This project is almost a textbook demonstration of a bad chimney and the dangers it poses. The existing chimney had been “temporarily” patched years ago and the chimney had been leaking into the roof ever since. Heavy vent pipes in the attic were not supported properly and were a fire hazard. There was not proper space around the vent pipes and they were caked with residue that was a dangerous fire hazard. We replaced the vent pipes and reinforced the concert bond beam and installed anchor plates. The entire chimney was rebuilt so it was tall enough for building code and we properly weatherproofed it and sealedRead More →

“Clinker” bricks are bricks that were exposed to intense heat when fired which gives them a dark, varied appearance and irregular shape. They make a metallic sound when banged together, which is why we call them clinkers. They are an old style brick that you see in old houses and we always do our best to preserve them in in our jobs. The top third of this old chimney was coming loose and needed to be rebuilt. After careful cleaning the bricks for reuse we rebuilt the chimney with rebar supports, wire mesh and mortar. A beautiful classic Berkeley chimney ready to ride out another 100 years onRead More →

This Oakland, CA home featured an impressive front porch with flared base brick columns. This distinctive design was undermined by the old style construction which had built the columns to be hollow and were barely reinforced with rotting wooden supports. This led to stability and safety issues. The hollow columns did work in our favor, however as we did not have to dismantle these structures in order to save them!   We opened holes in the base of the columns to allow for replacement of the rotting wood with rebar reinforcements. Concrete was poured through an opening at the top and after some additional bracing to the roof theRead More →

Matching existing brickwork whenever possible is a point of pride at International Masonry Specialists. Expanding this stately wall to match perfectly required proper sourcing of materials and an expert mason’s eye. The resulting wall and storage space for waste and recycling  bins added beauty and utility to the property and looks like it’s been there for years.Read More →

This set of Oakland, CA stairs didn’t handle a speeding automobile trying to climb them. After the accident, International Masonry Specialists  was called in to replace them. Removing the damaged steps and sidewalls to the landing, we built a new reinforced concrete foundation which naturally was an upgrade from the original construction. New wooden framing replaced damaged and dry-rotted wood and waterproofing material created a barrier to protect the steps from the elements. Once the stucco was finished and painted the steps were as good as new. We don’t guarantee they’ll stand up to another Buick, but let’s hope we never find out!Read More →

This job called for replacing the crumbling brick retaining wall and concrete driveway with a dry stack retaining wall and paver driveway, creating a clean and aesthetically satisfying modern look. On the surface this is a simple job, but it must nevertheless be done correctly with proper drainage and underlying supports–Crucial professional features you will never see but they will prevent problems in the future. International Masonry Specialists prides ourselves on doing the job to the highest standards in the trade while delivering an aesthetically superior final product that adds value and pleasure to the home.Read More →

With a chimney broken at the roofline, this was a masonry chimney repair job from the shoulders up. The chimney was a high risk for falling off the roof during an earthquake. Further, the existing fireplace did not function and would smoke if a wood fire was being used. We removed the exterior existing chimney to the shoulders and installed a reinforced concrete bond beam, with vertical rebars, internal chimney blocks and reinforcement straps to secure the whole thing. Additionally a second defunct center chimney was removed and the hole repaired.Read More →

The existing masonry chimney on this Berkeley home serviced two fireplaces and was broken at the roofline. From a distance it looked just fine, but closer inspection revealed a dangerous horizontal crack at the roofline and an open void at the top of the existing chimney and cracked liners. Damaged chimney liners with cracks and gaps are a fire hazard. When we removed the unreinforced masonry chimney we found rusty small and loose metal brackets holding the chimney to the house! We replaced the second floor fireplace with a zero clearance gas fireplace  and installed a reinforced concrete bond beam at 2nd floor level, with straps tying the chimney to floor levelRead More →

Nothing makes a good first impression like the stairs leading to your home. This brick landing on the outside steps of a home in Berkeley, California was built to the standards of it’s day when bricks were laid unsupported on bare ground. The result over the years was a cracked and uneven surface that was both unsafe and unsightly. After removing and preserving the vintage bricks with we laid a solid foundation of metal rebar and concrete before replacing the cleaned bricks back in place. This stair landing is now safe and welcoming for new generations of visitors. Contact Jason Wady at International Masonry SpecialistsRead More →

International Masonry Specialists is proud to have our work recognized by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. We were honored with the 2016 Award for sensitive restoration. From the BAHA website: Awarded for Sensitive Restoration Proudly featuring a curlicued step gable and elaborate brickwork, the William R. Campbell House is unique in Berkeley and instantly memorable to passersby on Claremont Boulevard. Its architect, the Scottish-born Thomas Paterson Ross, is perhaps best remembered for his Islamic design of San Francisco’s Alcazar Theater, originally a Shriners’ temple. Damaged brickwork on south façade (photo courtesy of Jason Wady) After over a century of existence, the venerable building was showingRead More →