Stories From the Field, Page 3 of 16

Post: AAA-1 Masonry In A Nutshell

Wednesday November 20, 2019

A licensed mason checking for plumb and level

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing, Inc.

Post: No Project Too Big or Too Small

Friday November 8, 2019

Foreman Mirek looks up at a brick elevator penthouse

Foreman Mirek contemplates the safest means of rebuilding this Canal Street structure’s elevator penthouse (large enough to house 8 elevators).

Lately you may have seen our experienced masons working on a number of larger projects in the downtown Chicago area. These buildings on Canal Street, Randolph Street and Clark Street require customized swingstage configurations, extensive safety protocols and a great deal of experience to execute correctly. These structures vary in age from 40 years to over 100 years, and from 16 stories to 45 stories in height. They are definitely high profile jobs and we really enjoy working on challenging structures like these!

However, we also enjoy rebuilding parapet walls, repairing chimneys and replacing lintels belonging to single family homes, 2-flats and 6-flats in less congested locales.

No matter how large or how small your next masonry project, we hope you will allow us the opportunity to meet with you and suggest sensible ways to preserve your building.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service!


Post: What Sets Us Apart

Saturday October 19, 2019

Adam, Mark, and Lucas smiling

From left to right: Adam, Mark and Lucas are just three of the more than 80 masons, project managers and office staff committed to providing you with an exceptional experience.

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing has been in continuous operation since 1954. That’s over 65 years of experience restoring brick, terra cotta, stone, mortar and cinder block (yes, cinder block was around in 1954, although not as widely used as today). Over the decades we grew a little bigger, continued to hone our craft, developed safety protocols and training programs, and demanded the very best from ourselves.

The result? Today AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing's licensed masons are the most trusted in the Chicagoland area for quality restoration work. From the moment you call the office or click on our website, you will be interfacing with an organization that operates at the highest levels of efficiency, proficiency, and professionalism and with people who really enjoy what they do.

We look forward to working with you on your next masonry restoration project!

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.


Post: Heavy-Duty Vinyl Tarpaulins - An Affordable Means of Stopping Water Infiltration Through Your Masonry Walls

Tuesday October 1, 2019

Workers installing heavy-duty vinyl tarpaulins on a building in Lincoln Park, Chicago

When nighttime temperatures start dropping below 27°F degrees with regularity, curing mortar runs the risk of forming ice crystals. Ice crystals reduce the life expectancy of fresh mortar and can result in a project that fails to perform as expected. During cold work days, many masons will warm their job sites with propane heaters to keep the mortar from forming ice crystals while they work but then turn off the heaters at night when they pack up to go home, exactly when the temperatures are dropping to their coldest. Not a good situation.

So when temperatures get too cold to work with mortar but buildings are still experiencing leaks and other issues, we recommend the installation of heavy-duty vinyl tarpaulin protection. Our 18-ounce heavy-duty vinyl tarps are made in America and designed to provide a physical barrier between your building and the snow, ice and rain for as long as you require. Our tarps are incredibly strong and durable and will not rip, tear or shred after a few weeks like the tarps you find in most big box stores and hardware stores. In fact, our vinyl tarps are so strong that the material is used for racing sails and is 4 ounces heavier than what the Major League Baseball teams pull onto their fields during inclement weather!

We secure our tarps with aluminum termination bars and tap cons (the same materials roofers use to secure your roof flashings) so they will not move, flap or fail.

Sometimes a home owner or condominium association needs to stop water infiltration through a masonry wall but lacks the immediate funds to pay for the corrective repairs. (That was the case for this building in Lincoln Park.) Because the installation of heavy-duty vinyl tarps costs a fraction of a full-blown masonry repair, some of our heavy-duty vinyl tarps have remained on buildings for many years while owners and condominium associations build up their repair funds. Chicago’s brutal heat, sun, cold and wet have no impact on these tarps.

Our experienced masons are prepared to assist you with the most economical means of addressing your building issues, including the installation of heavy-duty vinyl tarpaulins. Call us at (773) 622-7300 if you would like to learn more.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service,


Post: Glass Block Windows

Wednesday June 12, 2019

AAA-1 licensed masons installing a wavy-styled glass block window unit in a basement opening

Traditional windows with an operable sash are made by companies like Marvin, Pella and Kolbe, and are commonly installed by a carpenter or window contractor. But because glass block windows require the use of mortar, their installation is best left to licensed masons.

Glass block windows are comprised of individual glass blocks and these come in a multitude of patterns (e.g., wavy glass, opaque glass, diamond-etched glass, etc.) and sizes (e.g., 12” X 12” panes, 8” X 8” panes, 4 X 6” panes, etc.)

In this photo, the masons are installing a wavy-styled glass block window unit in a basement opening. The individual glass blocks measure 8” X 8” and provide a modicum of privacy.

Because glass blocks have thick interior and exterior glass walls, glass block windows are very strong and provide an extra level of security not found in traditional windows (from time to time we find small caliber bullets trapped between the panes of glass).

Glass block windows can be constructed pane by pane in the field using mortar but this does not produce a very weather-tight product because mortar does not bond well to glass. To ensure the highest quality glass block windows, we construct our windows differently: First we lay out the glass blocks on a flat table in the configuration required. Then Portland cement is added between the individual glass blocks, the entire unit gets banded together with steel strapping, and then baked in a temperature controlled kiln which allows the Portland cement to fuse to the glass blocks.(We only use mortar around the perimeter of the glass block window during field installation where the blocks make contact with the brick jambs and windowsill.)

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing has been installing glass block windows for almost as long as there have been glass block windows!For a free estimate for your next glass block window project, please give us a ring at 773/622-7300 or via e-mail at

Thank you,