Choosing brick mortar color

steph0509March 7, 2013

What color mortar did you choose and what was your reasoning behind your selection?

I thought the hardest decision would be choosing the brick color. Boy was I wrong! I never knew how much the mortar color can change the entire look of the house.

I'm debating between gray or a tan/khaki color. We have chosen Old Irvington oversized/tumbled brick from Pine Hall Brick. We will also have Bucks County Southern Ledgestone on two front sections of the house as well (browns & grays). I don't want the mortar to stand out, nor do I want it to be darker than the brick. I really just want it to blend in well with neutral colors of the brick. We will have beige windows and beige trim if that helps.

Here is a sample photo of the brick we have chosen (I'm not sure what mortar color is used here).

Any insight or opinions is appreciated!

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Take a range of the bricks, place them vertically (as they will be on your wall) and hold up several of the grout samples that most closely match the overall brick color. Select the grout color that comes the closest to your overall brick color. Avoid highly contrasting grout colors.

From the photo above, the grout appears to almost disappear in the lighter brick, but stands out with the darker quoin courses. That's the result when multi-colored brick is used.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:23AM
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I would have your contractor do a sample piece of both grey and buff mortar. That seems the easiest way to tell.

We had him do this when choosing brick because we were painting the brick and texture was very important. They laid the three walls, about 4' high, and we painted them. Easy decision after that!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Pine Hall can give you a list of addresses of houses in your area that have used that brick with various mortar/sand colors as well as various mortar techniques. This was the most helpful thing to us when we were making our selection. We found that the small samples (small being 4'w x 3'h finished mini-walls) were a great start for identifying likes/dislikes, but when it came to the large expanse of brick and mortar that make up the exterior of your house, your initial likes may not look the same to you on the real life scale. A great analogy of this that most women can relate to is when you're shoe shopping and you see a real cute shoe on display in a size 5 or 6, but when you have the salesperson bring it out in your size (which is much larger than the display) the shoe doesn't look so cute to you anymore. The same definitely applies to brick/mortar selections.

If Pine Hall hasn't already volunteered a list of addresses for you, definitely ask. They have them on file in the computer ready to print out. In the pic you posted, the mortar looks like the standard grey mortar to me on my monitor.

Hope this helps & good luck to you!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:49AM
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It is amazing how much the mortar can change the look of the brick!!! Be very careful. We knew we were going to paint our brick home, so we could use the grey mortar which is much cheaper than the buff (I have no idea why.) The grey looked terrible with our brick...but we used buff on the terrace and front porch floors, as well as our brick exterior steps since we weren't painting those and it looked completely different! Really pretty! On my monitor...your brick seems like it would look better with the buff.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Getting a mockup done will be worth the additional effort. Hard to believe, with modular brick and 3/8" joints, the mortar is nearly 20% of the wall surface!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 6:36AM
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