what-are-the-different-types-of-mortar-joint

What are the different types of mortar joint?

Get the latest prices for Brick Jointers
These are the side profiles of mortar joints used in common construction.
Mortar Joint side profiles
  Wonkee Donkee says: 'Concave and Vee struck mortar joints are the most popular. They are easy to create, highly water-resistant and require the least maintenance.'

Concave joints

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Advantages and disadvantages of concave mortar joints.
  • Shallow concave joints emphasise the plain surface and quality of the bricks
  • Have a high level of water resistance.
  • Require the purchase of a concave jointer. This mortar joint is often attempted with makeshift tools which can result in inconsistencies.

Vee or ‘V’ mortar joints

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Advantages and disadvantages of V mortar joints
  • Decorative and eye-catching.
  • Conceal small irregularities in the brick’s appearance.
  • Water-resistant as their shape is effective at directing away water from the seals between bricks.
  • Require the purchase of a V-jointer.

Beaded mortar joints

ADVANTAGES  DISADVANTAGES
Advantages and disadvantages of beaded mortar joints
  • Often considered vintage and formal in design
  • Create interesting shadows
  • Not recommended for exterior walls as exposed ledges are likely to erode over time and leave the joint weakened and untidy.
  • Require the purchase of a beaded jointer.

Raked mortar joints

ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
Advantages and disadvantages of a raked mortar joint
  • Can be used to emphasize bricks with a bevelled edge.
  • Sometimes used on modern builds where there is a requirement to match the historic appearance of a local area
  • Ledges collect water as it runs down the wall allowing it to pool and enter the brickwork. Additional voids may open up, increasing the possibility of water penetration.
Wonkee Donkee says: 'To create a raked joint, a wheeled jointer is required. A wheeled jointer is also known as a brick rake. For more information, see 'What is a brick rake?'

Struck mortar joints

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Advantages and disadvantages of a struck mortar joint
  • The struck design emphasizes horizontal joints and well-formed bricks.
  • Should not be used for exterior building walls as the upper edge of the lower brick is exposed to the weather and is a poor insulator against water which can gather on the bottom ledge.
Wonkee Donkee says: 'Create a struck mortar joint using a pointing trowel by holding the tool facing inwards at the bottom of each joint. Apply the mortar with a consistent motion, compacting it against the upper brick.'

Weathered mortar joints

ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES
Advantages and disadvantages of a weathered mortar joint
  • Highly decorative
  • Emphasise the regularity of well-formed bricks
  • The straight, inclined surfaces of the horizontal joints often catch the light and give the brickwork a neat, ordered appearance.
  • Water will run off the surface of the joint so it can be used for exterior building walls.
  • Because the mortar is less compact than a concave or v-joint, it is likely to require repointing or maintenance at an earlier stage
Wonkee Donkee says: 'This joint can be created using a pointing trowel. Position the trowel inward at the top of the joint. This allows you to apply pressure to the top edge of the joint, resulting in compaction against the lower brick.'

Grapevine mortar joints

ADVANTAGES   DISADVANTAGES 
Advantages and disadvantages of a grapevine mortar joint
  • Often rough and wavy, simulating the interesting appearance of a grapevine.
  • Commonly used on antique-finish brickwork and replicated on new builds.
  • Whilst this joint is suitable for exterior walls, the level of water resistance is less effective in comparison to the concave and V-joints.
  • Require purchase of a grapevine jointer

Additional advice when choosing a mortar joint

Raked joint used for exterior wall

Avoid using mortar joints with ledges for exterior walls

You should consider the location of the wall and its exposure to the weather when choosing an appropriate joint.

Mortar joints differ in architectural appearance but also in their resistance to moisture penetration. Joints with ledges, including weathered, raked and struck joints, tend to perform poorly in exterior applications as they allow high levels of moisture penetration. Joints with ledges tend to be used for visual impact over function.

Compact joints, concave joint used for exterior wall

Choose a compact joint to improve the lifespan of bricks

Compact joints, concave and vee are recommended for exterior applications as their designs create the best mortar compaction. With these joints, the bricks are less likely to need replacing as the joint is highly water-resistant.

Wonkee Donkee says: 'I know from being stuck out in the rain, the more water resistance, the better!'