Raking the horizonal brick mortor in FLW houses

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Larry Weinstein

Raking the horizonal brick mortor in FLW houses

Post by Larry Weinstein »

I would like to rake the horizontal mortor in the brick walls and fireplace on a house I am building. My bricklayer says it's a bad idea since water can collect and crack the mortor. Anyone had experience with this problem. (I live in Ohio.)

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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Post by KevinW »


I agree with your mason. Using a raked joint on an exterior application is not recommended, and could void any warranty. My suggestion would be to use either a "v-joint" or a "weathered joint". Either of these will shed water, and still offer the horizontal shadow you are wanting.

I will keep looking though, to see if any new technology is available that I am unaware of.


Post by Guest »

I am wondering how the Dream House is coming along. I know that you have been working on the project for some time now. I was looking to build the house myself and bought the plans. We decised not to build due to extreme cost overuns.

I would be very interested in hearing how far along you are?


Post by Guest »

Your bricklayer's prediction came true at Robie and Martin. You might contact the responsible organizations (the FLlW Preservation Trust and SUNY Buffalo respectively) to ask if they ever found a solution.


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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:15 am
Location: Collins, NY

Mortar raking

Post by usonian1 »


Although I would tend to listen to your mason, I can understand your desire for this feature.

I wouldn't put too much stock in the example made of the Darwin Martin Complex mortar treatment. Although the mortar in the horizontal is DEEPLY raked (the vertical joints are flush mortared for futher emphasis of the horizontal), to the best of my knowledge, there were no premature failures of the joints. Keep in mind that this house is nearly 100 years old and does have numerous masonry issues, mainly due to neglect over time.

Considering the environmental similarities to Ohio, it probably wouldn't hurt to research the current plan for the Darwin Martin restoration. I'm sure that this issue has come up! The restoration architect is Hamilton, Houston & Lownie based here in Buffalo. Good Luck!

Greg Brewer

Post by Greg Brewer »

Peter wrote:Your bricklayer's prediction came true at Robie and Martin. You might contact the responsible organizations (the FLlW Preservation Trust and SUNY Buffalo respectively) to ask if they ever found a solution.

Regarding the Robie House, research has shown that contrary to popular belief, horizontal mortar joints were not raked but concave tooled. This technique has been replicated as part of the exterior restoration.

Larry Weinstein

Raking the horizontal mortar

Post by Larry Weinstein »

Thank you for your advice. I would be interested in seeing what is being done with the mortar at the Robie house if anyone has a photograph showing a brick detail. I've looked at the Wright medical building in Kettering and that does have a deep rake in the brick mortar.

Regarding the LMDH we're building...we're under roof finally. Interior framing is complete. We'll be installing the cypress siding over the next two weeks, weather permitting. Plumbing, HVAC, and electric are being installed at the moment. Anyone interested in the plan is certainly welcome to contact me at larry.weinstein@wright.edu.


raked joints

Post by tsutton »

Here is the story:

If you want the horizontal look for your brickwork you must rake the joints. Also it is assumed you have a generous overhang say about four feet. The water never reaches the joints and therefor there are no worries about failure. The chimney is a differeft matter. Do not rake the joints in the chimney or any other masonty projecting above the roof. Inside raking the joints of the chimney and other masonry is bound to collect dust, but then do you want the horizontal look or a self cleaning house. Just buy a shop vac and clean the brick joints and joints between concrete slabs.


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