International Correspondence Schools.

A treatise on architecture and building construction, prepared for students of the International Correspondence Schools (Volume 2) online

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Volume II





First Edition



Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1899, by THE COLLIERY

ENGINEER COMPANY, 3n the office of the Librarian of

Congress, at Washington.








MASONRY. Section. Page.

Province of Masonry ....... 7 1

Excavation 7 2

Foundations 7 18

Foundation Walls 7 50

Retaining Walls 7 69

Shoring, Needling, and Underpinning . 7 75

Lime, Cements, Sand, and Mortar . . 7 81

Bricks and Brick Making 7 86

Thickness of Brick Walls ...... 7 96

Bricklaying 7 102

Bond in Brickwork 7 107

Veneered Walls . 7 121

Chimneys 7 124

Construction Details 7 * 128

Ornamental Brickwork 7 140

Brick Arches 7 145

Brick Piers > . 7 153

Brick Nogging 7 154

Cleaning and Protection of Brickwork .7 155

Strength of Brickwork 7 157

Measurement of Brickwork 7 158

Inspection of Work 7 160

Building Stone . 8 1

Stone Cutting and Finishing 8 12



MASONRY Continued. Section. Page.

Stone Masonry 8 22

Rubble Walls 8 24

Ashlar 8 27

Trimmings 8 36

Stone Steps 8 46

Stone Arches 8 48

Pointing Stonework 8 63

Cleaning and Protecting Stonework 8 64

Strength of Masonry 8 66

Measurement of Stonework 8 68

Inspection of Stonework 8 69

Concrete Construction 8 71

Terra Cotta 8 79

Fireproofing . . 8 87

Plastering . . 8 117

Lime Plastering ' . 8 127

Hard Wall Plasters 8 145

Plaster Ornaments and Scagliola ... 8 148

Stucco . 8 14!)

Whitewashing "... 8 151

Fireproof Lathing and Plastering ... 8 152

Inspection of Work 8 154

Measurement and Cost of Plastering . . 8 157

Floor Tiling 8 157


Province of Carpentry 9 1

Timber 9 2

Classes of Framed Structures .... 9 31

Joints 9 32

Framing 9 50

Sills, Posts, and Studs 9 50

Floors 9 51

Partitions 9 57

. Framing of Roofs 9- 65

Balloon-Frame Construction 9 100

Slow-Burning Construction 9 132


JOINERY. Section. Page.

Province of Joinery 10 1

Joints 10 2

General Joinery 10 13

Provision for Expansion and Contraction 10 13

Interior Trim .10 14

Door Making 10 23

Windows 10 31

Splayed Work 10 56

Bending Wood 10 73

Veneering 10 77

Blinds 10 83

Hinges and their Application .... 10 90

Interior Fittings . 10 93

Exterior Joinery 10 101


Masonry 7

Masonry (Continued) 8

Carpentry 9

Joinery 10



1. Masonry, the art of shaping, arranging, and uniting
stones or bricks to form the walls and other parts of struc-
tures, is one of the most important branches of the building

The province of the mason, while not as extensive as that
of the carpenter, is equally as important, especially in cities
where the buildings are generally built of brick or stone,
thus demanding the employment of masons.

2. Mason work may be divided into two classes : stone
masonry and brickwork, one or the other of which must at
some time enter into building construction.

3. Stone masonry may be considered under three divi-
sions : stone setting, stone cutting, and stone carving.

The stone setter builds the stone walls of foundations,
and lays the stone in the superstructure.

The stone cutter reduces the stone to the required form,
and brings it to the face called for in the specifications for
the building.

A knowledge of stereotomy, which is the geometry of
stonework, as seen in vault, arch, and other complicated
construction in stone is necessary to the stone cutter.

The stone carver shapes the capitals of columns and the
decorative and ornamental work.

4. Brickwork is really artificial stonework; but owing to
the difference in the details of its performance, it has become


a separate branch of masonry known as bricklaying, and the
men employed in laying the brick are called bricklayers.

