Jointing Mortar – The Ultimate Patio and Paving Finish

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Jointing Mortar

If you have never done any masonry work prior to this it will sound complicated but it really isn’t. Jointing Mortar is simply filling in the spaces between the material you are putting together to create the finished desired look. Those materials can be stones, bricks or tiles. There are many others that can be used but those will be up to the individuals who are involved.

The material used for the mortar could be Jointing Grout, Jointex or a multitude of others. The look you want and the purpose of the masonry work will determine what the mortar should be. These materials are usually done in a variety of designs but the most frequently ones would be extruded, raked, concave, V, grapevine, flush, beaded and weathered.

For a mason to have a nice looking mortar joint they use what are called jointers or slickers, beaders or rakes. These tools are used to make the desired design the mason wants. This must be done prior to the grout becoming solid.

So for the sake of discussion, let’s say you are putting in a patio behind your home. Depending on what you want, you will most likely need to know about what type of look you want it to have when done. Will you be using stones, bricks, tiles, etc.? Once the material is decided upon, you need to know what type of bed it will be placed on.

The bed is the material under the decorative upper layer you have chosen. Most generally the bed will be either sand or concrete. Of the two concrete is the most expensive but the sturdiest. Depending on the end use of the patio these are generally all that will be under the upper layer. In some cases due to lawn conditions (such as excessive moisture) there could be other layers in the bed.

Once you have your bedding down you will be ready to lay the tiles of the patio. There are a great many considerations that have to be worked out as you go through this process. You want it to be perfect and you need to really work hard to achieve that goal.

There are three main kinds of joint you will be doing. Those would be butt, close and open. This is a short description of those methods:

• Butt jointing – This is where there is actually no joint. The tiled units are directly in touch with each other or ‘butted together’.
• Close jointing – There is a very narrow joint spacing in the area of 1-5 mm. The tiled pieces are very close but not actually touching.
• Open joints – These joints are wide and the area must be filled with a Jointing Grout such as a resin mortar or cement.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of These Types of Jointing are as Follows:

Butt Jointing

1. No Jointing Mortar needed
2. No labor required to do jointing
3. No staining from jointing compound risk involved


1. No cushion between tiles
2. High risk of spalling of tiles
3. There is no interlock

Close Jointing

1. No real skill needed to install
2. Prevents spalling
3. Inexpensive
4. Provides great interlock
5. Easy maintenance and repair of tiles


1. Needs occasional minor maintenance
2. Tendency to become infested with weeds
3. Materials become unbound and loose

Open Jointing

1. Zero chance of spalling
2. Tiles are held firmly in position
3. Provides good definition between Jointing Gout an tiles


1. Skill level higher for an organized look
2. Requires a binding such as Jointex for better results
3. Both cement and Jointing Mortar prone to cracking
4. Impedes access if repairs or maintenance necessary

Now you have both the tiles and the bed done and you are ready to bind it all together. You will either be using cement, sand or something else to bond the tiles. Perhaps you want to check out the epoxy based resins? They have a great record of bonding and durability. When you include a filler material they become a very viable alternative to the cement mortars the industry has used for centuries.

Typically you will find that an epoxy resin is more expensive. However they have been coming down with their increased usage and are quite reasonable today. Two of the most popular resin based mortars are the slurry grout and the semi dry brush–in often referred to as a polymeric. The slurry grouts are much stronger and more suited to places of open vehicular traffic, large driveways and public areas. The brush-in should be used in less used pedestrian places, patios and perhaps homeowner driveways.

Once your patio is completed you will have a great place for having friends over, parties, and family gatherings. You will have a wonderful sense of pride every time you look at it. That’s not to mention the satisfaction of having done it yourself.

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