Renovation & Repointing Project

American Stone By Luciano recently completed a pointing job in the Doylestown area. We were hired to rip out the siding of a house and replace it stone walling. As we began the process of ripping the siding, we noticed a series of errors the previous home builders made during construction.

The section of the house in which we were working on was built as an addition to the house within the past few years. The contractors hired to build the addition were clearly in a hurry and rushed to complete the project. Evidence of their half fast labor was visible in the foundation of the addition. The foundation was stuffed with a series of cinderblocks, wooden rods, and jumbled stones. In time, the combinations of these arrangements lead to an uneven flooring. The homeowners used the addition as their laundry room and the flooring was unable to support the weight of the washer, dryer, and a mantle they had placed in the corner of the room. The top of the mantle was slanted, not because of the mantle itself but because of the unleveled flooring. The building of the side walls around the addition would have been a waste of our labor as well as the homeowner’s money. We expressed our concern for building these walls at and after discussing our concerns, as well as the interests of the homeowners, it was concluded that the addition would have to be knocked down.

After removing a sample of the stucco near the addition, we discovered that there was stone walling behind it. This meant that the home owners had the option of either keeping the stucco walling, or removing it so that we could repoint the stonework. They decided to remove the stucco and repoint since they were initially eager to add stonework to their home anyways.


We spent several days during the demolition of the addition. As the room was previously the homeowner’s laundry room, we had to pay careful attention to water pipes and electrical work. We spent the first day or two knocking down the walls, roofing, ripping out insulation, studs, and the flooring. The space surrounding the addition was a concrete patio. In knocking out the addition, we planned to use the extra space where the addition stood and expand their patio. This meant that more concrete would be poured, so we would have to a couple feet to make room for the crushed stone as well as concrete.

Once the addition was completely removed, we began removing the stucco walls and chiseling out the joints of the stonewalls behind it.

Once the stone wall was exposed, we spent several days repointing the stonework and bringing the vivid stonewall back to life.

Once the repointing was complete, we layered the blue stone and poured the concrete for the expansion of the patio. The result was a beautiful outdoor living space.

Cannon Club at Princeton University

Over the years, American Stone By Luciano has completed many masonry projects we are proud of. From fireplaces, patios, and beyond. We’ve completed the construction of countless structures of stone art. Some noteworthy projects are the ones we’ve completed for The Cannon Club at Princeton University.

Our business with the Cannon Club began when the clubs head wanted to build a more elegant looking back porch patio to replace the present patio at the time. The flagstone used to build the previous patio was out of date and aging, as the building is one of the oldest in Princeton and a historic landmark. We ripped up the old flagstones, and salvaged what stones we could. The patio was on the buildings second floor and above the Clubs kitchen, so we had to properly waterproof the wet- bed (First cement layer) of the patio prior to laying the stone to prevent the possibility of future leaking into the kitchen’s ceiling.  We then waited a couple days before adding a second coat of waterproofing, and then tested for leaks. Once we were sure the wet-bed was completely waterproofed, we began construction of the patio. It took several days of structured planning and laying/pitching each stone individually, but when it was complete the Club owners were very satisfied. So satisfied, that they kept our name on record for a couple more projects they had planned for the very near future.

The Next project planned, was an entrance patio. The Cannon Club has an elegant cathedral look to it and is the envy of much of its neighboring buildings, so it was important to the owners of the club that the entrance match the elegant theme as it would be the first impression of spectators visiting the club. Luciano lead a team of masons in discussing and planning for this challenging task. We started out by measuring and tracing possible shapes for the entrance. After several attempts, we concluded what lining of the stones would look best given the connecting walkways the owners wanted to keep. After the shape was determined, we executed our regular routine; digging the outline, evenly spreading crushed bluestone, and pouring concrete for the foundation. Once the foundation was complete, we began building the entrance and one week later had another beautiful structure to add to our resume. We were also given drawings for the clubs next project, a backyard entertainment patio.

The proposed patio was one of the biggest projects American Stone By Luciano had faced over the years, so we were excited for the challenge. The entertainment patio called for landing steps (so that club member could walk up to the patio from the open parking lot), a large patio, retaining walls surrounding the patio, and walkways on either ends of the patios. Additionally, the club owners wanted to add an outdoor kitchen. The outdoor kitchen described included a stone island with surrounding retaining walls: all of which would be capped with granite. Aside from the longer than normal planning this project entailed because of it’s size; the rest of our process was very similar. From outlining the patio’s perimeters during pre-construction, to the individual placing of each flagstone and regular stone. The retaining walls were capped with formed concrete, and the kitchen’s stone counters were capped with special order granite. As we do all our patios, we stained the flagstones upon completion to show detail of the stones as well as protect the surface from water damage. The club owners are still proud to have such elegant additions to their historic building, but not as proud as we were in constructing them.


Outdoor Gas Fireplace

Outdoor Veneer Fireplace- September 2014

As you can tell from past articles and our galleries, outdoor fireplaces are becoming an increasingly large aspect of our masonry trade. Past clients have referred to fireplaces we’ve built as “…a Zen garden in our backyard that we enjoy immensely and is the envy of our neighbors. It is the focal point of many family gatherings. An outdoor fireplace creates a warm, inviting environment that is irresistible.”


