What is a quoin?

Written by LetsBuild

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There are times when a building’s owner wants the outside of their building to look unique, or at least different than the buildings surrounding theirs.  When this happens, or when someone in the field of construction wants to make a building look a little different, quoins can be put in place.

What is a Quoin?

A quoin is an external cornerstone that is found at the corners of brick or stone buildings.  Quoins have been used for many years, but in the beginning, they were just a way to connect the corners of walls to make the right angle.

The quoins that we know today though were first used back in ancient Rome.  The Romans wanted to find a way to emphasize the look of the corners of the buildings while making the building appear more stable than it was.

Quoins appeared in some European architecture after that, but they really started popping up everywhere during both the Baroque and Renaissance eras.  It was at that time, that they were placed at the corners of buildings, but they were also placed around windows and doors.

The current meaning of a quoin is derived from both those eras, which is why they are considered structurally important.  With that being said, they do not add any additional structural soundness than a brick or stone from the rest of the walls would add in these same spaces.

Therefore, a quoin is used for decorative purposes only.  You can create a quoin look by using any type of material, pattern, color, or texture that is different from what you are using on the rest of the walls.

Creating Flush Quoins

You must size the quoins properly if you expect them to be flush with the rest of the materials that are being used on a building.  The thickness should also be the same, so that there is no interference with the drainage that may be present from other areas of the walls.  The downside to flush quoins is that you will not have the depth that you would if you chose a different type of quoin.

Creating Projecting Quoins

There may be times when you want projecting quoins instead of flush ones and that is perfectly fine.  However, you must take the necessary precautions when it comes to drainage or the walls can become damaged quickly.  To achieve this look easily, you must use a material that is the thickness of the original material plus what you want the projection to be.  This may involve cored brick and if it does, you may not get the full projection that you desire.  Plus, you must make sure that the core holes are not exposed at any time.

Creating Coursing Patterns

There are numerous coursing patterns that you can use when it comes to quoined corners, however, it is best to maintain a four-inch standard to avoid issues with the rest of the wall.  For example, a stone quoin or a concrete quoin will usually be three or four bricks high and between three and five bricks long.  To create symmetry, you may be required to use some half bricks, which is why the measurement above is recommended.

Of course, you can also have a quoin be between three and seven bricks high with between one and three regular bricks laid down before the next set of quoins.

The best way to place the quoins for this is to use a toothed pattern.  This will allow you to alternate which one is facing outwards and which one is facing inward.  This will save you a little time, but not enough due to the extensive amount of work that is still required for quoins.

Tips for Including Quoins

Professional quoin installers know that it takes twice the amount of time to incorporate quoins into a building when compared to just creating regular corners.  This is due to the need to fill the mortar joints properly to prevent moisture from seeping through.

It is also important to make sure that the projecting quoins are secured to the backup wall securely and this normally requires four ties all together in each corner.

If you are considering projecting quoins, you may want to stick with 3/8th of an inch for the projection, because that amount creates enough of a shadow line.

New Uses for Quoin

While quoin corners have been around since Roman times, you are going to see them appearing on buildings around the world in a new way.  Currently, siding is now being manufactured so that it looks like you have quoins on the corners of a building.  This may sound slightly odd, but the look is fantastic, if, and this is a big if, it is done properly.

The best part is that a person does not need to replace their existing siding to have quoin installed on a building.  Instead, a person can simply decide to change up the exterior of their building and choose what type of quoin they like the most.

While the quoin will need to match the rest of the exterior, the choices are still practically endless when it comes to creating an amazing look without a ton of work.

The quoin corners simply snap into place and a building can be transformed in a day or less!

There is a whole new world of quoins waiting out there, which means that more and more people are going to know what this word means in the future.  You will want to jump on this bandwagon early, so you can be prepared when quoin becomes the new mainframe word in the world of construction.