Brick concerns--is this normal?

threeapplesAugust 15, 2012

Our brick is being laid about 5 inches away from the actual house. Is this normal? I know there is supposed to be a 1-2" air space between the house and the brick, but is a larger space okay, too?

Also, the mason and his team are getting mortar all over our dark-colored brick. He knows the brick cannot be pressure-washed and said that they'll brush the mortar mess off later and the rest will come off in on its own in a few years. This seems odd to me and I'm concerned about it. I think they should just be neater with the mortar overall, right?


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The brick rests on the brick ledge if it's poured, or on the block. It's odd that there's such a waste of space that could have been used for foam board insulation.

Some masons are meticulous, some less so. Typically, they use brushes or even old carpet to remove excess mortar. Unless you can clearly see patches of mortar on the brick from, say twenty feet away, it's not something to obsess about. But it's hard to judge this with no visuals.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Our mason is using a tennis ball to wipe away the spots of mortar. It seems to work well. He is also using a brush. We only have part of the house bricked so far. Maybe, the tennis ball trick is similar to the old carpet trick Worthy posted about.

Post a picture if you can to gather opinions on the quality of work.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Just saw this post and wanted to give a picture of the brick we just had put up by some very good craftsmen! This shows how close it is to the house. I can do another face on which shows the brick and mortar which are beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 9:04PM
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Here is one face on. SOme mortar is visible, but not a big sloppy mess. POst your pics as others have asked...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 9:15PM
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6" gap is unusual. Good luck getting cured mortar off of bricks. Mortar "haze", you can wash off with an acid wash (which is very unpleasant to do), built up excess mortar is virtually impossible to remove without damaging the brick. And it won't come off automatically in a few years (unless few means 5000).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 10:00PM
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my husband said i exaggerated the size of the space between the brick and the house and it's maybe 2 inches or so, which the architect, builder and mason said we need because of moisture staying away from the house.

i'll take a photo as soon as i can and post it here for you all to see the mortar on the brick.

also, the brick is hand made and the mason said the difference in thickness might cause the front of the brick to not all be even. shouldn't it be even like those photos posted above? i'm so nervous about this!

cute kid, by the way! :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 9:28AM
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shouldn't it be even like those photos posted above?

No, it's rustic brick. That's the beauty of it.

The two inch space is probably less in some places. The fact that there's so much space means it's less likely to fill up with mortar interfering with the drainage plane than is the case with many new brick veneer homes. That's a good thing!

Rustic brick.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 10:29AM
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Hand made brick will definitely not be even on the front. In fact, we decided not to use it for that reason. It was too rustic looking for me painted and had too much texture. Not painted, it was lovely! That is part of the charm of it. It will not look like the pictured brick, which is not handmade.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 8:10PM
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The size of the cavity (over an inch) is not as important as the type of brick tie and/or how it is installed.

Corrugated galvanized steel ties are still used on many residential projects although they were abandoned in favor of stainless steel wire ties on commercial projects 40 years ago due to so many failures.

If corrugated ties are used, they must not be installed pointing upward because the bricklayers will either twist them 180 degrees damaging the weather membrane or just bend them down as needed and cause a direct downward water path from the back of the brick to the sheathing screw.

2 piece s.s. adjustable wire ties are best.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 4:57PM
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