The ornamental portions of many buildings cornices,
string and belt courses, panels, capitals, window caps, etc.
are now molded of terra cotta, but are set by the bricklayer.
Terra cotta has the same composition as brick, but is made
of a finer quality of clay and in varied colors. It can be
made in large sections, and therefore is more desirable, in
certain positions, than brick would be.

5. Plastering is generally considered as a part of the
mason's work, and is usually included in the specifications as
such. Plastering may either be exterior or interior. At
one time, the art of the plasterer was largely in demand for
stucco and cement work on the exterior of buildings, but
fortunately for truthful expression, this has largely become
a thing of the past.



6. Nearly all structures, from the four or five room cot-
tage to the massive and towering mercantile building, rest
on masonry foundations. If the foundations are insufficient
or defective, all the subsequent stonework or brickwork is
likely to settle and crack; the failure of the initial or pri-
mary part of the work thus jeopardizes whatever follows,
by reason of its inability to support the load placed upon it.

7. Before putting in foundations, the ground must be
.excavated, either for the cellar or for trenches to place the

masonry below frost line; but before the excavation is
begun, especially if the structure is an important one, the
nature of the soil which is to support the foundations should
be determined. For this purpose, a 2-inch auger is used
similar to an auger for wood boring and the boring tests
are made from 5 to 10 feet apart, over the entire area of the
foundation. The auger brings up samples of the materials,
and the character of the substrata is thus determined.


When the importance of the proposed structure requires
it, trial pits are sometimes dug from 10 to 20 feet apart,
especially where a shelving bed of rock or gravel exists at a
comparatively short distance below the surface.

8. The soil or strata usually met with in building opera-
tions, may be classed under three divisions : first, rock ; sec-
ond, virgin soil; third, made ground.


9. Rock, in its original geological formation, is called
bed rock, and as a rule, makes the best support for founda-
tions. It requires, however, good judgment to determine
its value, and careful handling to secure the best results, for
it very often happens within the area of a proposed build-
ing especially if it is to be a large one that the rock will
present uneven surfaces, so that some parts of the founda-
tions will rest on rock and others on loose gravel or clay.
The methods followed, where these irregularities of surface
are met with, will be found under the heading "Footings."

The sandstones and limestones are often found in strata,
beds, or layers, one on top of another. If these layers are
not separated by clay, and the beds are even, they make
good foundations. The strata or beds of rock may shelve,
or dip at varying angles. This formation is especially found
in hilly sections. The method of laying foundations when
shelving rock is encountered will also be described under
" Footings."


10. Virgin soil is either clay, loam, gravel, marshy
ground, or sand, in its natural condition.

1 1 . Clay is the most uncertain of soils, owing to its elas-
ticity, due to being mixed with marl, etc. ; its tendency to
absorb moisture; and, in many -cases, the position of its bed
or strata. In dry seasons it is very firm, while in wet seasons
it is elastic and unreliable. When- the layers of clay are


inclined, the foundation has a tendency to slide, producing
results threatening to the stability of the superstructure.

12. Loam, or clay mixed with sand and other earthy
substances, when compact and of considerable depth, is a
good material to build on, providing the structure is not an
extremely lofty or heavy one.

13. Compact gravel, united with sharp sand, makes the
best foundation (except bed rock), and, on account of its
being more easily leveled, is much less expensive to build on.

14. Marshy soils are formed by the decay of plants,
weeds, and other vegetable matter in sluggish water, which,
having no current, allows the plants, etc. to take root in the
bed. When these plants die, others take their place each
year. These successive beds of decayed matter are formed
under slight pressure, and have innumerable cavities
between them, as would a heap of decayed hay. Some-
times these deposits reach to such a depth that their bot-
toms have not been reached. Large areas of marshy lands
are formed in this way, by the periodical overflowing of
rivers, and the rise and fall of the tide along the coast.

15. Sand is formed from the decomposition of the older
rocks, either by the effects of the weather, the action of
heavy rains, the wearing away by running water, or the
spontaneous decomposition of the rocks themselves. The
particles are carried down to the rivers and there deposited,
either in their beds or borne out to the ocean.

