Masonry wall systems are construction systems that use masonry materials such as bricks, stone, or concrete blocks to build walls. Usually, these materials are stacked on top of each other and held together with mortar. Masonry is the oldest technique used to build buildings or structures. Structural masonry walls are usually built with concrete masonry.
Concrete masonry can be reinforced both vertically and horizontally to achieve the required bending strength. The vertical reinforcement that is installed inside the cells of the concrete masonry is usually solid with grout. Horizontal reinforcement is usually installed with prefabricated welded wires that are embedded in the joints of the bed. Although this horizontal reinforcement improves the strength of the masonry, particularly in horizontal openings, it also serves to control cracking due to contraction.
Since water is expected to penetrate through the outer frame of the masonry, it is normally not recommended to use a single masonry frame as an outer wall system. If structural masonry walls are to serve as exterior walls, a second masonry wall is usually recommended. If single-layer exterior walls are to be installed, a barrier must be placed on the outer surface, such as a breathable masonry coating applied with fluid or a top coating (EIFS, metal panels, stucco and the like) to prevent water from penetrating the masonry. The varieties of masonry wall systems are classified based on the constituent elements used for masonry wall systems and their purposes.