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I've seen homes where the mortar is squeezing out between bricks. This appears pretty sloppy must still be structurally sound. It seems that the pointing of the joints is just an aesthetic choice. Which aspects of brick laying are most important structurally? Keeping the bricks level? Keeping them evenly spaced? I know it is important to avoid running joints where a vertical joint spans multiple courses. What else?

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    Pointing is important for shedding rain water and preventing it from penetrating the wall. There are many types of pointing including flush, tuck, recessed and (importantly) concave/bucket-handle and weatherstruck/weathered pointing. Names vary. – RedGrittyBrick Nov 15 '16 at 12:10

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