Types of Masonry Joints
There are several styles and
kinds of masonry joints. The masonry
joint is the area of mortar in between your brick, block, or stone. On brick and block the vertical joints are
referred to as head joints and the horizontal joints are referred to as bed
The way in which you tool, or
joint your masonry work is not only for aesthetic purposes. In drier climates masonry joint style is strictly
personal preference. While some styles
of jointing are more resilient to weather, when you live in a climate like
Michigan where you have high precipitation and constantly shifting seasons
jointing style can be structural and more than just personal preference.
The first style of jointing is
the concave joint. Concave joints are
shallow and seal against the face of the brickwork evenly. The two most common tools used on a concave
joint are the s-jointer (named for its appearance) and the barrel jointer. There are a variety of sizes that s-jointer
and barrel jointers come in. The concave
joint also is good at concealing small irregularities in masonry construction.
The “V” joint is very similar to
the concave joint. It is also a very
weather resistant form of jointing. The
primary difference between the “v” joint and the “s” joint is the “v” joint
provides a very small line in the center of the mortar joint. The “v” joint is not nearly as common as the concave
Another style of joint is the
weather joint. The weather joint is the most weather resilient style of
joint. This is because it seals evenly
against the bottom edge of the brickwork and allows moisture to drain off of
The fourth style of mortar joint
is the rake joint. The rake joint is a
deeper joint than the concave joint and can look very appealing on more textured
or uneven brick. The rake joint is
achieved through the use of either a tool called a rake jointer (skate) or by
wire brushing the mortar between the bricks out to the desired depth.
The fifth style of jointing is
the squeezed or weeping joint. A weeping
joint is when you lay your brick on top of your mortar and do not scrape any of
the excess mortar away. While this may
sound like the easiest and worst appearing of the joints, for the trained mason
this is actually the hardest type of joint.
As a mason laying brick becomes second nature like breathing. This means that without any thought at all
the mason will oftentimes find his trowel scraping away the excess mortar
between the joints in order to apply the mortar to the head joint of the next
brick he lays. I speak from personal
experience when I tell you it can be quite frustrating to have to relay the
same brick several times because you are so used to scraping away the excess
mortar as you lay the brick. The weeping
joint is the only joint not pictured below.
The sixth style of jointing is the flush joint. The flush joint is the easiest of the joints
for a mason to construct. The flush
joint is typically used under walls that are going to be painted or not
seen. It is where the mason simply
scrapes the excess mortar out from between the bricks. No additional tooling is required.
The beaded joint is a raised and rounded, bead-shaped segment of the mortar
away from the mortar surface producing an old-fashioned, formal design.
Although beaded joints can create interesting shadows, they are not recommended
for exterior use due to their exposed ledges. Beaded joints allow moisture to
penetrate your masonry work.
The eight style of joint is the struck joint. The struck joint provides poor weather
resistance but will emphasize the bed joints of your masonry construction
The final style of jointing is the grapevine joint. The grapevine joint is a combination of the
struck joint and the “v” joint. This
style of jointing is not very weather resilient but does give the appearance of
a somewhat deeper joint. The grapevine
is a very shallow joint with a line running through it.
I hope this information has proved useful for anybody
looking to perform masonry construction.
If you have an interest in a free consultation about your masonry
construction, or an interest in a free estimate, please contact Mark Maupin of
Brick Repair LLC at 248-895-7752. For
more information on the effects of weather on masonry construction and masonry
repair visit http://michiganchimneyrepairr.com/WintersandMichiganMasonry.aspx