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 →

This beautiful home in Piedmont, CA has survived in earthquake country for 100 years. While most of the stone facade was in great shape it suffered from severe cracking and deterioration on the porch columns.  The project involved carefully removing and preserving the original stones and then replacing the rotting redwood posts with metal beams. The stone column was carefully replaced while being retrofitted with modern reinforcement techniques tying the stones with wires and anchoring them to the column. Final finishes ensured a perfect match with the original stonework. A magnificent craftsman entrance to welcome guests for another hundred years.  Read More →

The highly coveted homes built in the early 20th century in Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley are full of picturesque brickwork that homeowners love. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. What appears to be classic, old-school craftsmanship is likely built with shockingly inferior old school standards. The brick steps to this Berkeley home were sagging and failing because they were built directly onto the ground soil, a very common practice. International Masonry Specialists disassembled and preserved the bricks and created a concrete footing and support columns using the rebar and concrete techniques of today’s building cade and our own exacting standards. The project extended the presentation ofRead More →

This wonderful old brick porch and entryway in Berkeley, CA had a serious water leakage problem. The wooden support structure underneath was rotted away with dry rot that had to be addressed immediately. International Masonry Specialists carefully removed the original brick and removed all of the damaged wood, effectively rebuilding most of the porch and steps. Reinforced concrete was then poured and sealed with state-of-the-art waterproofing material. The old bricks were cleaned and then replaced in their exact original positions and the porch, steps and pathway were better than ever. If your project calls for repairing 100-plus year old masonry no one can beat theRead More →