Contra Costa – Masonry

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(925) 385-8993
(510) 771-7994
(415) 997-8954

Serving Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin and San Francisco Counties

Services include concrete, rock, brick & stone, foundations & structural concrete, patios, pools, decks, driveways, residential, commercial & municipal. Brands include Hycrete and Loctite...
License 877222 | DCID9257554940

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Researched Articles
Why Trust Diamond Certified Masonry Contractors Rated Highest in Quality?
A mason applies decorative brick to a new home exterior.

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a masonry company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified masonry contractor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated mason and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you'll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you'll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

How to Choose
Looking for Good Masonry Companies in Contra Costa County

You've decided you need a mason for upkeep on your Contra Costa County home, whether you live in Walnut Creek, Concord, Richmond, Pittsburg, or Antioch. Your first thoughts may not actually be of a "mason," just that the retaining wall is sagging, or that you'd like to replace the driveway with something more attractive, or that you're thinking of building some outdoor living space. When you need work done with brick, stone, or concrete, and similar materials, you're looking for a mason. ...

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You've decided you need a mason for upkeep on your Contra Costa County home, whether you live in Walnut Creek, Concord, Richmond, Pittsburg, or Antioch. Your first thoughts may not actually be of a "mason," just that the retaining wall is sagging, or that you'd like to replace the driveway with something more attractive, or that you're thinking of building some outdoor living space. When you need work done with brick, stone, or concrete, and similar materials, you're looking for a mason. 

Masonry is actually the very ancient art and science of working with these materials to construct buildings and outdoor spaces. Masonry use stretches as far back as Rome, when extraordinary structures of brick and stone were built, and it encompasses the dramatic pyramids of Egypt. Masonry has a proud tradition, but you just need to get some stuff done around the house. Use the information below to help you find the best masonry firm to help you get your job done.

Find a Licensed Contra Costa County Masonry Company
When you look in Contra Costa County for your masonry company, whether you are looking in Walnut Creek, Concord, Richmond, Antioch, Pittsburg, Brentwood, Martinez, or Pleasant Hill, be sure you look for a licensed mason. California requires all contractors who do more than $500 of work to be licensed. The state has a specific license for masons, the C29. The C29 is granted to those who work with concrete, natural and manufactured stone, glass and clay block, terra cotta, firebrick, or similar materials.

According to regulations, a mason can make and install masonry units (i.e. bricks) that are load-bearing or non-load bearing walls for buildings or fences. Note that based on building technique, mortar may or may not be used. A mason can also apply veneers, or facing, and may install paving. The mason can also clean, waterproof and apply caulking as part of the masonry job.

You do not always need a contractor with a masonry license. The state has also said that anyone with a landscaping license, a holder of the C27 license for landscaping, can also perform masonry work if that work is part of a landscape system or facility.

So you, as the consumer, are ultimately looking for a licensed contractor. Depending on the work you are having done, look for a licensed masonry contractor to install or repair your existing masonry structures. But if you are working on a landscaping project that might include some masonry work and you believe your contractor is capable of handling it, your landscaping contractor can also do the work, as long as he or she has the landscaping license. In short, look for a license.

Is Masonry Construction Safe In Contra Costa County?
Before we discuss the ways a masonry company may help in and around residential buildings, let's take a minute to talk about masonry construction. This is California after all you're living in Walnut Creek, Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond, Antioch, Brentwood, or Danville. Some pretty famous faults are in your backyard. You may have some concerns from long-standing myths, including can you really use masonry components to build buildings in California? And what about earthquakes?

It's true that from very early in the twentieth century, unreinforced masonry buildings (URMs), for example, buildings built of brick only, were determined to be unsafe in earthquakes. These URMs were no longer built, and the state required that any existing ones be retrofitted. The problem was that earthquakes could cause the masonry units in the structures to pull against each other. As Californians know, buildings fare better in earthquakes if they move as a whole.

Unreinforced masonry buildings are definitely out of code. However, modern construction techniques typically use steel to reinforce the masonry material, and structures built using modern techniques with reinforced masonry are safe, even in earthquakes. Homes and commercial buildings throughout California are built using masonry for structural components.

There are some clear benefits to masonry construction. Masonry materials like brick, concrete, and stone are very long lasting and need little maintenance. They can help reduce energy costs by maintaining the heat or coolness in the building. Masonry units and all that means is the brick or other masonry component are usually made by local firms. This not only supports the local economy, it reduces transportation costs.

Often, material from masonry structures can be recycled for reuse, including as aggregate. Aggregate is the material included with cement in concrete. Because masonry structures are long-lasting, they reduce the amount of rebuilding and thus the impact on the environment.

