal for outdoor stairs due to its durability and resistance to temperature changes and humidity.

How to Waterproof Outdoor Steps?

Apply 2 coats of mastic asphalt on the stringers, risers, and treads of outdoor steps, using an angle filler where vertical meets horizontal surfaces for a watertight finish.

What Is the Trim Beside Stairs Called?

The trim running along the wall on the closed side of the staircase is known as skirtboard. It adds to the décor and protects the wall surface.


Why Should I Consider Adding a Patio to My Home?

A patio offers a private, relaxing space to enjoy with family and friends. It's perfect for hosting pool parties, barbecues, or simply enjoying a quiet breakfast outdoors, enhancing your enjoyment of your home's outdoor space.

What's the Main Function of a Patio?

Patios typically serve as versatile outdoor living spaces adjacent to a home, ideal for dining, entertaining, or relaxation. They can be covered or open and usually link the house to the garden.

Benefits of Having a Patio?

Patios provide an ideal outdoor area for entertaining guests, enjoying the weather, and spending quality time with loved ones, making them valuable even in smaller sizes.

Comparing Patios and Decks: Which Is Better?

While composite decking is low-maintenance but more costly upfront, patios, particularly stone or gravel ones, offer durability with minimal upkeep, often lasting for decades with just basic cleaning.

Is Investing in a Patio Worthwhile?

Absolutely! Patios are a fantastic investment for outdoor entertainment. They offer customization with lighting and furniture, fitting any style preference. Building a patio can also yield an impressive ROI, often exceeding 100%.

How Long Does a Typical Patio Last?

A well-installed patio can last around ten years before needing significant repairs. If your patio shows major damage within this timeframe, it's advisable to seek a professional assessment.

What Is the Most Durable Material for Patios?

Pavers are the top choice for patio durability. Available in concrete, clay brick, and natural stone, they offer strength, ease of repair, and a variety of material options.

Retaining Walls

Why Is a Retaining Wall Necessary?

Retaining walls transform sloped areas into functional spaces by flattening slopes, preventing soil and water runoff, and facilitating easier pedestrian access on inclines.

Primary Purpose of Building a Retaining Wall?

The main goal of a retaining wall in geotechnical engineering is to reinforce soil, enhance its load-bearing capacity, stabilize slopes, and construct terraces, particularly on sloping sites.

What Are the Advantages and Challenges of Retaining Walls?

Retaining walls offer benefits like erosion control, creating more usable space, and improving aesthetics. However, they may involve costs, maintenance needs, and engineering complexities.

Consequences of Not Having a Retaining Wall on Sloped Properties?

Without a retaining wall, sloped properties risk water runoff leading to pooling, potentially causing significant damage, especially if water accumulates near structures.

What Role Does a Shear Key Play in Retaining Walls?

A shear key, used in the footing of retaining walls, helps reduce sliding. Its impact on the seismic behavior of the wall, however, is still under-researched.

How Long Do Retaining Walls Typically Last?

The lifespan varies: stone walls last between 40-100+ years, wooden walls around 40 years, stone and concrete walls 50-100 years, and brick walls at least 100 years.

Are Retaining Walls a Good Investment?

Yes, building a retaining wall can be a valuable investment. They offer erosion and landslide prevention, stabilize slopes, provide flood control, add usable yard space, and can enhance your property’s value.

Fireplace and Chimney

How Can I Tell if My Chimney Is Aging?

A well-maintained chimney can last 50 to 100 years. However, many chimneys lack proper care, making regular inspections essential, especially before moving into a new home and then annually.

What Type of Cap Should Masonry Chimneys Have?

Masonry chimneys should have a concrete, metal, or stone cap, designed to shed water, equipped with a drip edge, and a caulked bond break around flue liners as per ASTM C 1283 standards.

Is a Masonry Chimney Necessary for a Wood Burning Fireplace?

Wood burning fireplaces, different from open masonry fireplaces, do not require a chimney. They are framed into walls with non-combustible material and use venting systems similar to wood stoves and fireplace inserts.

Frequency of Sealing for Brick Chimneys?

Properly applied chimney sealant should last about 15 to 20 years. However, some experts advise against waterproofing, depending on various factors.

Should Masonry Chimneys Be Lined?

Yes, chimneys should be lined. The National Fire Code specifies that liners can be made of brick, clay, or steel. Most homes built in the last 50 years have clay liners, while older ones may use clay or brick.

How to Differentiate Between Masonry and Prefabricated Fireplaces?

Masonry fireplaces are made of brick or stone, whereas prefabricated ones are built from metal sheets, often with refractory panels imitating brick designs.

