Methods of Building Walls

DesignhomePhotography

There are two styles of walls: “opus reticulatum,” now used by everybody, and the ancient style called “opus incertum.” Of these, the reticulatum looks better, but its construction makes it likely to crack, because its beds and builds spread out in every direction. On the other hand, in the opus incertum, the rubble, lying in courses and imbricated, makes a wall which, though not beautiful, is stronger than the reticulatum.

Both kinds should be constructed of the smallest stones, so that the walls, being thoroughly puddled with the mortar, which is made of lime and sand, may hold together longer. Since the stones used are soft and porous, they are apt to suck the moisture out of the mortar and so to dry it up. But when there is abundance of lime and sand, the wall, containing more moisture, will not soon lose its strength, for they will hold it together. But as soon as the moisture is sucked out of the mortar by the porous rubble, and the lime and sand separate and disunite, the rubble can no longer adhere to them and the wall will in time become a ruin.

This we may learn from several monuments in the environs of the city, which are built of marble or dimension stone, but on the inside packed with masonry between the outer walls. In the course of time, the mortar has lost its strength, which has been sucked out of it by the porousness of the rubble; and so the monuments are tumbling down and going to pieces, with their joints loosened by the settling of the material that bound them together.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these <abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</abbr> tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>