Masonry material like concrete can be colored, so that no paints or other substances with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) need to be applied. Some masonry components, like concrete, are mold-resistant. There are many reasons why you might want to look into using masonry for buildings, now that you know it's safe.

Taking a Close Look at What Contra Costa County Masonry Firms Provide
Masonry firms provide a wide array of services. These can range from the relatively small to multi-story buildings. We'll focus mostly on what you, as a consumer in Contra Costa County, whether in Concord, Richmond, Pittsburg, Antioch, or Walnut Creek, might want from a masonry firm.

Masonry mailboxes are enjoying some popularity currently. These masonry mailboxes are not just a tin box stuck on a post. Instead, a design of bricks or stone or something similar is developed. Often, the masonry elements are chosen to match surrounding material. For example, a stone pillar with a mailbox on the top might be built into the end corner of a retaining wall. The masonry mailbox is becoming popular because it can provide a dignified and elegant look for this every-day object.

If you are thinking of an in-ground pool, you may find yourself working with a masonry firm. Masons may specialize in pools, and some pool firms may have masons on staff. The in-ground pool is typically created by first digging a hole in the ground. The base of the pool is often sand or vermiculite or a combination of the two. The pool walls and floors are often created by pouring concrete or by erecting steel walls with concrete footings to keep them stable.

There is a bit of a debate over which is the better option for pool construction. Concrete walls tend to cost a bit more than steel walls, but many favor them for their ability to withstand destruction over time, as steel may rust. On the other hand, owners have had steel-walled pools that last a long time as long as the vinyl liners are kept up.

Whether you are building pools, ponds, patios, outdoor fireplaces, or outdoor kitchens, and the like, a masonry firm can offer a variety of services. Some customers have firm ideas and strong opinions. With a design in mind, they want a masonry firm that will understand their design and execute it.

Other customers want to see designs from the masonry firm. Whichever approach you take, a good mason should be able to understand what you want. Many masons undergo apprenticeships and have long experience in the field. They can make useful recommendations about design and materials.

Working on Your Home With a Contra Costa County Masonry Firm
Depending on what you want, a masonry firm can provide help for your house and indoors, as well, whether you are living in Walnut Creek, Concord, Richmond, Pittsburg, or Antioch. Fences made of brick or stone are popular in some areas. You might call in a mason to replace stone steps, or to reface the house fa ade. Masons are frequently requested to repair or reconstruct chimneys. If you are looking for repairs, ask your mason about experience in matching colors. People often want a repair that is seamless with the existing structure. Masons can achieve this to some degree by sourcing matching material and by coloring any grout used so that it comes very close to matching the existing colors.

When you consult a masonry firm about constructing an entire building, you are making a sound decision. Masonry construction often costs less than walls built from glass curtains, metal panel curtains, and architectural precast concrete. By using masonry construction, you can reduce construction times because you are reducing the number of trades involved in the project. As mentioned earlier, construction materials are typically produced locally, so you do not have to wait for them to arrive. If you use cavity construction, you will have a built-in fire barrier and energy-efficient walls. Maintenance over the long term is minimal.

The cavity wall is a masonry construction method that has been around for centuries. A cavity wall is one that has two sides connected together with a cavity, or space, in the middle of them. The two sides built of masonry material are sometimes called wythes. The sides are connected with masonry ties. The cavity may include insulation or not. In modern buildings, the masonry is reinforced by steel. The steel is grouted to the masonry to form a unit that combines masonry's ability to resist compression with steel's ability to resist tension, making the building able to withstand both lateral and vertical forces.

Of course, it's up to the architect and mason to draw up designs that adhere to building codes and are structurally sound. As a consumer, you may want to pay attention to information about the flashing.

Flashing is a water barrier that is installed to prevent moisture from seeping into the masonry components. The flashing should allow the water a path to drip down and weep away from the building. It's especially important that it be well constructed around windows and doors. Masonry has strong structural potential, in addition to the beauty it provides.

Of course, on a commercial level, masons also perform work building and repairing buildings and especially for churches made of masonry materials.

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Know What You Want
When You Look for a Mason in Contra Costa County, Ask Yourself

When you are thinking of hiring a mason in Contra Costa County, whether you are in Walnut Creek, Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond, or Antioch, you want to know what you are looking for first. You might find it helpful to draw up a list of questions so that you know precisely what you want before you go out and ask masonry companies for estimates and the like....

