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Question DetailsAsked on 10/20/2016

What is recommended to fill in very large gaps or voids within brick retaining wall before repointing it along top?

The mortar joint along the top of my retaining wall needs 2 b replaced. The only thing keeping me from starting is the gigantic voids within the wall. I don't want to use the wrong thing to fill this space because it will be a semi permanent fix and I'm also worried some material might be better avoided during winter freeze/thaw cycles. I've considered just plain old washed gravel, sand, expansion foam. What would a professional mason use in this situation?

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2 Answers


Depends if those gaps are a problem - many brick walls are built with "tie" or "bonding course " bricks placed crosswise or "into" the wall to link two brick facades together - commonly done to give wall a greater thickness for stability. In that case, metal reinforcing in the mortar joints or tie bricks can be all that is holding the two faces together. Other times there is mortar filling the void every few feet as a bridge tie - with open voids in between and weep holes at the bottom to avoid buildup and freezing of water. Sometimes, with structural brick (has holes up through the interior of the brick) some but not all the passages formed by the holes are mortar-filled and rebar placed in them to make a reinforced brick wall, similar to what is normal for concrete block wall.

If this was sloppy construction on the other hand, then a tremie portland cement mortar mix would normally be usually be used to fill some or all the void spaces.

It would take a Masonry contractor or Structural Engineer to tell you if the wall was supposed to have the voids it has or not - pricey proposition for a minor repair advice. Or if the wall has been there and like that for a long time, figure it is probably good as is and make sure there are weep holes or grout gaps in the bottom for drainage, and just repair the top mortar joints, leaving the voids as are.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD



This is James in Member Care. Thanks for your interest in Angie's List!

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Answered 4 years ago by Member Services

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