What is Mortar?
Mortar is a compound made of cement, aggregate, pigment, and water. When combined these materials form cement, so-to-speak, which serves as a bonding agent between two bricks; essentially holding the brick wall together. In addition, the mortar serves as a moisture barrier, helping to prevent moisture penetration in the wall.
Type-N and Type-S mortar are traditional mortar selections for exterior brick wall construction. The two types are rated based on compressive strength, water resistance, and air content.
Mortar represents approximately 20 percent of the total surface of a brick wall; therefore, the mortar selection becomes a highly important aesthetic of your exterior design. As mentioned, the base color for Type-S mortar is gray. Mortar, much like grout for tile, is tinted in an array of colors that will blend or contrast with your brick color(s).
Mortar color, as well as mortar joint style, will alter the aesthetic look of brick. Mortar emphasizes and highlights the various color characteristics of brick while the application, or joint style, will accentuate the lines and textural detail of the brick. The most common mortar color selections are standard gray, white, and buff.
An example of how mortar can change the look of brick is shown above with our Santa Fe brick. If you are like most of our customers, you’re probably in disbelief that the two bricks pictured are the same.
On the left, we use the Santa Fe brick with white mortar. This mortar selection brings out the white accents in the brick and clearly defines each individual brick. The deep contrast between the white mortar and brick will make a striking addition to any exterior.
On the right, we show the Santa Fe brick with buff mortar. This mortar selection pulls out the terra cotta tones on the brick offering a softer contrast throughout the look of the wall.
As with most design selections, interior or exterior, mortar colors are offered at different price levels. Be sure to consult with your construction professional or masonry contractor regarding which selection(s) are in your construction budget. Please note, while we do not sell mortar here at Triangle Brick, we do have mortar swatches available for viewing during your design consultation.