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When you are thinking of hiring a mason in Contra Costa County, whether you are in Walnut Creek, Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond, or Antioch, you want to know what you are looking for first. You might find it helpful to draw up a list of questions so that you know precisely what you want before you go out and ask masonry companies for estimates and the like.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified masonry company in Contra Costa County that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • Am I looking for a good mason to repair an existing structure? Do I care about matching existing stones, bricks, or grout?
  • Am I replacing an existing piece of masonry or installing something new?
  • If I am installing new masonry outdoors, what do I know about the space? Does it drain well, does it have a big gradient, is it relatively easy to manipulate?
  • Do I want to design my new feature myself or do I want a mason who will design it for me?
  • What kind of masonry work do I want the masonry company to perform?
  • Is the masonry work part of a larger project and do I need a separate contractor for it?
  • Do I need chimney repairs or to close up an existing chimney?
  • Do I want to replace gravel with stone or interlocking concrete in my driveway?
  • Am I interested in adding a masonry mailbox?
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What to Ask on the Phone
Asking Contra Costa County Masonry Firms Questions on the Phone

When it comes to finding a masonry company in Contra Costa County, whether you are in Pittsburg, Richmond, Concord, Walnut Creek, or Antioch, you can begin on the phone.

You might have many questions about your project. You want to find someone who is compatible, who will be able to absorb your ideas and style and implement them in the design or construction of your new feature....

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When it comes to finding a masonry company in Contra Costa County, whether you are in Pittsburg, Richmond, Concord, Walnut Creek, or Antioch, you can begin on the phone.

You might have many questions about your project. You want to find someone who is compatible, who will be able to absorb your ideas and style and implement them in the design or construction of your new feature.

Because you might be distracted by some good conversations, it might be a good idea to draw up a list of questions. Then you will have a reminder to guide you through the phone interview and you can be sure you've asked questions consistently so that you can compare answers.

Sample questions might include:

  • Has your company earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  • Do you have pictures of work you have done previously, especially of the kind of work I want you to do?
  • What design services do you offer?
  • Do you do demolition work before building or should the demolition already be performed?
  • Do you help me get any permits I may need or do you expect any permits to already be obtained?
  • Have you performed this specific kind of work before? (pool, patio, outdoor kitchen)
  • Do you source your supplies locally?
  • How long have you been a mason? Did you have an apprenticeship?
  • Is your crew all employed by your firm, or do you subcontract any part of the job?
  • Will you come to my house to provide a free estimate?
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What to Ask in Person
Asking Your Contra Costa County Masonry Firm Some Questions in Person

You might decide to go to your mason in Contra Costa County, or the mason might come to your home in Richmond, Concord, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek, or Antioch to provide an estimate or examine the job. When you meet in person, you might want to dig a little deeper into your specific project. You might want to ask about materials or design, or other questions that will amplify what you expect for your site. Some questions might include the following: ...

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You might decide to go to your mason in Contra Costa County, or the mason might come to your home in Richmond, Concord, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek, or Antioch to provide an estimate or examine the job. When you meet in person, you might want to dig a little deeper into your specific project. You might want to ask about materials or design, or other questions that will amplify what you expect for your site. Some questions might include the following:

  • I am looking for a repair can you tell me if you can match the stones of the original and make the repair almost disappear?
  • Do you have any design suggestions for what I want to build?
  • Do you suggest any materials for the project?
  • How long do you think the project will take?
  • How many people do you think will be working on the project?
  • Do you have methods or techniques so that you can keep working in inclement weather?
  • Do you see any issues with the site anything that needs to be cleared, any problems with the soil, drainage, etc., that would prevent me from building what I want to?
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What to Ask References
Questions for Clients of Masonry Contractors in Contra Costa County

It's best to choose a Diamond Certified mason because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can't pass. If you want quality from a mason in Contra Costa County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you'll never be fooled by fake reviews. That's because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers....

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It's best to choose a Diamond Certified mason because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can't pass. If you want quality from a mason in Contra Costa County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you'll never be fooled by fake reviews. That's because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

If you can't find a Diamond Certified mason within reach, you'll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it's wise to call some references provided by your mason. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the mason are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That's because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.
If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company's 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

  • What materials did you use for your project? Did the mason supply them or did you source separately?
  • Were the people who did the job subcontractors or employees of the masonry firm?
  • Did the masonry firm offer good suggestions for materials and designs?
  • Was the masonry firm able to understand your design sense and execute what you had planned?
  • Were you satisfied with the work the masonry firm performed? Why or why not?
  • What did you have your mason do? Fix a chimney, install a retaining wall, install a pool, add an outdoor kitchen?
  • Did the masonry firm come punctually on workdays and work consistently?
  • Were there delays in the work or problems getting materials?
  • Was your property left clean and tidy after the project was complete?
  • Would you work with this masonry firm again?
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Review Your Options
Finding and Hiring a Good Mason in Contra Costa County

Before deciding on the best mason in Contra Costa County for you, consider the following questions....

