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  1. #1
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Industry standard around here for brick veneer mortar joints is 3/8". Of course Juan and Jose standards vary from less than that to as much as 7/8". Does anyone know of documentation supporting a standard for new construction mortar joint width? IRC only specifies width for joints in load bearing walls. I've looked in BIA Tech Notes, but come up short there. I don't have EC and WC Jerrys' bankrolls so that I own complete ASTM and ACI standards sets.

    Thanks,

    Aaron

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    ACI 530.1
    - Part 3 - Execution
    - - 3.3 - Masonry erection
    - - - 3.3 B. Placing mortar and units
    - - - - 1. Bed and head joints - Unless otherwise required, construct 3/8 in. (9.5 mm) thick bed and head joints except at foundation or with glass unit masonry. Construct bed joint of the starting course of foundation with a thickness not less than 1/4 in. (6.4 mm) and not more than 3/4 in. (19.1 mm). Provide glass unit masonry bed and head joint thickness in accordance with Article 3.3 B.5.c. Construct joints that also conform to the following:
    - - - - - a. Fill holes not specified in exposed and below grade masonry with mortar.
    - - - - - b. Unless otherwise required, tool joint with a round jointer when the mortar is thumbprint hard.
    - - - - - c. Remove masonry protrusions extending 1/2 in. (12.7 mm) or more into the cells or cavities to be grouted.

    ASTM C 652
    - 7. Dimensions and Permissible Variations.
    - - Table 3. Tolerances on Dimensions, in. (mm)
    - - - 3 in. (75 mm) and under - (worst case allowed for is 3/32 in. (2.4 mm)
    - - - Over 6 in. to 8 in. (152 mm to 203 mm) - (worst case allowed for is 1/4 in. (6.4 mm)

    (I had to type this stuff, so I left some out and it is hard to make a table here.)

    Net result is that the typical brick on each side of the mortar bed joint is allowed to vary by 1/2 of the 3/32" (making 3/32" the variance between two bricks at the bed joint).

    Net result is that the typical brick on each side of the mortar head joint is allowed to vary by 1/2 of the 1/4" (making 1/4" the variance between two bricks at the bed joint).

    Thus, the bed joint is to be 3/8" thick, plus or minus 3/32" to compensate for the varying brick sizes, or 9/32" to 15/32" (call it 1/4" to 1/2" mortar bed joint variation).

    Thus, the head joint is to be 3/8" thick, plus or minus 1/4" to compensate for the varying brick sizes, or 1/8" to 5/8" mortar head joint variation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    EC Jerry:

    Now, that's what I'm talking about.

    Many thanks,

    Aaron


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    complete ASTM and ACI standards sets.
    Aaron,

    I don't have the complete set of ASTM Standards, just the Building Set.

    I also don't have the ACI standards sets either, but I do happen to have much of ACI 530 as that was part of a Structural Masonry Inspector course I've taken a few times over the years.

    Which all means ... I just happened to have the stuff you needed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Which all means ... I just happened to have the stuff you needed.
    Indeed you did. I'm loaded for bear now and will put this info to work ASAP.

    Again, many thanks,

    Aaron


  6. #6
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Indeed you did. I'm loaded for bear now and will put this info to work ASAP. Again, many thanks, Aaron
    Uh Oh! Watch out builder. Aaron's enroute and you don't have a prayer.


    I'd love to be in the neighborhood to watch this one.


  7. #7
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Nolan:

    I've seriously considered (actually am still considering) installing a small video camera in my coat or somewhere to record the details of these encounters. I don't have kids, so these would (will) make wonderfully entertaining home movies to set around and watch in my sunset years . . .

    I already record the conversations of the builders as they lie, lie, lie and lie some more. I them provide them for my clients in .mp3 format to play back for the liar when he denies, denies, denies . . . and denies some more.

    Ain't life grand?

    Aaron


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    I already record the conversations of the builders as they lie, lie, lie and lie some more.
    Seems to me I recall it being illegal to record someone without there knowledge, with some exceptions ... which likely do not cover that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Jerry:

    At least in Texas I understand that it is legal so long as one party to the conversation is aware of the recording. Actually, I know this to be the case via my attorney. I had to record a conversation with my E&O insurance company representative about 6 years ago (on the advice of my attorney) in order to force them to perform under their policy with me. It worked out nicely.

    I must interject here for my own sake and that of the Hann in the Sky that I am not an attorney, am not offering legal advice, and that you are strongly urged to consult with your own attorney regarding anything you might read or hear from me whether in this posting or elsewhere in reality. Anything I have said in this post is my own opinion and not reflective of anyone else's opinion . . .so help me Geronimo.

    Now, in Flahdah where nearly anything goes from gunning down tourists to rigging presidential elections, that might not be the case.

    Aaron


  10. #10
    Ken Bates's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    There are some solid brick buildings in the Boston area that were constructed with what appears to be SW ( high fired ) bricks whose mortar joints are considerably smaller that one fourth of an inch. I estimate about one eighth.

    The joints are just struck and not tooled. They appear to be original and I rarely see any evidence of any re-pointing or repairs. The walls look new yet on average are about 100 years old.


  11. #11
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Ken:

    I'm willing to bet that they were not built by the great grandfathers of Juan and Jose.

    Aaron


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Mortar Joint Width Standard

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    There are some solid brick buildings in the Boston area that were constructed with what appears to be SW ( high fired ) bricks whose mortar joints are considerably smaller that one fourth of an inch. I estimate about one eighth.
    Ken,

    That was before 'modern' brick sizing came about, and likely before 'tolerances' were stated ... because the bricks were made from higher quality clays and fired better (although maybe not "fired better" as newer - but still 'old' - firing kilns have improved the consistency of the firing and grading of brick).

    The mortar was possibly better for the purpose than that in use today too. Not that it was 'better mortar', just 'better for the purpose'.

    Too much 'value engineering' done today to really get the best out of any product, or even its installation for that matter.

    I always call 'Value Engineering' (aka VE) as 'engineering the value' out of it. There is no 'value' left, it might work, but no 'extra', and that's what "value" is. Not that you get exactly what you paid for (that's "expected"), but that you get more than what you paid for, you get "value" added in.

    Under those conditions, you do not need to 'do what everyone else is doing just because everyone else is doing it with those materials', but that you have (through experience) determined 'what works best' for *those specific* materials.

    With modern-day production comes mediocre acceptable material, i.e., 'it does the job and meets *minimum* standards'.

    Back then, the material was selected because it had been proven to exceed the need and thus performed longer than expected (and 'expected' was a long, long, long time back then). Nowadays, 'expected' is a short time, not 'this will be here when my grandkid's grandkids are alive'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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