We have compiled a glossary of common masonry and tuckpointing terms to help you make informed decisions about your next masonry project. If you have any questions or want to put our decades of experience to work for you, contact us!
A wythe is a vertical section of a masonry wall that is one unit thick. Most older masonry structures are comprised of an outer wythe of brick (what we think of as the exterior façade of the building) and an interior wythe of brick (to which the drywall is attached). Some older very well-constructed masonry structures have walls comprised of three of four wythes of brick. Newer masonry structures have an exterior wythe of brick and an interior wythe of concrete block (a much larger building material than brick and therefore a faster and less costly way to build). In the last decade, we've seen newer residential structures built with just a single wythe of concrete block (sometimes called split-face block due its texture). Generally speaking, the greater the number of wythes of brick used to construct a wall, the denser, stronger and less maintenance the wall will need over time.
In the photo below, AAA-1 Masonry is nearly done rebuilding a four-wythe door jamb and adjacent wall measuring a whopping 17" in width! (The four wythes of brick are most easily seen in the bottom portion of the door jamb.) This construction will last another 100 at least! The men have rebuilt the jamb and adjacent wall using Milwaukee Cream common bricks salvaged from an adjacent building slated for demolition.
In the photo below, Adam and Johnny are hard at work rebuilding a 100-year-old Hyde Park parapet wall comprised of three wythes of brick. This 12"-thick wall is very dense and will provide the owner with decades of maintenance-free service. Adam (kneeling) is tapping the middle wythe of the brick wall into place, while Johnny (standing) with level in hand is about to confirm the new brick wall is level and plumb.