The sand usually found in excavations has its origin either
as the formations in the beds of ancient rivers that have
long ceased to flow, called river sand ; or by the attrition or
grinding of the rocks themselves during the geological
upheavals in past ages. The latter is called virgin, or pit,
sand, and has never known the action of water.

Quicksand is a very fine sand, often mixed with clay or
loamy material in such proportion that it will retain water
until it is perfectly saturated. But by confining quicksand
and keeping it dry, or as nearly dry as possible, it may be


excavated or built upon with little more difficulty than
common sand. In many cases, quicksands are mixed with
a bluish or leaden colored silt or soapstone slime. It is often
the case in excavating through quicksand, that beds of this
blue marl are found ; when wet it is tough and hard, but
when dry, crumbles to a powder, and is utterly unfit for foun-
dations. An attempt to excavate in quicksand without pre-
viously getting rid of the water contained therein, is almost
as useless as to dig in water itself, for the saturated sand
will flow into the excavation faster than it can be removed.

16. During freshets, rivers bring down large quantities
of soil held in suspension, which is deposited when the
waters subside. This formation is called alluvial, from the
Latin word alluvius, meaning a washing upon. The term
alluvial is often used to designate deposits that are of yearly
recurrence, as the Nile and the Mississippi deltas, although
the river bottoms of many streams are originally of alluvial
origin. The value of alluvial soil for foundation purposes
varies much. In many cases, it consists of a clay formation
that is hard on top, especially during dry weather, but soft
and unreliable underneath. Heavy buildings should not be
erected on alluvial ground without a careful investigation
of the subsoil by means of borings or trial pits.


17. Made, or artificial, ground may consist of various
kinds of materials; such as the refuse of cities, earth and
other materials removed from cellars and other excavations,
the cinders, ashes, etc. from manufactories and furnaces. It
should not be built on, if the structure is of importance, with-
out investigating the nature of the subsoil, though for minor
edifices a suitable foundation may often be obtained on good
made ground.


18. From the above description of the various kinds of
soil and other materials met with in foundation beds the
following practical deductions may be made :


1. It is generally safe to build on bed rock any structure
that may be required, providing the foundation beds are
kept level.

2. Gravel, even when mixed with small boulders, can also
be considered perfectly reliable for any ordinary structure,
under usual conditions.

3. Sand will carry very heavy loads, provided it is con-
fined ; but great precautions must be taken to properly con-
fine it, and also to keep water, especially if running, from
it, as the action of water on the sand would very soon wash
it away.

4. Clay, when compact and dry, will carry large loads,
but water should be kept from it, both under and around
the structure, the foundations of which might otherwise
give way, due to the difficulty of retaining the pasty or
semiliquid mass formed.

5. A thick, hard, or compact stratum, overlying a much
softer one, even silt or quicksand, will often carry a consid-
erable load, the hard stratum floating upon the soft as a raft
floats on the water. It is usually better not to break through
this hard stratum, as it serves to spread the base and dis-
tribute the pressure over a large area. Most of the large
buildings in Chicago are built on soil of the above descrip-
tion. The proper way to build on such material will be
treated under the heading " Spread Foundations."

6. The silt, slush, and decayed vegetation contained in
the marshy lands, especially in the Southern states, are not
fit to build on without piling.

19. In all cases, the base of the foundations should be
so spread out as to keep the pressure per square foot of base
or footings within the safe limit.

Table 1 gives the safe loads that different kinds of earth,
rock, etc. will bear. By calculating the weight of a build-
ing, from tables and data to be given, the bearing power of
the soil it is to be placed on can readily be found.

These calculations for the bearing power of earth, etc. are
safe loads, and may be used with confidence.



Kind of Material.



Rock, hardest in native bed


Rock, equal to best ashlar masonry . .
Rock, equal to best brick



Clay, dry, in thick beds



Clay, moderately dry, in thick beds . .
Clay, soft. . .