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Before deciding on the best mason in Contra Costa County for you, consider the following questions.

  • Can the mason work with your design approach either willing to execute what you have planned or willing to offer design and suggestions?
  • Is the mason willing to show you designs and explain details so that you understand what is being done?
  • Is the mason properly educated and licensed?
  • Is the masonry firm clear in their expectations of you if you have to clear the site first, is that clearly explained to you?
  • Is the mason committed to providing a quality job that will last over time?
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How to Work With
Before you Hire a Masonry Firm in Contra Costa County

In advance of the decision to hire your Contra Costa County mason, take the usual precautionary steps. Get two or three bids or estimates on the job. Look for masonry firms that deliver estimates in a punctual manner and that are courteous. Look at the firm's experience, finding out how long the firm has been in business and what kind of masonry apprenticeship and training the employees have.
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In advance of the decision to hire your Contra Costa County mason, take the usual precautionary steps. Get two or three bids or estimates on the job. Look for masonry firms that deliver estimates in a punctual manner and that are courteous. Look at the firm's experience, finding out how long the firm has been in business and what kind of masonry apprenticeship and training the employees have.

Also, look for companies that match your expectations when it comes to the design process. You may want to control the design or you may be open to design suggestions. Either way, you want someone you can talk to so that they can take your aesthetic on board. Look up license information to be sure the mansonry company is currently licensed. You can also check whether there are any pending complaints against them.

Be sure you have a way to contact the masonry firm a physical address is always a good idea, in addition to phone and email contacts. A physical address is one small guarantee that the Contra Costa County masonry firm you're considering has a real presence in the community and can be contacted if all other ways fail.

Once You've Found Your Contra Costa County Mason
Now that you've found your Contra Costa County mason, it's important to communicate well with them. You want them to understand what you need. You are not only repairing or adding a feature to your house, you are doing it with a sense of style. Show the masonry firm the designs or plans you have for your project. Ask to see any plans and designs they develop, and be sure to ask questions when you need to. Ask about materials and when they are expected for delivery. Ask for an estimated completion date along with some milestones that you can check on to be sure the project is on track.

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Be a Good Customer
Making Your Contra Costa County Mason's Job Easier

You can make your job easier for your Contra Costa County mason by communicating, as mentioned. You should also make your expectations very clear, so that there is no confusion about what you want and when you expect it to be done.

Be clear about what decisions should be made by you material should not be substituted without your consultation, for example. Make yourself available to answer questions and respond promptly to any that come your way, so that the project can stay on track.

How Can You Be a Good Masonry Customer? ...

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You can make your job easier for your Contra Costa County mason by communicating, as mentioned. You should also make your expectations very clear, so that there is no confusion about what you want and when you expect it to be done.

Be clear about what decisions should be made by you material should not be substituted without your consultation, for example. Make yourself available to answer questions and respond promptly to any that come your way, so that the project can stay on track.

How Can You Be a Good Masonry Customer?
It's the mason's responsibility put in quality masonry using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your mason, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Contra Costa County mason.

  • Be clear and upfront with the mason. Let them know what you want from your Masonry, the long-term outcome you're expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
  • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
  • Before you hire a mason in Contra Costa County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the mason's representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local masons occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
  • Ask your mason if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
  • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they're completing the masonry. The work will move along more smoothly if your mason can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
  • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the mason on schedule.
  • Pay for the masonry work promptly.

Why would you want to be a good customer? Masons in Contra Costa County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check the Work
Check Your Contra Costa County Mason's Work Against the Invoice

Your estimate that you request at the beginning of the job often acts as a kind of invoice. You should check that it covers all appropriate charges these may include materials as well as time charges and possibly charges by worker.

Ask for estimates and invoices that detail each charge individually a lump sum charge is less useful to you, since it is not clear what it covers. Check that the materials you paid for have arrived, check that they have been used to build the project as specified....

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Your estimate that you request at the beginning of the job often acts as a kind of invoice. You should check that it covers all appropriate charges these may include materials as well as time charges and possibly charges by worker.

Ask for estimates and invoices that detail each charge individually a lump sum charge is less useful to you, since it is not clear what it covers. Check that the materials you paid for have arrived, check that they have been used to build the project as specified.

If you built a working feature, such as an outdoor fireplace or kitchen, test that it works properly before signing off on the job.

