I have a small question about replacing mortar in an old brick wall
(about 100 years old). The wall in question is a 2 wythe load bearing
wall that used to be the exterior of the house, but ~50 years ago an
extension was built. As a result, the wall is now an interior wall.
When exposing the wall (it's in good enough shape to keep as an
exposed brick wall), I noticed that there is a section of missing
brick about 1 sq ft (clearly intentional). There are also a couple
loose mortar joints, etc.
To my question: I'm looking to mortar in a couple of bricks and
repoint some of the joints. I've heard that for extremely old brick
type O mortar should be used. However, this is a load-bearing wall
that won't encounter any weathering issues - should I use type N
I'm not worried about color matching, the patched area is not going to
be one of the exposed areas. I am concerned about load, as I am going
to be cutting a doorway into the brick wall and putting a header in,
so the patched areas will experience somewhat increased load.
Any advice out there?
You want to use weaker mortar for older bricks becuase you run into
trouble if the mortar is harder than the brick. Since this is an indoor
wall, use the softest mortar available, since it's the weather that does
in mortar. Don't worry abou the strength: for one thing mortar strength
contributes nothing to the overall strength of a wall and for the other
thing: the wall was doing it's job just fine with the bricks gone, wasn't
If your design depends on the mortar to hold up, you've done something
wrong. Historically, mortar was nothing more than three parts sand to one
part lime: no cement whatsover, and it held huge loads just fine.
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