Graphical Construction Glossary >> masonry. >> stonework >> Masonry Buttress

Masonry Buttress
An external masonry mass set against or built into a masonry wall to resist forces at right angles (lateral) to the wall. For example the outward thrust of a roof.
Diagonal Buttress
A buttress at an external corner set at 135 degrees to each wall face to take outward thrust from both walls.

stone butressdiagonal buttress

Above are two shots of the exterior of Cartmel Priory Church in Cumbria, UK

On the left is a buttress that is square off the wall that it is bonded to. On the right is a diagonal buttress that is at an angle to two walls.

Buttresses are used against external walls to resist the thrust from the roof timbers trying to spread.

  • We see buttresses on many old buildings that were built before modern engineering allowed us to build efficient roof structures.
  • The roofs of the day were made out of timber and so for buildings that had a significant span between the outer walls then the timbers have to be joined.
  • Add to his the fact that the early builders wanted open soaring ceilings to the insides.
  • In the case of many Gothic buildings the ceilings themselves were stone and the heavy timber roof trusses carried tonnes of sheet lead.
  • The main reason that these roofs are still standing is the introduction of masonry buttresses.
plain brick buttresses at Temple Cressing

Unusual brick buttresses to a wall at the 12Th century Knights Templar, Cressing Temple Barns in Essex, UK

There are quite a few photographs on these pages that have perspective issues and converging verticals (a bit like the photographer really :-) but this wall really is leaning and because the bricks all seem to look the same it makes me think that this might have been a bit of swift remedial action not long after the wall was built. Note, it's not a retaining wall.

The problem with trying to split glossary definitions up into handy categories is that there will inevitably be items that can go into a few places. I show more about buttress and the reason for them in this roofing section.

If you didn't find exactly what you are looking for try this search tool that will search the site and the web.

"What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
Adam Smith 1723-1790

"When we build, let us think that we build for ever."John Ruskin 1819-1900

coates hire
Hire Equipment
Furniture Fittings - Architectural Hardware - Electronic Locking Systems - Technical Hardware
BuilderBill sponsorship

BuilderBill Books

building maths
Building Maths

Stair Design
asbestos ebook
Asbestos Book

Calculator Pages.

Concrete yardage calculator

Reader's Questions.

Questions and answers.



Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
You must check your own local conditions.
Copyright © Bill Bradley 2007-2012. All rights reserved.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape