Could any architect/engineer/brickmason/blockmason/builder/constructor out there give me their honest opinion of this brick wall? Pretty please! Thanks in advance. In my opinion, I feel like it's constructed incorrectly, or better said, built with low standards/quality.

Please give me your honest opinions, even if they are harsh. I feel like the brick isn't working nor laid in the way it should have been, so I want to be able to express this complaint to the builder.

It seems the mortar joints are way too big near the upper portion of the wall near the right side. And in the lower part of the wall, some of the bricks don't even seem to have the bare minimum joint thickness of 10mm. Also, there is almost a lack of overlapping in the upper courses.

Anybody please give your best constructive criticism. I really need it.

Thanks in advance.

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  • 1
    That looks like a “cowboy” bond instead of flemish bond etc. And a minimum of 10mm joint thickness - that seems to have easily been achieved but not considtently. Best joints I saw were 2mm on big blocks of stone - just stunning.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 5, 2021 at 6:11
  • 1
    If the wire cage is for a concrete or mortar cap and it is getting another finish over top of it, It can really look bad and still last, although the mason was no mason. Hopefully it will be covered properly with a proper finish material.
    – Jack
    Feb 5, 2021 at 6:54
  • 1
    the worst part is that the builder had a fine example of a brick wall to look at, while assembling that monstrosity
    – jsotola
    Feb 5, 2021 at 9:15
  • Did you see how the base was prepared? Is this one brick thick? Is this a repair of a previous wall that was partially destroyed? And is the end of the wall attached to another wall? Feb 5, 2021 at 10:09
  • 1
    This looks like a home owner decided to build a brick wall based on memory without looking up any information whatsoever about how to actually do it.
    – TylerH
    Feb 5, 2021 at 14:33

3 Answers 3


First, you need to understand that that there are masonry walls that require a Building Permit and those that do not. If the wall is incorporated into a building or if you are located in a seismically active area or where there are high winds, then a permit is required (in the U.S.) and the wall must meet certain standards. If not, then anything goes as long as it’s not considered “dangerous”. (Because there is a meter base and hose Bibb roughed into the wall, I suspect a permit is required and must comply with applicable Building Codes.)

Second, non-reinforced or partially reinforced masonry walls are not allowed if a permit is required. (See ICC Chapter 21) (Many people think non-reinforced walls are acceptable for interior non load bearing walls. This is not true.) Reinforced walls have very strict requirements.

Third, you’ll need the wall tested (prism test) if a permit is required. Testing is going to be difficult because it’s usually done while the wall is being constructed. That way you’re using the same mortar mix for the test as was used for construction.

Yes, there are a few issues: 1) thickness of mortar joint (random is not allowed). 2) type of mortar mix (I doubt it complies with any mix design), 3) bond (random is not allowed), 4) ratio of reinforcement to masonry (wire will not be sufficient), 5) height to width of masonry (there’s a “slenderness ratio” that appears to have been exceeded), 6) bonding between bricks, mortar and rebar is nonexistent (basically there is a section of bricks 7-10 rows high sitting on a reinforced cage, but not connected), 7) if roof is to be installed on top of wall to reduce the “slenderness ratio” they will need their connections calculated.

You’ll need an architect or structural engineer to calculate the strength of the wall and prove to the Building Official that it’s acceptable.

  • 1
    Any architect or structural engineer would look at that and just walk away.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 5, 2021 at 8:57
  • 3
    @SolarMike Hmmm...I don’t know about that. This one wall could buy a nice bass boat.
    – Lee Sam
    Feb 5, 2021 at 10:11
  • 2
    A good lawyer could get two bass boats out of it! ;)
    – FreeMan
    Feb 5, 2021 at 14:18

No !!!!

It's so bad I don't really need to comment much.

The mortar should be beveled for rain run-off... it isn't. Also mortar isn't a building block that can be installed 6 inches thick to provide support.

And then also brick has to have some sort of wall support. 1 line of bricks out in the middle of no where done correctly will fail quickly... this isn't done correctly so it will fail more quickly.

This is a hot hot mess and a safety hazard - would not park my car near this.

  • 1
    The mortar joint is being covered with plaster, so moisture protection is from the plaster covering not from striking the mortar. The support comes from the concrete and rebar cage vertical and horizontal.
    – Lee Sam
    Feb 5, 2021 at 8:34
  • @LeeSam - I get that but I don't need to get a code or compliance book to see that a single row of bricks cannot flow that high - rebar or none.
    – DMoore
    Feb 5, 2021 at 8:52
  • So you’ve seen both sides and know if there’s a pilaster at the concrete columns?
    – Lee Sam
    Feb 5, 2021 at 10:14

as far as aesthetics are concerned that is one ugly brick wall! But sometimes looks don't mean a thing.

I see a lot of rebar support built into the wall. And although it is nothing like the perfect wall in the background I dont think it needs to be. The mason that constructed your wall realized his work needn't be perfect because it will be stuccoed and hidden from view. There is some stucco on the bottom left of your photo.

With this in mind as long as the brick were laid on a correctly buit foundation and the wall is plumb and level, once it is covered with layers of stucco it will be beautiful.

  • This is my thought as well stucco it and throw out these photos
    – Kris
    Feb 6, 2021 at 15:36

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