Gravel and coarse sand well cemented .
Sand, compact and well cemented. . . .
Sand clean, dry




Quicksand, alluvial soils, etc





2O. In cities and towns of good size, it is customary to
have the building lines laid out by an engineer; but in
country work remote, possibly, from professional talent of
that sort the architect himself is often called upon to lay
out the lines of the building.

The plans of the building show the area, and the sections
or elevations show the depth of the excavations.

The figures on the foundation plan should be carefully
checked, as any error made at this stage of the work is
difficult to rectify afterwards.

The outside lines of the building proper should be run
first, and stakes driven at each corner or angle. Cords
should then be stretched from these around the foundation
site, and the lines for the footing courses measured off
according to the distance the footings project beyond the
foundation walls. By driving stakes also at the corners
of the footing courses, and stretching cords from each


footing-course stake to the next, the area to be excavated
can be ascertained.

The portion of the building required for cellar, as well as
the footing courses required for the portion having no cellar,
must be excavated to the proper depth.

21. The usual depth of cellars for dwelling houses
should not be less than 8 feet from the under side of the
first floor beams, and more where the house is to* be heated
by a furnace, in order to give sufficient height above the
furnace to allow a proper ascent to the hot-air pipes. For
store, office, and manufacturing buildings, the depth is
greater, varying according to the nature of the business
carried on, or the requirements of the occupants. In some
of the large office buildings in cities, there are no less than
three cellars : basement, cellar, and subcellar, and the
excavations vary from 25 to 60 feet in depth.

22. Care should always be taken, in case there is no
cellar under a building, to have the excavation in the
trenches go down below the frost line. This depth varies
in different parts of the country, but in the Eastern and
New England states 4 feet is considered sufficient for ordi-
nary buildings, if the subsoil is satisfactory. If the foun-
dations are not started below the frost line, the alternate
freezing and thawing of the earth tends to throw the walls
out of plumb, and will eventually destroy them, and also
rack the superstructure. This subject will be more fully
explained under "Footings."

23. When the nature of the soil is such that piles must
be driven to carry the building, it is customary to excavate
to water level before driving the piles. This is done in
order that the heads of the piles may be cut off at the water
line, it being necessary that the piles be wholly under water
to prevent decay.

24. In excavating cellars, it is customary to leave a run-
way; that is, a part of the ground is sloped down from the
bank to the cellar bottom, for the more convenient removal



of the excavated material. In very deep cellars covering" a
large area, this runway is usually built of heavy plank sup-
ported on wooden beams and posts.


25. Especial care should be taken, especially in cities,
to properly protect the adjoining property, sidewalks, etc.
from injury by the caving in of the bank during excavation.

To guard against this, the banks or sides of the excava-
tion are sheet piled, as shown in Fig. 1.

Sheet piling consists of a plank cut to a point at the lower
end, placed closely in line, and driven into the ground against

FIG. l.

the bank of the excavation, as shown at (a), Fig. 1, which is
a front elevation of sheet piling. At a is shown the piling
driven into the cellar bottom b, against the bank of the
excavation. At (b) is a section across the piling to show
the braces d placed against the batten e to retain the piling
in place against the earth pressure at the top. The stake
shown at f is driven in to keep the brace d from slipping.
These braces are usually spaced about 10 or 12 feet apart,
and are necessary when the excavation is a deep one.


26. When the foundations of a new building go below
those of the adjoining property, the adjacent walls must be
underpinned, the method of doing which, will be described
in a subsequent section.


27. Blasting. In many cases, when rock is reached,
blasting must be resorted to; in cities, this is a separate
branch of contracting, and the blasting is usually let as a

28. When a blast is to be made, a hole to receive the
powder is first drilled in the rock by hand or power drills ;
these holes vary in diameter from | inch to 2 inches, and
in depth from a few inches to many feet, while the direction
varies according to the dip, or slope of the rock.

The borer or jumper used in drilling is a steel-pointed
bar. Generally one man, in a sitting position, directs the
drill, turning it after each blow to keep the hole cylindrical,
occasionally pouring in water, and cleaning out the powdered
stone with a scraper. A small rope of straw or hemp is
twisted around the drill or jumper at the top of the hole.
One or two men strike the jumper with sledge hammers.

