BMJ Stone
EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Pullman Ermator
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
September 15, 2004 8:41 AM CDT

Beyond 2x4s


Photo courtesy of Jakerstin Bracing, Inc.
Wall bracing isn't really considered a favorite pastime by mason contractors and their crews, but it doesn't have to be a painful process. Several products recently introduced to the masonry market are here to save the day and make wall bracing a pain of the past. Three such products include: Hog Leg, introduced by EZ Grout Corporation of Waterford, Ohio; Dur-O-Wal's Brace Rite System of Aurora, Ill.; and Adjust-It from Jakerstin Bracing, Inc., of North Monmouth, Maine.

"The contractors we talked with agreed that existing systems were heavy and cumbersome to install on masonry walls," says Damian Lang, Owner of EZ Grout. "They required a minimum of two or three people to install them, and could not be installed through head joints as the wall was being built. Because bracing was such a difficult task, many looked for ways to 'shortcut' instead of bracing properly. Our system is designed to eliminate that headache."

Headaches are gone for the mason contractor, while backaches are disappearing for the crews. All of the new bracing systems offer engineered and tested products, fast and easy installation, and the requirement of only having to brace one side ? although both sides can be braced as well. Add the bonus of only having to use one or two crewmembers, and you've got yourself a winning combination.

Many of the companies also offer engineering assistance so that you can brace the most common to most unusual wall configuration.

Photo courtesy of Dur-O-Wall
"Upon receiving a worksheet that we have on our web site filled out with the specifics of your project wall, you will receive a site-specific bracing design stamped by our structural engineer," says Dawn Hodsdon, Co-owner of Jakerstin Bracing. "Or, if you just need the appropriate weight calculations for above-ground footers if you're going to be bracing on one side of the wall, we can do that too... or both."

"The fact that mason contractors only have to brace from one side of the wall allows them to continue work much more easily than having to brace both sides, like with wood plank or cable bracing," says Vinny Mendes, Regional Sales Manager for Dur-O-Wal. "Also, unlike the standard plank bracing, our system is engineered and has been known to reduce insurance costs."

Although making wall bracing easier and more cost-effective for mason contractors and their crews is an enticing enough reason to switch to one of these products, increasing safety is the overall goal.

"Although testing isn't cheap, we wanted to be certain the braces were tested to not only meet, but surpass the needs of a typical job site," Lang states. "Testing was an important part of bringing this innovative alternative to the masonry industry."

Photo courtesy of EZ Grout
As most of the systems can be installed as the wall is being built, and include either a "kicker bar" or "strong back" to ensure strong support through the height of the wall, contractors can increase the safety on their job site.

Hodsdon says, "The safety factor is terrific because the minute you tip them up, having a nice strong back on the wall, you are in compliance."

Finally, after a quick set-up and attaining a safe job site, the products wouldn't be complete without the ability to pack them up and move on to the next job with ease.

"When the contractor is finished bracing, the main parts of the Hog Leg system can be delivered to and from the job site in a lockable storage rack that is less than eight feet wide," says Lang.

"Crews can carry the bracing off, put it in the back of the truck, and off you go. It's pretty slick," Hodsdon says. "Of course, that is a biased opinion."

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


Related Articles

More Masonry Headlines

“The MCAA is perfectly suited to provide webinars and other training resources.”

Todd Witmer
The Witmer Group
MCAA member since 1995

Learn More