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Written Warranties
Ask Your Contra Costa Masonry Firm for Warranties

Ask your Contra Costa County mason for warranties on their services and materials used. Most local masonry firms guarantee satisfaction. There may also be warranties for workmanship. Be sure you get any warranties for your new masonry work in writing.

Ask how to make a claim against a warranty, if it comes to that.

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Ask your Contra Costa County mason for warranties on their services and materials used. Most local masonry firms guarantee satisfaction. There may also be warranties for workmanship. Be sure you get any warranties for your new masonry work in writing.

Ask how to make a claim against a warranty, if it comes to that.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Masonry Services in Contra Costa County

Masons provide a number of services on a number of fronts. These can range from building an entire structure, either residential or commercial, to structures that enhance the home. Patios, pools, retaining walls, driveways, outdoor fireplaces, ponds, are just some of the features that masons can add to your house. Below are some of the common requests.

New Commercial Building Masonry...

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Masons provide a number of services on a number of fronts. These can range from building an entire structure, either residential or commercial, to structures that enhance the home. Patios, pools, retaining walls, driveways, outdoor fireplaces, ponds, are just some of the features that masons can add to your house. Below are some of the common requests.

New Commercial Building Masonry
Masonry buildings tend to last over time, they can be very energy efficient and require little maintenance. Masonry can be effectively used for low-rise commercial buildings and for some high-rise commercial buildings. Look to your mason to demonstrate how materials and techniques meet the building codes for your location.

New Pavement Masonry
New pavements, especially interlocking concrete, are popular for use when pavement

is required in parking lots, on streets, or for other commercial uses. The interlocking concrete is designed to allow water to drain and avoid damaging the surface.

New House Masonry
Masonry can be used for both structural components in building a new house and also in creating a pleasing exterior, with stone and other veneers.

New Driveway Masonry
Consumers have begun using the driveway as a new way to incorporate design into the house. Whether you are repairing a driveway or laying down a new brick, stone, or concrete driveway, a mason can help.

Masonry for Pools
Masonry firms assist in the installation of pools and provide good-looking patios and paths around the pool.

Masonry Fireplaces
Many customers love the look and feel of a fireplace. Masons can repair fireplaces especially brick fireplaces and chimneys indoors. In California, where outdoor fireplaces are popular, masons can design and construct a beautiful outdoor fireplace for you.

Retaining Wall Masonry
If you live on one of the many hillsides of California, or if you simply want to build a terraced effect, you can call on a mason to help build a retaining wall.

Masonry Repairs
Masonry firms repair existing structures, replacing bricks, applying mortar, and cleaning bricks, among other tasks. The best masonry firms pride themselves on matching the color of existing materials, matching bricks where possible and using dyes and tints to match mortar colors.

Masonry Ponds
When you want to install a pond, turn to mason to build a basin and surrounding structure that will stand the test of time.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

Diamond Certified masons are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the masonry company is Diamond Certified and you can't resolve the issue by talking with the masonry company owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Easy Methods To End Conflict with Contra Costa County Masons...

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Diamond Certified masons are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the masonry company is Diamond Certified and you can't resolve the issue by talking with the masonry company owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Easy Methods To End Conflict with Contra Costa County Masons
As noted, the best approach is to resolve the conflict with the masonry company yourself, if you can. If you cannot, you have a few resources.


The Better Business Bureau accepts complaints about masonry companies, and notifying them can help others from encountering poor service or results. You might also want to file a complaint with the California Contractors State License Board. Their website outlines how to complain and what the investigation process is like. You can file a complaint against either licensed or unlicensed masonry contractors in Contra Costa County. In general, the penalties for licensed contractors consist of license restrictions such as suspension or revocation, instructions to re-do the work, or instructing that another firm be paid to do the work. Citations and fines may be issued, or mediation may be recommended. For unlicensed contractors, it's possible the case may be taken to court.

The Contractors State License Board is not the forum if you are mainly interested in getting your money back or being compensated for a bad job. The Board does not guarantee restitution or even consider restitution one of its primary goals. For restitution, you are advised to go to small claims court.

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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms Used By Local Masonry Contractors

Your level of interaction with your masonry firm will vary.

You may find yourself deeply involved in working with your mason and needing to know details. Or you may find yourself choosing patterns and colors for use in your house and surroundings.

Either way, you’ll feel more comfortable if you have an understanding of a few of the terms your mason may use. Below, you’ll find some terms that may help you have a better conversation with your mason....

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Your level of interaction with your masonry firm will vary.

You may find yourself deeply involved in working with your mason and needing to know details. Or you may find yourself choosing patterns and colors for use in your house and surroundings.

