Mark McCullough’s Approach to Masonry | Ask This Old House

From This Old House.

In this video, This Old House mason Mark McCullough explains his outlook on masonry projects and how homeowners, despite being nervous, can tackle these jobs themselves.

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Mason Mark McCullough explains why homeowners are afraid of trying their hands at masonry projects and why he thinks they can handle it. Mark explains the most common fears and misconceptions about masonry and a helpful outlook on overcoming them.

Most Homeowners and DIYers Get Nervous When It Comes to Masonry
Mark knows that most homeowners and DIYers get a little nervous around masonry. The materials are heavy, and once the project sets up and cures, it’s there forever. This makes them feel like masonry is less approachable than other trades like carpentry or electrical work, but Mark believes this is a misconception.

“Don’t Be Afraid!”
One of Mark’s most repeated phrases is “Don’t be afraid to,” followed by a technique or direction for the homeowner. He uses this phrase deliberately, as he truly means they shouldn’t be afraid. He wants them to try new techniques and tools, use a bit more material or strength, and get used to how masonry materials react.

It’s All About Getting Dirty
The average person isn’t used to getting dirty, and masonry is one dirty trade. They typically pay someone to get dirty for them, but once they get past the apprehension, they can tackle these projects themselves.

The Tools Aren’t As Scary As They Seem
Most homeowners have to deal with some intimidation when it comes to using new tools they’ve never tried before. The different types of trowels and jointers are very specific to masonry, so most folks don’t have any experience with them. The same applies to a compactor, which looks intimidating but is actually quite accessible for the average person.

It Takes the Right Mindset
All of these tools, techniques, and tasks can get a lot easier when you have the right mindset. Once you accept that you’re going to get dirty, lift heavy objects, and try new tools, but also recognize that there will be self-satisfaction at the end of the job, these masonry projects aren’t nearly as scary. All it takes is the right mindset.

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From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. ASK This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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Mark McCullough’s Approach to Masonry | Ask This Old House