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A Bricklaying Glossary

Admixtures: Materials added to mortar to impart special properties to the mortar.

Backfilling: Rough masonry built behind a facing or between two faces.

Backup: That part of a masonry wall behind the exterior facing.

Bat: A piece of brick.

Bed Joint: The horizontal layer of material on which a masonry unit is laid.

Brick: A solid masonry unit of clay or shale that is formed into a rectangular shape while plastic and burned or fired in a kiln.

Buttering: Placing mortar on a masonry unit with a trowel.

Closer: The last masonry unit laid in a course. It may be whole or a portion of a unit.

Corbel: A shelf or ledge formed by projecting successive courses of masonry out from the face of the wall.

Course: One of the continuous layers of units, bonded with mortar in masonry.

Efflorescence: A powder or stain sometimes found on the surface of masonry resulting from deposition of water-soluble salts.

Flashing/Counter Flashing: Technique of installation of thin, impervious material under the roofing and up the side of a chimney with a layer of like material installed into the masonry and layered over the first down to the roofing as a means to prevent water entry into a structure.

Head Joint: The vertical mortar joint between ends of masonry units. Often called cross joints.

Lintel: A beam placed over an opening in a wall or over a fireplace opening.

Pargeting: The process of applying a coat of cement mortar to masonry. Often spelled and/or pronounced parging.

Pointing: Troweling mortar into a joint after masonry units are laid.

Rowlock: A brick laid on its face edge so that the normal bedding area is visible in the wall face. Frequently spelled rolok.

Slushed Joints: Vertical joints filled after units are laid by throwing mortar in with the edge of a trowel. Generally not recommended.

Soldier: A stretcher set on end with face showing on the wall surface.

Spall: A small fragment removed from the face of a masonry unit by a blow or by action of the elements.

Stack: Any structure or part thereof that contains a flue or flues for the discharge of gases.

Stretcher: A masonry unit laid with its greatest dimension horizontal and its face parallel to the wall face.

Toothing: Constructing the temporary end of a wall with the end stretcher of every alternate course projecting. Projecting units are toothers.

Tuck Pointing: The filling in with fresh mortar of cut-out or defective mortar joints in masonry.

Wythe: 1. Each continuous vertical section of masonry one unit in thickness. 2. The thickness of masonry separating flues in a chimney. Also called withe or tier.