When a sufficient depth is reached, the hole is dried by
means of a rag on the end of a wire, and the charge of
powder put in ; a small rod of copper, called the needle, or
nail, is inserted so as to reach the bottom of the charge.
The remainder of the hole is then filled up with dry sand or
tough clay, which is called tamping; if wadding is used, it
is firmly rammed in by meaqs of the tamping bar, which is
a copper-faced punch of such size that it nearly fills the hole,
and has a grove in it to receive the nail. This operation
requires great care because of the danger of producing
sparks by striking the rock with the tamping punch. Pow-
der is now poured in the hole, and the blast is exploded by a
slow match connected with it.

An improvement on this method of firing, consists in the
use of a fuse ; this may be described as a rope or hose, con-
taining an inflammable composition. A suitable length of


the fuse is placed in contact with the charge before tamping,
and carried up to the mouth of the hole. On being lighted,
it burns at the rate of 2 or 3 feet a minute, giving time for the
blasters to get to a safe place before the explosion occurs.

Electricity is now used very extensively for the purpose
of firing the charge, especially if the explosive is dynamite.
A dynamite cartridge is placed in the hole, but no tamping
is required ; the cartridge is connected by two insulated wires
with an electric battery, and on making the connection, by
pressing a button on the outside of the box containing the
battery, the charge is exploded.

In order to confine the pieces of rock that would otherwise
be shot into the air after an explosion, and prevent damage
to adjoining property, or possible loss of life, a number of
heavy logs are placed over the rock to be blasted, and some-
times bound together by a heavy chain. The weight of
the logs keeps the fragments of stone, etc. from flying
when the charge is exploded.

29. Where extensive blasting operations are going on, rock-
boring or drilling machines are used, insuring considerable
saving in time and labor over the old method of hand drilling.

In these machines, the drill is repeatedly driven against
the rock, either by compressed air or steam, the drill also
being made to rotate slightly at each blow. The work of
drilling can be done by the use of rock drills at least one-
third cheaper than by hand power. There are several dif-
ferent machines; the Rand, Ingersoll-Sargeant, Burleigh,
and Diamond are considered the best.

30. Wedging. Where rock must be taken out so close
to existing walls that injury might result from blasting, the
operation of wedging is resorted to. This consists of break-
ing up the rock with wedges, which are of steel, about 8
inches long, with wire wound about them so as to form a
handle. A workman holds the thin edge against the rock,
and another man strikes repeated blows on the wedge with
a hammer until the rock is split or broken.

When the rock breaks easily and runs in layers with denned


seams between them, large quantities may be cheaply gotten
out by this means ; but it is a slow and expensive process
if the rock is hard and lies in large compact masses.


31. In cities, drainage by regular sewerage is provided,
but in the country, cesspools are usually built to receive the
sewage from the building.

In many cases the old leaching cesspool, or dry well, is still
adopted. If the house is to be supplied with water from a
town or city service, or from springs higher than the build-
ing, and at a considerable distance, the leaching cesspool
may be tolerated, on account of its low cost, but only so long
as the circumstances require. If, however, water is to be
drawn for use from any well within 300 feet of the proposed
cesspool, and on the same or a lower level, no cesspool shoiild
be built that will allow its contents to soak into the subsoil.

32. If there is no danger that the drinking water may
be contaminated, the cesspool may be excavated in a circu-
lar form from 8 to 12 feet in diameter, and usually of a
depth sufficient to reach an absorbent stratum, the sides
being lined with a dry wall of stone or brick, and the top
drawn over in the shape of a rude dome, which should be
covered either with an iron cover or a flat stone. In sandy
or gravelly soils, such a cesspool will dispose of the waste
liquids of the house for a long time, but in the course of
years the earth around it becomes permeated with the solid

Online LibraryInternational Correspondence SchoolsA treatise on architecture and building construction, prepared for students of the International Correspondence Schools (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 38)