Common Brick Masonry Mortar Joints
Every day we see brick walls made of masonry. Some walls are interesting, while others don’t. Did you ever notice the mortar joints within masonry walls? For those who don’t know, mortar is used to combine bricks and concrete blocks when building a masonry wall. You can use lime mortar, cement mortar, or any other type of mortar. The mortar joints must be strong, weather-resistant, water-tight and visually appealing, regardless of the mortar type.
The mortar joints are the spaces between bricks or blocks that are filled with mortar to join the masonry units. The masonry’s performance is ultimately determined by the type and style of mortar joints. The masonry construction mortar joints also have an impact on the appearance of brick walls, particularly in cases that there is no plan to plaster or stucco.
Different mortar joints can give a masonry wall a unique look. They also provide watertight properties and preserve the integrity of a wall. These are the most common mortar joints that are used to build masonry walls.
- Concave Joint
- V Joint
- Struck Joint
- Weather Joint
- Raked Joint
- Flush Joint
- Joints Extruded and Squeeze
- Grapevine Joint
The most common mortar joint. This mortar joint is made using a curved steel jointing device. This mortar joint is extremely resistant to rainwater penetration and has tight sealing properties. This joint is made with a curved jointer tool that allows the mortar to stay tight. As they glide along the mortar joint, the mason pushes in. Water penetration is prevented by a properly placed mortar joint.
This mortar joint is known as the “V” joint because of its shape. This mortar joint does not provide protection against water penetration due to its geometry. The joint can become the entry point to water if it isn’t properly compressed by the mason.
Struck Mortar Joint
This joint has a finished flash top with a brick edge, and recessed bottom. This joint has poor water resistance. The slope of this joint draws in rain water and allows it to settle on bricks. This gives it plenty of time to penetrate. The struck joint should be used only for interior walls, and not for exterior walls.
The struck joint is very similar, but the top edge of this joint is recessed. This joint allows water to easily escape due to its slope. It is important that the mortar used in the joint be properly shaped.
This mortar joint is very popular. The mortar joint is pressed slightly inwards so that it is approximately 1/4″-1/2 ” deeper than the facing brick. This one, like the struck joint is not recommended for exterior usage due to the ledge that may allow water/snow on top of it.
Flush Mortar Joint
This mortar joint is used primarily in brick and block wall construction where plastering, stucco or final finishing touches are applied. These joints can be hidden. This is the exterior joint of block walls used as foundations.
See a full list of mortar joint images.
Extruded and Squeezed Mortar Joints
This joint does not require any tooling. This joint forms naturally because excessive mortar squashes out and creates an extrusion joint between bricks. It has a rustic appearance and is highly textured. Extruded joints can’t withstand weather and should be used indoors only.
The grapevine joint was very popular in America’s Colonial period. It is made with a grapevine joiner (i.e. A metal blade with a raised edge that creates a depression in the middle of the mortar joint. This joint is used mainly on brick restorations, historic masonry and other period brickworks. This joint is good for interior and exterior mortar joints. This is the most popular tuck-pointing joint in historic mortar restorations.
Brick Mortar Joint Conclusion
No matter what mortar joint you use for your masonry walls construction, the one thing you need to remember is that exterior walls should not be built with any other mortar. Tools for mortar jointing (jointers), so they can withstand the elements and are watertight. Contact us if you have questions about masonry or want a quote for masonry restoration.