Either way, you’ll feel more comfortable if you have an understanding of a few of the terms your mason may use. Below, you’ll find some terms that may help you have a better conversation with your mason.

AIA
Architect’s association for improving recognition of the value of architects and improving buildings and other structures.

Also known as: American Institute of Architects

aggregate
Aggregate refers to the particles that are combined with some sort of cementing substance to form grout, mortar, or concrete masonry.

anchors
Anchors are usually made of steel or brass and they are used to tie a brick, block, or stone wall to another structure. Without tying, the structure is likely to collapse in the middle.

Also known as: wall ties

anchor bolt
Anchor bolts are used to attached a beam or similar structural support to the top of the wall. The threaded bolt is located in the masonry unit opening.

apprentice
Someone training in the building trades.

arch
Masonry that bridges an opening and supports the weight of the masonry above it along with its own weight.

backer rod
Used as part of a constant joint design, it is a flexible foam rod that forms two-sided adhesion as required for any sealant joint.

basket weave bond
A pattern achieved by laying bricks at right angles to each other.

bat
A half-size or smaller brick.

Also known as: batt

bevel
Occurs when a material or surface has a bend that is not a right angle.

bond stone
A bond stone unites two walls by projecting from the facing wall into a backup wall.

boot rod
A tool that is employed to finish joints.

Also known as: sled runner

brick
A rectangular piece of clay that has been molded into shape and hardened by drying in the sun or firing in a kiln.

brick set
A mechanism used to cut bricks.

Also known as: brick bolster

buttering
Using a trowel to put mortar on a masonry unit, such as a brick.

Also known as: spreading mortar

caulk
A substance used to seal masonry units and other material, such as cracks around window or doors.

Also known as: caulking

cavity wall
A wall built that consists of two sides of masonry material with a space between them. The masonry elements are tied together. 

cell clip
Refers to a piece of brick that has been cut off.

column
A vertical structure used to provide support.

compressive strength
Refers to the vertical forces that a piece of masonry structure undergoes.

concrete
A material used in construction that is hard and strong. It is composed of a cement or mortar matrix and sand, pebbles, slag, broken stone, or gravel.

control joint
A control joint is a kind of expansion joint that is installed to allow shrinking and prevent cracking. The control joint is a vertical joint. Other expansion joints are horizontal.

corrugated wall ties
Strips of galvanized metal an inch wide used to keep walls up.

crown
In an arch that curves, the crown is the highest point.

dead load
Refers to the vertical force that an empty building applies on a wall.

efflorescence
When salts are leached from masonry components, they appear on the surface as a white powder called efflorescence.

flashing
Material placed in air spaces or in mortar joints as part of masonry construction. The flashing prevents water from infiltrating. Proper designs allow the water to seep away from the structure.

glazed concrete brick
Mineral, ceramic, or porcelain coatings can be placed on the surface of masonry units to form pleasing colors and patterns.

marble
A type of limestone. The metamorphic rock is made up of dolomite and calcite for the most part. It occurs worldwide.

parging
Refers to adding a coat of mortar to some piece of masonry construction, especially walls. Parging may also refer to the layer of applied mortar.

wythe
Refers to a side of a wall in a cavity wall construction. The cavity wall consists of two rows or sides of masonry construction bound together with masonry ties with a gap between the rows or sides. The rows or sides are called wythes.

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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Masonry Terms

Your level of interaction with your masonry firm will vary. You may find yourself deeply involved in working with your mason and needing to know details. Or you may find yourself choosing patterns and colors for use in your house and surroundings. Either way, you’ll feel more comfortable if you have an understanding of a few of the terms your mason may use. Below, you’ll find some terms that may help you have a better conversation with your mason....

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Your level of interaction with your masonry firm will vary. You may find yourself deeply involved in working with your mason and needing to know details. Or you may find yourself choosing patterns and colors for use in your house and surroundings. Either way, you’ll feel more comfortable if you have an understanding of a few of the terms your mason may use. Below, you’ll find some terms that may help you have a better conversation with your mason.

AIA
Architect’s association for improving recognition of the value of architects and improving buildings and other structures.

Also known as: American Institute of Architects

aggregate
Aggregate refers to the particles that are combined with some sort of cementing substance to form grout, mortar, or concrete masonry.

anchors
Anchors are usually made of steel or brass and they are used to tie a brick, block, or stone wall to another structure. Without tying, the structure is likely to collapse in the middle.