Can water seep through brick chimney?

Water can infiltrate your chimney system through its flashing, cracks in the mortar or siding, straight from the top, or from the chimney crown. If you notice water in your fireplace after a storm, call a professional repair team. Chimney leaks can worsen over time without proper

Exterior Masonry Walls

What's the Ideal Material for Exterior Walls?

The best material varies by need: for property value, brick or wood are top choices. Vinyl siding offers a budget-friendly, low-maintenance option. For energy efficiency, brick is excellent, though thicker wood or Energy Star-rated vinyl are also effective.

What Do We Call the Exterior Wall of a House?

The exterior walls of a house are commonly referred to as siding.

Key Roles of Exterior Walls in a Home?

Exterior walls are crucial as they shape the house, support floors, walls, and the roof, and protect the interior from the elements. They need to insulate, repel moisture, and prevent air infiltration, besides shedding water.

How Do Brick and Masonry Walls Differ?

Masonry walls are structural, while brick veneer walls serve as a non-structural outer layer attached to the structural backup walls. Solid masonry walls are costlier than brick veneer cavity walls.

Can Brick Masonry Walls Bear Loads?

Yes, brick masonry walls, constructed with bricks, stones, or concrete blocks, are load-bearing. They transfer roof loads directly to the foundation and can be used both externally and internally. Load-bearing masonry is often more economical than framed structures.

Is a Double Layer Necessary for Brick Walls?

Cavity walls, a common brick wall type, have two layers: the outer layer and a load-bearing inner layer, which could be brick, concrete blocks, or poured concrete. A 2-4 inch gap between these layers forms the cavity.

stone Masonry

What Are Key Guidelines in Stone Masonry?

In stone masonry, stones should not be taller than their length, except at corners. Ensure that block or running joints have at least one stone on one side of a vertical joint, and limit the number of stones against a riser to three. Risers should be evenly distributed throughout the wall for stability.

Qualities of a Skilled Stone Mason?

A proficient stone mason excels in creative problem-solving, whether for repairs or structural challenges. Mastery in using a variety of specialized tools is also crucial in this trade.

Typical Thickness of Stone Masonry Walls?

Stone masonry walls generally have a uniform thickness ranging from 400 mm to 700 mm, with wall density (wall area vs. total plan area) varying between 5% and 25%.

Is Stone or Brick More Suitable for Walls?

Stone is generally stronger and more durable than brick, making it a better choice for retaining walls, especially considering its lower water absorption compared to the more porous brick.

Cost Comparison: Stone vs. Brick?

Stones are often more expensive than bricks due to irregular shapes and the labor required for fitting. However, stones offer a unique aesthetic and may have lower maintenance needs over time.

Which Has a Longer Lifespan: Brick or Stone?

Bricks can last over a century with minimal maintenance, but stone has an even longer lifespan. Ancient stone monuments stand testament to stone's durability, lasting thousands of years with comparable weatherproofing to brick.

Experience, Excellence, Elite

Elite Masonry and Renovation: Where expert craftsmanship meets elegant design. With over 15 years of experience, our artisans specialize in masonry and home renovations, dedicated to bringing your vision to life and creating enduring, beautiful spaces.

Get your project done in just 4 simple steps!

Step 1

Initial Consultation: Reach out to us to discuss your vision. We’ll listen to your needs and preferences to understand your dream project.

Step 2

Customized Plan: Based on our consultation, we’ll create a tailored proposal. This includes design ideas, materials, timelines, and a clear budget.

Step 3

Project Execution: Once you approve the proposal, our skilled team begins construction, ensuring quality and precision at every step, with minimal disruption to your daily life.

Step 4
Final Touches

Site Restoration: After construction, we conduct thorough cleaning and site restoration, leaving your space in immaculate condition, ready for you to enjoy.

Reviews from Our Satisfied Customers

Trusted by Homeowners

Erika Lauterbach

I am very happy with the work Elite Masonry did at my home last summer! The owner was really clear regarding the whole process from start to finish and completed the project within the promised timeframe. I have received so many compliments on our new driveway. I highly recommend Elite Masonry to all for your home improvement projects!

Trusted by Homeowners


The owner was prompt. Went above and beyond. I have used them on 4 other properties. On every occasion the they have  proven themselves over and over again. I would highly recommend them.

Trusted by Homeowners

Bime Zhaku

Thank you so much for the Excellent work you  have done, I'm  very  happy  with the work and definitely will use them again
Thank you so much,  I  highly recommend them.


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