In our most recent project, we were hired to pick up where a previous mason contractor was sent off. The client’s project entailed the building of an outdoor gazebo complete with stone pillars and an outdoor gas fireplace. As a result of the previous mason’s poor craftsmanship with the construction of the stone pillars, the client dropped the company half way through the project and sought out an experienced masonry contracting company who could bring their vision of the fireplace to life properly. They feared falling through with the masonry contractor they hired as a result of the poor craftsmanship displayed. That’s where we came in.

*Here is picture of our stonework. As you can see, the placing of the stones is very clean, square, and appealing to the eye:

 *Now, here is an example of the work of the previous Mason hired for the job. The stones aren't placed square, the joints are thick, you can see cement marks, and there isn't the slightest form of repetition or pattern:

Stone veneer is becoming a increasingly popular form of stonework in today's world of masonry. For those of you who are unfamiliar with veneer, there are generally man made stones shaped from concrete. Once shaped, they are shaded and textured to resemble real stone. They are much thinner and thus lighter than classic stones. The common assumption by clients and unskilled masons is that these veneers can be easily installed by anyone since some quarry companies advertise them as “lick em and stick em” forms of stonework. This generalization could not be further from the truth, and these photos of comparison between our work and other bucks county masonry contractors serve as an example.

We started this outdoor fireplace the same way we start any and all of our stonework projects, with a strong foundation. So many mason contractors today are under the assumption that it’s only certain forms of masonry and stonework that need a solid foundation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As years pass and the earth shifts, solid foundations are a core element which separates the projects that lasts months from the projects that last generations.

After the concrete for the foundation set for several days to ensure strength, we began building the frame for the fireplace out of cinder-blocks and build the firebox out of firebricks. It was requested that the outdoor fireplace be gas operated, so we took that into consideration when building the frame and planned accordingly by setting up the necessary natural gas pipelines. Once the frame was built, we began construction of the stonework. The client requested that the majority of the outdoor fireplace’s base be faced with the veneer, and only partially stuccoed on the upper half.


After a week of taking the necessary time and consideration for placement of each veneer, the fireplace was complete. Needless to say, they were beyond satisfied with the work of the fireplace. So much so, that they are considering having us redo the rest of the job from the previous mason.

Entrance Walkway in Doylestown PA

American Stone By Luciano was recently hired to rebuild and restore an house entrance walkway. The project was located in Bucks County PA just outside of the Doylestown borrow.


The clients had called us because the previous walkway was showing signs of aging. The walkway was done in Flagstone (Slate) and the joints in-between each stone were starting to decay. Evidence of this decay was seen by the cracks that developed and weeds that were growing through the walkway within the joints. When you stepped on the stones, you could hear their hollowness, which is never a good sign.  The first stone lifted effortlessly from the patio (also, never a good sign) and it was determined that the walkway had to be redone from scratch.


The first step in redoing the walkway, was to continue lifting the stones to see which ones could be used again in the walkway’s reconstruction, and which ones would need to be discarded. Most of the stones broke apart upon lifting, but some were still in salvageable condition. Ones that could be reused were set aside, and the ones that weren’t were discarded.


Once the stones were removed, the walkway’s concrete foundation was exposed. The concrete was decaying and needed to be removed, which we did. Upon removal, crushed stone had to be layered to support the new concrete poured. Once the new foundation was complete evened out properly, the foundation was ready for the flagstones to be laid.



We at American Stone By Luciano spend several days leading up to the project planning how to build our structures. During the planning for this walkway (as wells as others) Luciano lead the masons in drawing up blueprints for the flagstone work. This blueprint allows us to determine what stone pattern would look best and what dimensions of stone will fit best. In having this pattern planned, we were able to determine what stones could be reused, and what stones will needed to be bought new from local quarries. We then visited those quarries and hand picked the stones for the specific project (as we do for any project).


Once we had the new stones, we began constructing the walkway. Walkway construction can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks, depending on the size, complexity of the design and needs/wants of the client. As Bucks County masonry contractors, we do our best to inform our clients with our recommendations as best as we can our, but always leave the ultimate decision to you. These particular clients respected our 30-year expertise and trusted our judgment when it came time for that decision making.

Laying out the stones is a very time consuming process. Each stone must be properly place and pitched one by one. During this process, it is important that the cement holding these stones is properly placed for pitch. By pitching the stones, you can prevent future water damage and decay. Upon completion of laying the stones, the joints were packed very tightly. Tight joints are an extremely important step in building any type of stonework, especially walking surfaces. By packing tight joints, we are insuring that much more protection from water damage. After a couple days of drying, the walkway was then stained to preserve color and surface area. Staining walkways brings out the depth and beauty of each stone while additionally protecting the surface from water damage. These tactics used by American Stone show our strategic work ethic and commitment to giving you stonework of the highest quality. Many of our competitors in the area are unaware of these protection methods and build stonework projects which do not last the time and money their clients invest.

The client was very pleased with the final project, which is always our ultimate goal.