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This question actually reminded me of an issue with my exterior walls. I have the same problem with the vertical mortar being eroded/missing from several bricks at ground level on the exterior of my house. I live in Alabama, so we don't have much severe weather (unless you count ridiculous humidity), and I have no idea how this could have happened. The rest of the mortar is fine, but only a few joints are completely missing. Is there a way to prevent this from happening? Is this some purposefully built structural feature that I'm just oblivious toward - they seem to be fairly regularly spaced.

When the home inspector came by before we bought the house, he didn't mention anything about them, and I didn't really notice them until we moved in.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

After a bit of searching, I found this explanation here: alt text

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