Pros and Cons of a Masonry Fence

stone wall used as a masonry fence

If you’re thinking of installing a more durable, non-traditional fence around your home, a masonry fence might be the right choice. But before installing such a permanent structure around your property, consider the pros and cons of a masonry fence.

Whether you’re looking for extra privacy or enjoy the aesthetics of masonry fencing, there is a wide variety of materials to choose from, such as brick, stone, stucco, or concrete. But there’s more to consider than custom designs and aesthetic appeal. 

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What is a Masonry Fence?

Masonry fences are built from brick, concrete blocks, stucco, or natural stone. Masonry fencing is held together with mortar and laid in a staggered pattern. These types of fences are used for residential properties and are built with different techniques and materials.

Pros of a Masonry Fence

✓ Durable

Masonry fences are durable. With proper maintenance and upkeep, bricks and stone can last over 100 years, while wood fencing only lasts 20-30 years. Masonry fences are practically immune to most weather conditions, including rain, strong winds, sleet, snow, and heat. Unlike wood fencing, masonry fences are also not susceptible to rot or insects such as termites and carpenter ants.

✓ Aesthetically Pleasing

Masonry fences are beautiful, and there is an artistic element to their construction as each stone is carefully fitted together, their place determined by shape and weight. Depending on the material used, stone fences provide a rustic or elegant look and lend a natural appearance to your landscape.

✓ Soundproof

Masonry fences create great soundproofing barriers and make your yard feel more private, quiet, and enclosed. Masonry fences help cut off street noise and noise from your neighbors. Masonry fences also prevent noise from traveling outside your backyard and disturbing your neighbors.

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✓ Plenty of Variety

Masonry fencing comes in a wide range of colors, styles, and designs, which will add a unique element to your property.

Masonry fence styles include:

  • Brick
  • Stone
  • Concrete
  • Granite
  • Limestone
  • Stucco

Cons of a Masonry Fence

✗ Can Be Expensive

As far as cost is concerned, masonry fences are something of a gamble.

When it comes to materials and labor, masonry fencing costs more to install than wood or vinyl fencing. Bricks and stones weigh more than wood and require extra labor, which also will add to the cost. If you’re building on uneven ground and require a foundation, the cost will spike even more.

The price of materials completely depends on what you choose. You can purchase stones of varying types at different costs, and some can be cheaper than other fence materials. If you plan to install a fence that is dry-stacked, then you don’t even need to purchase mortar.

Brick masonry does not require highly skilled labor since the shape and size of bricks are uniform. Bricks are also lightweight, easy to transport, and cheaper than stones or concrete blocks.

Overall, the approximate cost of materials is $10-$80 per square foot, depending on the quality of the material and thickness of the fence.

✗ Maintenance and Upkeep

For the most part, masonry fences are low maintenance, but they aren’t maintenance-free. Masonry fences may crack and buckle as the ground shifts since brick and mortar isn’t flexible like standard wood or vinyl fencing. Wood can handle the gradual shifts below ground, allowing for movement without damage. Bricks have low resistance against tension, making them more susceptible to seismic damage. Maintaining a masonry fence includes:

  • Annual inspections
  • Cleaning with mild detergent
  • Unclogging holes
  • Bleaching moss, mildew, and mold
  • Sealing with polyurethane
  • Repoint aging stone

✗ Not Good For Small Yards

A masonry fence may feel too closed off, especially for smaller properties. Other privacy fences let in light or wind, but closed-style masonry fencing creates a solid barrier around your lawn.

✗ Cannot Be Easily Altered

Masonry fencing is basically guaranteed to remain in the same place and cannot be changed on a whim. You can paint concrete, but paint does not adhere to rocks. Adding more stone can ruin the aesthetic as it creates a mismatched look and makes the fence appear uneven.

Trying to move a masonry fence is a major undertaking of labor, and stone masons are expensive to hire because they do specialized work. It’s nearly impossible to recreate a stone structure in a new location, and it’s difficult to reassemble.

✗ Time-Consuming to Build

Building a masonry fence is a lengthy and painstaking process. Builders take the time to find the right stones, haul them to the location and fit them together. This is an arduous process and not a DIY project. Masonry cannot be installed during heavy rain or freezing conditions since the mortar will not set properly.

FAQ About Masonry Fences

Can Masonry Paint Be Used on Other Materials?

Yes, masonry paint can be used on rendering, concrete, and bricks, as well as metal, wood, masonry, composites, vinyl, and plastic.

Can You Attach a Gate to a Masonry Fence?

Masonry fences have a concrete foundation, which will make it difficult to sink posts into the ground. That means you’ll need to fix your posts and gate into the stone or brick pillars.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Damage to Masonry?

Moisture seeping into masonry is one of the most common causes of damage. Frozen and thawing water will put pressure on the entire masonry wall.

When to Call a Fencing Pro

Why spend your free time placing fence posts when you can hire an experienced and reliable fencing pro instead? Installing a fence is hot, back-breaking work, and that’s not including the headache of property lines and permits!

If you need someone to take care of all your fencing needs, we invite you to check out FenceGnome’s fencing contractors in your area!

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Main photo credit: PxHere / CC0

Lydian Pine

Lydian Pine is a creative writer and studio artist whose work first debuted in a short story anthology. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 2020 and enjoys video games, theatre, and swimming. Lately, she has started to study entomology as a hobby.