Update on Mason’s Work

Updates and Answers to Your Masonry Questions

What is Quoining?

The masons have been laying brick for weeks now and many of you have asked questions about the process.  Work started on the west wall, which is now complete, and then proceeded to the east wall.  The front door and porch will be the last section of sanctuary to be completed.  The music wing expansion will follow.

Some of you have commented on the color match with the existing building.  Others have commented on the mortar which does not always appear uniform in color.   Both issues will be addressed at the end of the process when the masons perform a cleaning operation with chemicals that will bring a uniform, finished appearance to all the brick surfaces.  Rather than do this a section at a time, the cleaning, or etching, will happen at the end of the process.  Also at the end of the process, a color matched caulk will be applied to all the brick control joints which will also make the appearance more uniform.  

Some of you have asked about sections of gray block or foundation that seem to show in the middle of the red brick, either at the base of a wall or at the very top of a wall.   At the base of the wall the bricks rest on the steel reinforced, poured concrete foundations.  Any foundation or waterproofing material that appears to show now will actually end up below grade.  Likewise, any gray block that shows at the top of the wall will be covered by the white facia board that makes up the trim package just below the roof line.  The only gray colored stone that will show at the end of the process are the large stone window sills and the tripartite (3) keystones that ring the top of each sanctuary window.

Others have queried about the brick detail either around the windows or at the corners of the sanctuary.  All the red brick patterns follow the design detailed by the architects (see examples of windows and front door, here.)  Each of the six large sanctuary windows is entirely outlined in brick.  At the bottom of the window are several rows of bricks laid out in a ‘soldiers course’ (bricks laid standing on end, with the narrow edge facing out).  Likewise, the narthex and balcony windows, which align one on top of the other, have a similar ‘framing’ that outlines and connects the windows.  Finally, the block detail on the corners of the sanctuary is known as quoining (sounds like coining).  A quoin (sounds like coin) is the masonry architectural detail that forms “blocks” along the external corner of the building.  In our case there are ten large quoins, comprised of eight courses each, that rise up the corners of the sanctuary.  Depending on the light and time of day, these quoins are more or less visible.

The brick work on the west wall is now complete.  The mobile hydraulic scaffold has been moved to the east wall.

The yellow spray insulation lies between the steel reinforced block wall and the finish red brick.

The red brick that wraps all around the sanctuary is seen here on the front (south) elevation.

This is the so-called “choir door” which is a side entrance to the narthex (front lobby).

The sun casts a shadow on the wall from both the quoins and the hydraulic lift.

The mortar, which is now uneven in color, will be cleaned at the end of the masonry work.

The tripartite keystones and stone window sill are visible around the windows.

Each pair of front windows, top and bottom, are connected by a brick “frame”.

The ten quoins are visible on both outside edges of the narthex (front lobby).