Mortar is the bonding agent that integrates brick into a masonry assembly. Mortar must be strong, durable and capable of keeping the masonry intact, and it must help to create a water-resistant barrier (The Brick Industry Association).
Although we like to focus on our quality brick, mortar makes up 17% of any brick work so it carries a large amount of importance as well. Aesthetics, weather, exposure, function, and other factors need to be considered when deciding what mortar type will be used for a project.
There are four different types of mortar. See table below:
(Table from The Brick Industry Association)
The way we like to remember the more common mortar types in the office is:
Type N for Normal (this is the most common mortar type)
Type S for Strong
Type M for Mega Strong projects
Beyond functional and structural purposes, another consideration for mortar is color. Color can completely change the way a brick color, building, wall, home, etc. look. In the picture above, that is Summit Brick’s Coronado brick on BOTH houses. The color of the mortar drastically changes the appearance of the two homes. In the second picture, the mortar is also smeared over the brick to create a different aesthetic. The option of color mortar, different mortar joints and techniques contributes an added aesthetic layer to the appearance of a brick project.
There are many different components of mortar. Check out the following links to learn more about what holds us together!