Also known as: wall ties

anchor bolt
Anchor bolts are used to attached a beam or similar structural support to the top of the wall. The threaded bolt is located in the masonry unit opening.

apprentice
Someone training in the building trades.

arch
Masonry that bridges an opening and supports the weight of the masonry above it along with its own weight.

backer rod
Used as part of a constant joint design, it is a flexible foam rod that forms two-sided adhesion as required for any sealant joint.

basket weave bond
A pattern achieved by laying bricks at right angles to each other.

bat
A half-size or smaller brick.

Also known as: batt

bevel
Occurs when a material or surface has a bend that is not a right angle.

bond stone
A bond stone unites two walls by projecting from the facing wall into a backup wall.

boot rod
A tool that is employed to finish joints.

Also known as: sled runner

brick
A rectangular piece of clay that has been molded into shape and hardened by drying in the sun or firing in a kiln.

brick set
A mechanism used to cut bricks.

Also known as: brick bolster

buttering
Using a trowel to put mortar on a masonry unit, such as a brick.

Also known as: spreading mortar

caulk
A substance used to seal masonry units and other material, such as cracks around window or doors.

Also known as: caulking

cavity wall
A wall built that consists of two sides of masonry material with a space between them. The masonry elements are tied together. 

cell clip
Refers to a piece of brick that has been cut off.

column
A vertical structure used to provide support.

compressive strength
Refers to the vertical forces that a piece of masonry structure undergoes.

concrete
A material used in construction that is hard and strong. It is composed of a cement or mortar matrix and sand, pebbles, slag, broken stone, or gravel.

control joint
A control joint is a kind of expansion joint that is installed to allow shrinking and prevent cracking. The control joint is a vertical joint. Other expansion joints are horizontal.

corrugated wall ties
Strips of galvanized metal an inch wide used to keep walls up.

crown
In an arch that curves, the crown is the highest point.

dead load
Refers to the vertical force that an empty building applies on a wall.

efflorescence
When salts are leached from masonry components, they appear on the surface as a white powder called efflorescence.

flashing
Material placed in air spaces or in mortar joints as part of masonry construction. The flashing prevents water from infiltrating. Proper designs allow the water to seep away from the structure.

glazed concrete brick
Mineral, ceramic, or porcelain coatings can be placed on the surface of masonry units to form pleasing colors and patterns.

marble
A type of limestone. The metamorphic rock is made up of dolomite and calcite for the most part. It occurs worldwide.

parging
Refers to adding a coat of mortar to some piece of masonry construction, especially walls. Parging may also refer to the layer of applied mortar.

wythe
Refers to a side of a wall in a cavity wall construction. The cavity wall consists of two rows or sides of masonry construction bound together with masonry ties with a gap between the rows or sides. The rows or sides are called wythes.

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Masonry Contractors

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Mason?...

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Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Mason?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a mason with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only masons rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified mason.

Q: Do I always need a mason to do masonry work?
A: There are occasions when the masonry work is part of a larger project. For example, you may hire a landscaping firm to landscape your property. Part of the landscaping includes building a retaining wall using bricks. This wall would normally be built by someone holding a mason’s license. However, since the wall is part of the landscaping project, a person holding a landscaping license is allowed to build the wall.

Q: Why should I choose masonry construction?
A: Structures and buildings made from masonry construction units are safe and long-lasting. They require little maintenance over the long term. When built with a cavity wall, the construction itself offers a fire barrier. Water is also kept out because the protection of a properly built cavity wall diverts water from the inside of the building. Cavity walls offer better energy efficiency than other types of walls.

Q: Is masonry construction safe in California?

A: Modern masonry construction is safe, even in earthquakes. It’s true that unreinforced masonry buildings fare poorly in earthquakes. However, they have been against code since early in the twentieth century. It’s true that it took many, many years for existing buildings to be reinforced to code. However, modern techniques usually employ steel to reinforce masonry construction, and these buildings are safe against earthquakes. Your masonry firm should be able to help you understand how their plans and designs meet code requirements.

Q: Can masonry be repaired?
A: Masonry repairs are very, very common. Chimney repairs are very common, especially in places where brick chimneys still exist. A skilled mason can often match brick color and dye grout so that the repair is less apparent. A typical technique is to make the grout just a shade darker than the existing grout, since the grout will lighten as it dries.

Q: Can masonry be cleaned?
A: It is possible to clean masonry. Some firms specialize in removing old advertising, for example, from the side or front of masonry construction. You do have to be careful, though, since cleaning the masonry often entails spraying with high-powered hoses and chemicals. You should check that the chemicals being used are designed to be used for such cleaning. You should take reasonable precautions so that you, family members, and pets are not around when the chemicals are.

Q: What is interlocking concrete?
A: Interlocking concrete, also called interlocking pavers, refer to blocks that are used to create driveways, pathways, and the like. The blocks are designed so that they allow water to pass through, so that water does not build up on the surface but instead drains into the ground. Interlocking concrete can also be used for commercial and industrial applications – for example, parking lots and roads. Interlocking concrete is fairly simple to install. You need to create a flat base, which might include a weed barrier topped by sand. After making sure the base is compacted, you lay the pavers on top. You also need to install an edging so that the pavers do not move too far out of place. The pavers may have a small amount of movement – for example, if a car drives over them they may flex, but the edging should keep them in place.

The concrete pavers are unlikely to crack, but they can be replaced in part instead of all at once, if something does happen to a section of them. You can choose to seal concrete pavers, but it is not necessary. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Concrete pavers have a long lifespan, require very little maintenance, and they are better suited to applications where the underlying grade is not flat.

Q: Do masons always need to use mortar?
A: Probably the stereotypical image of the mason is the mortar being slapped on the brick, then the brick being slapped in the wall. In fact, applying mortar correctly so that the building is sound is an important part of the mason’s technique and training.

However, the mason will not always use mortar. In fact, a skillful mason can build one type of retaining wall that uses no mortar at all. In fact, the wall’s strength comes from its mass and the interlocking nature of the masonry construction units employed to build it.

Q: Do I need a permit to have masonry work done?
A: Whether or not you need a permit depends on the type of work you are having done and where you live. You can check with your local planning office. Your mason may be able to help with answering this question based on previous projects completed in your area. Some firms can help with the permitting process, while others expect you to obtain the permit before you call them.

Q: Is masonry work the same as tile work?
A: In fact, the state of California issues two different licenses for masonry and tiling. The masonry license (C29) specifically excludes tiling, while the tile license (C54) is for preparing surfaces and installing ceramic and/or mosaic tile on those surfaces.

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Consumer Agencies
Professional Masonry Associations and Consumer Help Agencies

Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada (CMACN) (cmacn.org/)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) (www.icpi.org/)
International Masonry Institute (IMI) (www.imiweb.org/)
Masonry Advisory Council (MAC) (www.maconline.org/)...

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Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada (CMACN) (cmacn.org/)
Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) (www.icpi.org/)
International Masonry Institute (IMI) (www.imiweb.org/)
Masonry Advisory Council (MAC) (www.maconline.org/)

Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) (www.masoncontractors.org/)
National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) (www.ncma.org/)
State Contractors License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov
The Brick Industry Association (www.gobrick.com/default.aspx)
The Masonry Society (www.masonrysociety.org/)

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Industry Information
Contra Costa County Masonry Information
Popular Masonry BrandsTypes of Masonry Supplies & Services Available in Contra Costa County Cities Served Zip Codes Served
ARDEX Concreteconcrete masonry unit (CMU) layingAlamo
Antioch
Bay Point
Bethel Island
Blackhawk
Brentwood
Briones
Byron
Canyon
Clayton
Clyde
Concord
Cowell
Crockett
Danville
Diablo
Discovery Bay
El Cerrito
El Sobrante
Hercules
Hilltop Mall
Kensington
Knightsen
Lafayette
Los Medanos
Maltby
Martinez
Moraga
North Richmond
Oakley
Orinda
Pacheco
Pinole
Pittsburg
Pleasant Hill
Point Richmond
Port Chicago
Port Costa
Rheem Valley
Richmond
Rodeo
San Pablo
San Ramon
Tara Hills
Vine Hill
Walnut Creek
Walnut Heights
West Pittsburg
94506
94507
94509
94511
94513
94514
94516
94517
94518
94519
94520
94521
94522
94523
94524
94525
94526
94527
94528
94530
94531
94547
94548
94549
94553
94556
94561
94563
94564
94565
94569
94570
94572
94575
94582
94583
94595
94596
94597
94598
94801
94802
94803
94804
94805
94806
94807
94808
94820
94850
Dewalt Wet Sawsstonework services
Makita Masonry Sawsconcrete finishing
Crown Mortar Mixershome masonry services
TEC Masonry Productscommercial masonry work
Mer-Krete Mortarconcrete masonry
ORCO Masonry Groutmasonry cleaning
Quik Flex Fast Setting Mortarmasonry supplies & tools
Laticrete Mortarmasonry restoration
Quikrete Masonry Productsmasonry stonework
Bosch Concrete & Masonry Surface Grindersbrick laying
1Flex Isolight Crack Isolation Mortarmasonry & stucco application
AccuColor Epoxy Mortar & Groutmasonry repairs
Sakrete Mortar Mixbrick & masonry work
Arriscraft Brick & Stonechimney masonry work & repair